The 11th Policy Dialogue Forum of the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 in November brought over 300 education stakeholders from around the world together in Jamaica to zoom in on one of SDG4’s crucial components: teacher education. Seeing the high relevance of this theme to our organisation, VVOB was represented at the Policy Dialogue Forum by Programme Director Tom Vandenbosch, who gladly accepted VVOB’s election to the Teacher Task Force’s Steering Committee.
For the next 2 years, VVOB will be part of the Teacher Task Force’s Steering Committee. An important strategic driver of the Teacher Task Force, its Steering Committee provides guidance to reach its objectives and closely follows its progress. The Steering Committee members are also expected to advocate for teacher issues in the Teacher Task Force’s name at global conferences and meetings. A responsibility VVOB is ready and proud to take up after more than two years of membership.
“The declaration we adopted at the end of this Policy Dialogue Forum on teacher education clearly shows why VVOB and the Teacher Task Force are a match”, Tom Vandenbosch comments. “Naturally we support every position taken, but there are a few points that are representative of VVOB’s intervention strategy. Take the emphasis on skilling teachers to prepare their learners for the fast-changing 21st century for example. Education is not about numeracy and literacy alone, but also about learning to collaborate, problem solving, empathy and creativity – skills that transform our children into their ‘better selves’. This resonates with VVOB’s mission and activities worldwide.”
Bridging the gap
The Final Declaration also reads that ‘TVET teachers have a special role in preparing learners for the new future’ and that ‘the education and continuous professional development of TVET teachers should be of the same quality as other levels of education’. This is a global work-in-progress that VVOB has been pushing for years now, especially in Suriname, the DR Congo and Ecuador.
Also represented in the Teacher Task Force Steering Committee is the government of Uganda. Interestingly enough, VVOB is starting up TVET activities in the country begin-2019.
“We believe TVET can only be of quality when both learners and teachers have access to the most recent industrial and technological developments”, VVOB’s programme director continues. “That’s why in Ecuador, for example, we forge sustainable partnerships between TVET schools and businesses in our so-called ‘RCC-projects’. Businesses open their doors to their partner schools for quality workplace learning opportunities for both TVET teachers and learners. The gap between school and the world of work is effectively bridged this way.”
Over 200 people from around the globe attended the 5-day Policy Dialogue Forum in Jamaica, as did 100 teacher stakeholders from the host country. Every year, the Teacher Task Force holds such a dialogue for its members to unpack the meaning and impact of the ‘teacher’ component with regards to SDG4 and the other development goals.
This 11th one was specifically dedicated to teacher education. Anyone committed to quality education acknowledges the enormous responsibility teachers have to prepare future generations for 21st century challenges linked to climate change, globalisation, migration, demographic change, technological advances... But a concern was voiced by the Teacher Task Force ‘that teacher education has not kept pace with preparing new teachers for these future challenges’.
Tom Vandenbosch acknowledges this concern is legitimate but adds that the most essential ingredient for change is there: “Governments are motivated to strengthen the quality of their teacher education systems. VVOB is a first-hand witness of that, working very closely with the ministries of education in our eight – soon to be nine – partner countries. It’s the global education community’s responsibility to make sure we support them in every way we can.”
Teacher Task Force Steering Committee as of November 2018:
- Africa: Cameroon, South Africa, Togo and Uganda
- Arab States: Egypt and Saudi Arabia
- Asia and Pacific: China and Japan
- Europe and North America: Russian Federation and Turkey
- Latin America and the Caribbean: Haiti and Paraguay
- Donors: Germany and Norway
- Global Intergorvenmental Organizations: CONFEMEN and ILO
- Regional Intergovernmental Organizations: SEAMEO
- International Non-Governmental Organizations: VSO International and VVOB - education for development
- Global Private Sector Organization and Foundation: Hamdan Foundation
- Permanent seats: Education International, Global Partnership for Education and UNESCO
The new co-chairs are Norway and Saudi Arabia. The list is also available on the website of Teacher Task Force.