CELEBRATING GLOBAL ACTION WEEK 2013: EVERY CHILD NEEDS A TEACHER!
Global Action Week (GAW) is a worldwide annual campaign organized by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) to raise awareness about the importance of Education for All (EFA).
Under the slogan “Every Child Needs a Teacher,” the 2013 Global Action Week will focus on the crucial role of teachers in achieving the Education for All goals. Every child in the world has a right to quality education, and without an effective teacher that right cannot be realized. Yet, even as we make progress towards getting children into school, there are many challenges to overcome: One major issue is the need for nurturing and maintaining professional, well-trained, and well-supported teachers. Failure to deal with this issue is one of the biggest constraints in achieving Education For All, and is a critical factor in the learning gap – the gap between the high-quality education we strive to deliver and the dramatically poor learning outcomes due to circumstances.
In Cambodia, teacher shortage is a big challenge. Teachers are faced with various realities and pressures such as double shift teaching, multi-grade classes, high pupil-to-teacher ratio, and contractual teaching positions. Cambodia has the highest pupil teacher ratio after Africa (approximately 47 teachers for one pupil*), being the 16th highest rate in the world. A recent study carried out in the country shows that some teachers leave the profession due to low motivation. The impact of the shortage of trained teachers on the quality of education is devastating for the society, translating into high dropout and repetition rates, poor learning outcomes of students, and ultimately big losses for the economy and society. Special measures to attract, train and retain teachers in poor and remote areas are crucial in ensuring quality education for all learners in Cambodia, including the most disadvantaged and vulnerable areas. If we value learning, we must value teachers.
In Cambodia, UNESCO has contributed to the draft of teacher policy which provides a clear roadmap for bridging the gap between quantity and quality of education for all learners. To achieve the objectives of the teacher policy, the future action plan will need to address the holistic development of teachers and take into account the conditions in relation to competitive and fair recruitment, quality pre- and in-service training, effective deployment and redeployment, remuneration and decent working conditions. Also, the action plan will have to ensure the full participation of teachers in career advancement, professional development and social activities.
UNESCO actively supports the campaign by mobilizing networks and partners, and encouraging the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) and all EFA partners to participate, by collecting and sharing policies and practices and organizing activities together with the GCE local team. In Cambodia, UNESCO works to enforce national standards of training and enhance teachers’ professional status in order to assure quality education for all students. The importance of teachers has already been the theme of the 2006 GAW and emerges as a core topic in the discussions about the post-2015 international education agenda. Advocating for teachers is also the aim of World Teachers' Day (5 October), annually celebrated to discuss and address issues on teachers.
Ms. Anne Lemaistre, UNESCO Representative in Cambodia, underscores the importance of teachers in building a strong education system: “We need teachers who are well-qualified, motivated and dedicated to teaching; Teachers who know the subject and curriculum and possess good pedagogical methods; Teachers who can understand the individual needs of each student taking into account the varying capabilities of all students. Teachers make the difference between just being in school and learning”.
For more information, please contact Ms. Jamie Lee, UNESCO Communication and Information Focal Point by email: hj.lee(at)unesco.org
Video of DG for GAW: Every Child needs a teacher
<- Back to: UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh