Resolution on quality environments for teaching and learning

published 25 July 2015 updated 31 March 2017

The 7th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Ottawa, Canada, from 21nd to 26th July 2015:

Recognising that:

1. the quality of teaching and learning is enhanced by an environment which is supportive and ensures the safety and health of learners and teachers;

2. education systems should provide environments which are supportive, comfortable, safe and secure;

3. teaching and learning is most effective when it takes place in such environments;

4. those working in education institutions and those learning in them should have their safety and security assured by the institution and by public authorities and governments;

5. poor quality teaching and learning environments inhibit the delivery of high quality education services;

6. there is a huge disparity between the environments in which education is provided in countries across the globe;

7. there is a need to establish minimum standards for safe, secure and supportive environments for teaching and learning;

8. although there are some references in the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation on the Status of Teachers, the inter-governmental organisations generally have failed to establish appropriate detailed standards.

Declares that every student should be educated in:

9. a caring environment which encourages and nourishes the physical, emotional and intellectual development of students and promotes good physical and mental health;

10. an environment which protects students, teachers, school leaders and education support personnel from physical violence or emotional or mental trauma;

11. an institutional ethos which values peace, mutual respect, tolerance and democratic principles;

12. an institution which takes measures to oppose and prevent discrimination, especially discrimination based on gender, race, personal characteristics, such as disabilities, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression;

13. an environment, in which the infrastructure and architecture reflect and reinforce inclusive social values and the natural features of the surrounding environment;

14. a physically comfortable environment which provides students, teachers and education support personnel with shelter from the elements, protection against risks to their health, sufficient physical space and appropriate sanitary facilities, separate for boys and girls, but respecting and granting always gender diversity and identity to each person, as well as other services, like water and electricity ;

15. a classroom environment which is not over-crowded, and in which the number of students is appropriate to the learning needs of the students, with appropriate reductions in the maximum number of students in a classroom based on the subject being taught, the age and other characteristics of the students, and the level of education in which the students are participating;

16. an environment which is inclusive and accessible to all students, teachers and education support personnel;

17. a classroom environment which contains all of the necessary education materials and equipment to deliver a modern curriculum;

18. an environment in which there is access to the internet, subject to appropriate controls, and open and free access to useful online educational materials and documents;

19. a school environment which has facilities or good access to such facilities for physical education, both indoor and outdoor, and for the teaching and learning of specialist subjects such as science and the arts;

20. a school environment which has indoor facilities to cater for different pedagogical approaches, including working in groups and other forms of cooperative learning;

21. an institution which provides appropriate textbooks and other learning materials for students;

22. an institution which has library facilities or good access to such facilities, enabling access to a variety of virtual and hardcopy texts and materials that reflect the different realities experienced by students and contribute to promoting a more open-minded approach to these realities ;

23. an institution which has comfortable and secure facilities to encourage interaction between staff;

24. an institution which has catering facilities or good access to such facilities to provide students with appropriate meals;

25. a supportive and welcoming environment, which facilitates the school community and parents, in particular, engaging with the students and teachers;

26. an institution which has adequate office and working space for administrative and other education support professionals.

Mandates the Executive Board:

27. to develop the definition of standards for supportive, comfortable, safe and secure environments for teaching and learning and include them in the appropriate policy documents;

28. to pursue the application of such standards at national and international level;

29. to advise member organisations of relevant standards and regulations issued by the ILO and UNESCO; and

30. to urge affiliates to call upon their governments to adopt and monitor the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in their jurisdiction;

Demands that

31. the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers and the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel be revised to include further and more specific recommendations on appropriate teaching and learning environments;

32. the inter-governmental organisations, including the ILO and UNESCO, define standards for quality teaching and learning environments, including infrastructure, for education institutions; and

33. such standards be prescribed within a regulatory and enforceable framework.