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Teachers and UNESCO team up to define professionalism for teaching and learning across the world

Education International (EI) and UNESCO launch a joint framework that will define what quality teaching means, now and in the future. The Global Framework of Professional Teaching Standards was launched today in front of education ministers, EI member organisations and policy experts at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.

With quality teaching high on the global education agenda, educators and their unions have taken the lead to create a set of standards that defines the new benchmark for quality teaching and that will contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4. The Global Framework of Professional Teaching Standards was developed in close cooperation with UNESCO.

At the UNESCO General Conference, Education International President Susan Hopgood took the floor to introduce the new tool and stressed that this was the result of a participatory process that responds to the wish and the right of educators to be at the table when education policy decisions are made. “We care deeply about the status of our profession and about the quality of the education provided to our students,” she said, adding that the recognition of teaching as a profession implies taking professional standards and working conditions seriously.

UNESCO Assistant Director General for Education, Stefania Giannini, added that “professional teaching standards designed with the aim to define what quality teaching means for delivering quality education are a powerful instrument in the hands of educators. Their development is one of the critical steps in order to increase the supply of qualified and trained teachers necessary to ensure quality education for all children and adolescents by 2030.”

 

Why the world needs a standards framework for teachers

The Professional Teaching Standards Framework complements existing UN normative instruments, in particular the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (1966) and the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel (1997) which aim to protect and promote the status of teachers. It lays out ten standards covering three domains: Teaching Knowledge and Understanding, Teaching Practice and Teaching Relations.

Hopgood stated that the Professional Teaching Standards Framework would help raise the teaching and learning bar in many countries, schools and classrooms. The professional competences and capabilities defined in the framework would also help to strengthen teacher education and development programmes and propel teachers to a higher level of professional practice and excellence.

 

Quality before surveillance

The framework as it has been developed by EI and UNESCO is a tool to ensure quality, not “a managerial tool for controlling or punishing teachers. [It is] a fireguard against deprofessionalisation and a catalyst for improving teacher professionalism and practice,” Hopgood pointed out.

It has been developed with the input of teachers, drawing on professional insights and vast experience from a wide variety of educational contexts.

The framework was adopted by the EI World Congress in July. Education unions and governments are encouraged to use the Framework in their national contexts.