There is no quality education without qualified teachers. Yet, the acute shortage of qualified teachers has been identified as one of the biggest challenges to achieving Education for All.
It is estimated that sub-Saharan Africa currently need one million new teachers. In addition, there is a urgent need for providing training opportunities for millions of teachers who have little education themselves.
UNESCO's teacher initiative for Africa
UNESCO's Teacher Training Initiative for sub-Saharan Africa (TTISSA) launched in 2006 is an effort to rethink the issue of teachers.
Teachers should no longer be considered from a teacher training perspective alone but in all its dimensions (status, welfare, wages, professional development of teachers, etc.).
It is also imperative to upgrade and professionalize contract teachers (non-civil servant teachers) that are being employed as a solution to teacher shortage.
The initiative is coordinated by UNESCO Dakar and led by a TTISSA coordination committee, comprising all major stakeholders.
UNESCO Dakar works in four main areas:
Support to developing sound teacher policies: UNESCO Dakar provides technical support services, tools and approaches to perform a diagnosis of the situation of teachers. This include support to revising existing polities and/or engaging in training.
The aim is design and implement viable national policies on teacher training, recruitment and retention, as well as on issues relating to the status and working conditions of teachers.
Capacity-building: UNESCO Dakar has produced a methodological guide to analyze various facets of the teacher challenge at the national level. The guide has so far been used to analyze the situation of teachers in Benin, Burundi, Lesotho and Mali.
Inter-country workshops are also organized to share and exchange assessment results and experiences.
Creation and adoption of innovative approaches: UNESCO Dakar works to improve data on working conditions and status of teachers to take their professional needs and career aspirations into account when devising policies.
Another innovation is an online learning platform that is being developed to enable teachers to learn from each other and to develop, share and assess their teaching aids.
Advocacy: UNESCO Dakar facilitates the exchange of knowledge and experiences on teacher policies among sub-Saharan African countries.
The annual World Teachers’ Day on 5 October provides an opportunity for UNESCO to reach out with key messages related to teachers.