Teaching and Learning: Three pronged-approach to addressing the learning crisis

Poster for World Teachers' Day 2016.

Addressing the Learning crisis which prevails in most West Africa countries is one of UNESCO’s priority. Large number of children and young people are still out of school and lack basic skills in reading, writing and computing. A large number of those who attend school do not meet the minimum standards in reading and mathematics as documented by several national and regional learning assessments (UNESCO, 2014).

Today a large body of evidence demonstrates that Teachers are key. They can play an important role in improving learning outcomes if they are adequately trained, supported and managed but the reality is that most West African countries are facing an acute shortage of trained teachers and the situation in many countries may deteriorate as governments struggle with overcrowded classrooms and the rising demand for education from growing school-age populations: for every 100 children in 2013, there will be 142 primary school-age children in 2030. Sub-Saharan Africa alone will need to create 2.2 million new teaching positions by 2030, while filling about 3.9 million vacant positions due to attrition (UIS, 2015). The hiring of untrained personnel to serve as basic education teachers – a strategy used in many countries over the last 15 years - showed its shortcomings and is clearly not an option for countries committed to address the learning crisis.

With the adoption of SDG-4 the need for qualified teachers including at pre-primary level will be even more pressing as target 4.1 calls member states “to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes by 2030” and target 4.2 calls to “ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education”. SDG4 framework for action further recommend to provide all children with 12 of free, publicly funded equitable and inclusive quality primary and secondary education - of which at least nine years are compulsory.

Defining Professional standards and pathways for basic education teachers

To address this challenge UNESCO Dakar initiated the development of National and Regional Qualifications Frameworks for Basic Education Teachers in West African states.

This initiative aims to facilitate the definition of professional standards as well as academic and professional pathways for teacher education and continuous professional development as key elements for the recognition of teaching as a full-fledged profession as well as the recognition of teachers as professional workers with identifiable fields of competence and experience. Using an innovative approach the standards are evidence-based and address the key tasks any Basic Education teachers is expected to perform e.g. preparing lessons, delivering lessons, assessing learning and conducting extracurricular activities, including self-professional development. More

Strengthening national capacities to train, supervise and manage Teachers and NFE educators

Over the past two years UNESCO Dakar has been implementing capacity-building programmes for teachers in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau which are improving countries’ institutional and organizational capacities to design and implement training programmes for teacher trainers and supervisors, development and review teacher related policies, and contribute to knowledge production and sharing on effective teaching. More

Building regional partnership in support to teaching and learning : TALENT Network

The Teaching and Learning Educators’ Network for Transformation (TALENT) hosted by UNESCO Dakar was established in June 2016 to serve as a thematic platform to support the implementation of SDG4/Education 2030 Framework for Action. Its activities focus on research, knowledge sharing and capacity building its stakeholders are West and Central African States as well as education development partners – including intergovernmental organizations, CSO, Academia, and professional bodies - actives in those countries.

TALENT is one of the activities of the West and Central Africa Regional Coordination Group for SDG4 – education 2030. Member of the TALENT Core Team are currently UNESCO, UNICEF, CONFEMEN, ANCEFA, REESAO. More

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