The Report is a major step forward in reflecting both the realities of the teaching profession and the harmful effects that test-based accountability and merit pay have had on education systems and the profession.
Nevertheless, Education International (EI) wishes to point out a glaring omission in the conclusions of the report that we believe would have remedied mistakes of the past - namely, institutionalised social and policy dialogue with the profession itself.
Read the 2017/8 Report here
Education International (EI) has welcomed the report as it better highlights the realities teachers face daily around the world, specifically as it relates to accountability. By highlighting systems over simply blaming individuals, the Report has broken with trends to scapegoat and punish and has highlighted concerns long conveyed by EI and its members.
Specifically, the GEM Report makes clear that accountability of education systems lies on the shoulders of governments, which must properly and transparently regulate education. We concur with GEM Report Director Manos Antoninis when he says that:
“Accountability must start with governments. If a government is too quick to apportion blame to others, it is deflecting attention away from its own responsibility for creating a strong, supportive education system.”
EI General Secretary agrees but adds that strong, supportive education systems need strong unions
“The demand of accountability falls far short on credibility when teachers’ unions and associations are omitted as essential stakeholders in education systems,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “Clear, transparent negotiations with teacher representatives are crucial to establishing institutional dialogue. That said, we must acknowledge that the GEM Report is now reflecting what teachers’ organisations have long been saying: that education systems must be led and regulated by governments.”
Stronger regulation ensures that public trust in systems are well-founded
Although regulation should apply to free public education systems in order to improve equity and quality rather than the Report’s call for “far stricter regulation of private sector involvement,” the Report does recognise EI’s Global Response Campaign and its work targeting for-profit Bridge International Academies (BIA).
Donors must also be held to account for the ongoing funding gap
The GEM also suggests that greater regulation must be placed on education donors who have abandoned their pledges to increase education funding for the poorest and most resource strapped countries. While this is undeniably true, EI also reiterates that the sustainability of education will inevitably rest with a country's ability to mobilize resources domestically. This means strengthening tax regimes, closing corporate loopholes and cracking down on off shore tax havens.
With the Report’s official launch in London, Dakar and Brasilia on 24 October, regional launches are planned over the coming weeks. For more information, click here. Education International will also work to ensure that the findings are distributed widely amongst the membership and is planning a webinar, podcast and blog in the coming weeks.