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VVOB and the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 (Teacher Task Force), hosted by UNESCO, have committed to another two years of close collaboration now that VVOB’s mandate in the Teacher Task Force’s Steering Committee has been renewed. The tumultuous year of 2020 has proven the relevance and necessity of this partnership for teachers worldwide, and VVOB looks forward to what will come next.

A 5-year anniversary celebrated right

Teachers are the most important in-school factor when it comes to learning. The Teacher Task Force is a unique partnership created in 2008 to advocate for teachers and the teaching profession around the world. It is dedicated to raising awareness, expanding knowledge and supporting countries towards achieving target 4.c of SDG 4. The Teacher Task Force has over 150 members – including national governments, international organisations, international NGOs and CSOs and foundations – working together to ensure there is a qualified, motivated and empowered teacher in every classroom.

 

VVOB joined the Teacher Task Force in 2016, a logical move for VVOB, working in close partnership with ministries of education around the world on teacher development. As a next step in the partnership, VVOB first accepted its election to the Teacher Task Force Steering Committee in 2018. That appointment has now been extended for two more years.

 

“The COVID-19 crisis has made clear that consensus, coordination and partnership are more important than ever to further the teacher agenda”, VVOB’s Global Programmes Director Tom Vandenbosch comments on the news. “While much is left to be done, the Teacher Task Force is well placed to play an active role in this respect. We look forward to further strengthen this partnership in 2021 and beyond. We will continue our constructive engagement with the different Thematic Groups, with the newly created Knowledge Platform and a Hub promoting evidence-based policymaking on teacher support, and with the Working Space where members and partners can connect and exchange valuable resources.”

“We thank VVOB for its leadership in strengthening the constituency of international NGOs in the Teacher Task Force. We’re glad to be able to further develop our partnership at this very critical time for teachers. Together, we can empower teachers in building more resilient education systems in view of the COVID-19 context.”

 

Carlos Vargas Tamez, Chief of Section for Teacher Development, UNESCO, and Head of the Secretariat of the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030

Facing the crisis head-on with the Teacher Task Force in 2020

Last year, the Teacher Task Force worked with an ad-hoc group of Steering Committee members, including VVOB, to release a Call for Action on Teachers amidst the global school closures affecting over 90 per cent of learners and 63 million primary and secondary teachers worldwide. Messages advocating for teachers’ wellbeing and social dialogue were broadly echoed by VVOB and many other organisations and countries, and actively disseminated through online webinars and campaigns to hear teachers’ voices.

 

Informed by the Call for Action on Teachers, the Secretariat of the Teacher Task Force worked with partner institutions and members to produce short publications, which provide succinct recommendations to policymakers and practitioners. The Guidance for policy-makers on schools reopening includes recommendations focused on a 7-point framework to support teachers on schools reopening. And the Toolkit for School leaders provides practical guidance on supporting teachers on the successful return to school, based on practices recorded in the field. VVOB produced a tailored version of this toolkit for Rwanda’s school leaders to be used in professional learning communities.

 

On the occasion of World Teachers’ Day, VVOB organised an event with UNESCO, the Teacher Task Force, VSO and the Government of Zambia on “Professionalisation of early childhood care and education personnel: the missing piece for strong leadership?”. This provided an excellent opportunity to celebrate the tireless efforts and dedication of early childhood educators in supporting young children and their families in uncertain and difficult times, and to reflect upon and learn from others’ experiences to enrich our own perspectives and practices.

We’re looking forward to the development of the next Strategic Plan (2022-2025) of the Teacher Task Force. This comes at a crucial time, as the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged education systems to ensure learning continuity
Tom Vandenbosch, VVOB Global Programmes Director

2021 & beyond

Going forward, Teacher Task Force members have shared their plans for 2021, a year in which it will be critical to join forces and combine resources to recover from the pandemic and move forward together in support of teachers. Members highlighted initiatives, partnerships and best practices to support teachers and learners.

 

As far as VVOB’s plans go for 2021, Tom Vandenbosch says: “We will focus on managing further disruptions to education, remediating learning losses due to these disruptions, and building the socio-emotional well-being of youth. We will promote blended capacity development trajectories for teachers and school leaders that can help include those left behind. We’re also looking forward to the development of the next Strategic Plan (2022-2025) of the Teacher Task Force. This comes at a crucial time, as the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged education systems to ensure learning continuity, substantially increasing the demands placed on teachers. Education systems require effective teachers that facilitate and support learning, use a combination of in-person and digital methods, foster creative thinking, communication and collaboration, and encourage a love of learning.”