The Education Commission has launched its latest report as part of the 74th United Nations General Assembly. Transforming the Education Workforce: Learning Teams for a Learning Generation – makes a case for teamwork as a key to educating the world’s children. Professor Freda Wolfenden, Professor of Education and International Development at The Open University has been involved in the primary research in Ghana.
With only 10 years remaining until the UN’s Agenda 2030 deadline to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all, the world is at serious risk of not achieving this goal.
Teacher quality is the most important determinant of learning outcomes at school level. But in many countries teachers are in short supply, isolated, and not supported to provide effective teaching and learning. To meet the demand for teachers, an estimated 69 million teachers must be recruited globally –76 percent of these in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In some countries, even where there are teachers, many are poorly trained or unqualified. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 45 percent of teachers in secondary schools are trained to teach.
Teachers cannot deliver quality education alone
It takes a team to educate a child. Teachers need leadership and support to be effective and to reach the most vulnerable. This report envisions learning teams that tap the potential of the broader education workforce – school and district leaders, specialists, learning assistants, community experts, entrepreneurs, health and welfare professionals, parents, volunteers, and many others – to work together to help all children succeed. Teams of professionals are commonplace in health but why not in education?
The report, a direct response to the Education Commission’s Learning Generation report recommendation to strengthen and diversify the workforce, is the result of 18 months of research with dozens of organizations around the world. It brings existing evidence, new innovations, promising examples from other sectors, and fresh thinking to propose three visions for strengthening the existing education workforce, developing learning teams, and building learning systems fit for the future.
UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Education Commission Chair and recent Honorary Graduate of the OU, Gordon Brown said:
“We don’t just have a climate emergency, we have an education emergency. Today 260 million children are not in school and more than 600 million children in school are not learning the basics. Unless we take drastic measures, half of the world’s children – 800 million – will not be on track to learn the skills needed to thrive in 2030. To address this learning crisis, we urgently need to recruit 69 million teachers and provide them with the training and support they need.”
Professor Freda Wolfenden added:
“There is very little research on systemwide education workforce reform, especially on roles beyond teachers. We need to research and evaluate different solutions to improve our understanding of what works in particular contexts. The Transforming the Education Workforce report begins that inquiry.”
Find out more
To read the full report