Transforming education starts with a new deal for teachers

published 7 July 2022 updated 1 August 2022

Education International brought the voice of teachers and education support personnel everywhere to the Transforming Education Pre-Summit hosted by UNESCO in Paris from June 28 to 30.

The Pre-Summit brought together education ministers and vice-ministers from 154 countries and nearly 2000 participants. It aimed to energise global action on education in the lead-up to the Transforming Education Summit, which will take place on September 19 in New York City. Convened by United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, the Transforming Education Summit will bring together heads of state from around the world in order to mobilise political ambition, actions, solutions, and solidarity to accelerate progress on Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education for all.

It will be the first time global leaders come together to focus on education, a sector severely affected by pandemic-related learning losses, deepened and exacerbated inequities, and cuts to education budgets globally.

“The Summit gives us the opportunity to build resilient education systems capable of delivering the quality inclusive education our students have a right to and deserve. Teachers are central to these systems. Governments must invest in teachers and ensure decent working conditions to end the teacher shortage. They must involve teachers in policy decisions through social dialogue. And they must trust teachers and respect their professional autonomy. Transforming education starts with a new deal for teachers.”

David Edwards | Education International General Secretary

Summit discussions are centred around five action tracks identified as preconditions for progress on Sustainable Development Goal 4 and essential to transforming education systems. Country commitments and initiatives are encouraged in these areas:

  1. Equitable, safe, and healthy schools
  2. Learning and skills for life, work, and sustainable development
  3. Teachers, teaching, and the teaching profession
  4. Digital learning
  5. Education financing (domestic and international)

A new deal for teachers

During the Pre-Summit, Education International called for a new deal for teachers and support personnel as a prerequisite to any meaningful transformation in education. As part of the new deal, governments must:

  1. Increase investment in quality public education systems.
  2. Guarantee labour rights and decent working conditions.
  3. Invest in quality teacher training and professional development.
  4. Trust and respect teachers and their pedagogical expertise.
  5. Involve teacher unions in policy through social dialogue.

Schools are just buildings without teachers

Michelle Codrington Rogers, citizenship teacher from the UK and former president of NASUWT, took the stage at the Pre-Summit and delivered a powerful message from teachers everywhere to decision-makers at the event and beyond:

“Value teachers, pay teachers, trust teachers, and make sure that teachers are involved in the decision making. That's the only way we can transform education.”

Michelle Codrington Rogers | Citizenship teacher, UK

Watch her full intervention below.

Education International is represented on the Transforming Education Summit Advisory Committee by its General Secretary David Edwards. EI will continue to call for all countries to include education unions in the national consultations organised in the lead up to the Summit in September.