Resolution on Teacher Education

published 28 July 1998 updated 31 March 2017

The Second World Congress of Education International, meeting in Washington D.C., U.S.A., from 25 to 29 July 1998:

Notes that:

1. It is of crucial importance that teachers receive the highest quality professional education that builds on a full secondary school qualification. Professional teacher training at the university level is a pre-requisite for both quality education and social progress.

2. To teach is a life-long process of learning. This means, among other things, that the recruitment of secondary school graduates, or those with equivalent qualifications, into teacher education, quality pre-service training at the university level, the induction phase and the professional development of teachers throughout their working lives have to be regarded as integrated elements of teacher education.

3. The status of teachers is in decline around the world. It is of critical importance that this trend be arrested so that the teaching profession is attractive to the best students.

4. It is also important that all categories of teachers - early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary - receive high quality initial and continuing education.

5. Teacher education has to include knowledge about new technologies and the use of new technologies.

6. It is especially important that teachers, as part of their teacher education, both initial and in-service, learn how to work together in teams with other teachers and other staff.

7. The knowledge and skills that teachers require can be divided into four areas:

a. Knowledge and the skills needed to teach. Training in educational theory and practice. Training in the tasks which form part of the skills required of a teacher today: working as a member of a teaching team, contact with parents and local institutions, action-research activities, participation in the organisation and running of the establishment;

b. In-depth knowledge of the subjects taught. The teacher must have a good knowledge of the subjects, but also the skills needed in seeking out new and additional information.

c. Education in a wide range of approaches, issues, knowledge and skills that are not the subjects to be directly taught but which form a necessary and integral part of all education. The proper use of computer science and modern communication technologies; human rights; equality between the sexes; socio-economic status and poverty; integration of the disabled; multiculturalism; action against drugs; AIDS information; discrimination; environmental problems; international relations; professional ethics.

d. Knowledge of the psychological and physiological development of children, adolescents and adults and knowledge of educational sciences, i.e. pedagogy and education-oriented psychology and sociology.

Recommends that:

8. The minimum requirements for acceptance into education of all kinds of teachers should be full secondary education. Complementary requirements may be added depending on national traditions, the structure of teacher education and the age groups and subjects the teachers are intending to teach.

9. The requirements for acceptance into teacher education should be constructed in such a way that adults and/or students with the equivalent qualifications are encouraged to apply.

10. The professional preparation of teachers has to include a period of practicum.

11. The education of teachers must be at university level. In those countries where teacher education takes place fully or partly in specialist teacher colleges, the colleges must provide an education equivalent to that of a university degree. It is important that there be a link between teacher education and educational research.

12. A high degree of integration between the various teacher education programs covering the different educational sectors should be considered. This would require the establishment of core or mandated curriculum areas considered relevant to the work of all teachers.

13. One possible way of structuring teacher education could be to have basic courses for all student-teachers at the beginning of their education and, at a later stage of this education, specialised courses on early childhood education, primary education, secondary education and other relevant sub-sectors within the education sector;

14. Pre-service and in-service teacher education should involve an understanding of the latest educational research, relevant discipline studies, progressive pedagogical studies and classroom management techniques. All teachers should have some experience and expertise in working with students with disabilities, a foundation of inter-cultural education and confidence in the use of new and emerging technology.

15. It is important that, during their education, future teachers are made aware of trade union issues and informed about employment conditions. To increase the unionisation of the teaching profession, member organisations ought to build relationships and where possible recruit and provide services for student-teachers.

16. There should be parity of status and appropriate content of teacher education for all sectors of education from early childhood to post-secondary education. In many countries, it is especially important to ensure that high quality teacher education is established for teachers in those sectors where teacher education has been insufficient, or even absent, for example in the fields of early childhood and vocational education and training.

17. It is crucial to create a bridge between initial teacher education and the reality of teaching in schools and other education institutions. An induction phase does not mean that the teacher should be employed with working conditions inferior to those of other teachers during his/her first years in the profession, but it means that special steps have to be taken to support new teachers to develop their newly acquired competence.

18. Schools and other education institutions must be given resources to induct new teachers. Experienced teachers can function as mentors for new teachers, but where possible, the universities or teachers' colleges should also retain some responsibility after the completion of the course.

19. In-service training must be considered a fundamental right for teachers. Continuous professional development to update the teacher and to give her/him an opportunity of developing new approaches to teaching is of crucial importance in ensuring high quality education and in retaining teachers in the profession.

20. In-service training offered to teachers should be of a high quality. To guarantee a high-standard, in-service training must be organised in co-operation with universities, laboratories, colleges or other appropriate institutions offering relevant education.

21. A variety of different kinds of in-service training should be offered to teachers. The teacher should be given a large amount of freedom to choose the kind of in-service training that he/she thinks is most appropriate.

22. Teachers should play a significant role in the planning and implementation of in-service training.

23. In-service training has to be seen as both a right and an obligation for teachers. It has to take place during the working hours in order to facilitate the participation of all teachers. In-service training has to be recognised as one of the factors to be taken into consideration in relation to promotion.

24. Steps have to be taken to organise and co-ordinate in-service training at an international level, so that it is possible for teachers to make study visits to other countries in order to both learn from their peers and to share their own experiences and expertise. This is even more important as the mobility of the profession is increasing rapidly.

25. It is of great importance to find ways to offer career progression within the teaching profession. An initial priority is to make it easier for teachers to move across sectors in the education system. It should also be possible for teachers to be involved in educational research projects, policy development and teacher education.

EI should:

26. Promote the ideas and recommendations expressed in this resolution through discussions with UNESCO, ILO, the World Bank, OECD and other relevant intergovernmental organisations.

27. Promote the acceptance and the implementation of the principles in this resolution at the international level, with the objectives of ensuring high quality teacher education in all countries and consistency in educational standards within and between countries.

28. Pursue acceptance of professional development as a life-long learning entitlement for teachers.

29. Continue to follow developments within teacher education and develop this policy area.

30. Compile and disseminate studies and brochures which member organisations have produced on teacher education.