On 5-9 November 2018 UNESCO IITE participated in the 11th Policy Dialogue Forum of the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 (TTF), which took place in Montego Bay (Jamaica) and was arranged jointly by TTF and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information of the Kingdom of Jamaica.
The Policy Dialogue Forum aimed at establishing a shared vision among members and partners of the TTF on crucial issues for the implementation of the Teacher Target in the Sustainable Development Goal on education (SDG 4) and Education 2030 Agenda. Teacher education is at the center of any strategies or policies that aim at the “supply of qualified teachers” for a quality and inclusive education.
The Policy Dialogue Forums offer a platform for multi-stakeholder communication and networking and the identification of ways to urge for adequate resource mobilization for teacher development. The theme of the Policy Dialogue Forum this year was “Strengthening Teacher Education: A prerequisite for quality teaching and learning”, a core concept in the provisions on Teachers in Education 2030 Agenda and the Teacher Target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Over 300 participants, including policy makers, researchers, teacher educators, teachers, representatives of development partners and civil society organizations, were invited to the Forum with the aim to discuss the following sub-themes:
- Sub-theme 1: Knowledge, skills and competencies for teacher development.
- Sub-theme 2: Teacher training: Skills and competencies for work.
- Sub-theme 3: Promoting equal learning opportunities for all through teacher education.
- Sub-theme 4: Teacher education: Digital learning and continuing professional development.
Mr Tao Zhan, Director of the UNESCO IITE and Ms Natalia Amelina, Senior National Project Officer in Education, Chief of the Teacher Professional Development and Networking Unit, represented the Institute at the Forum. This year UNESCO IITE was invited to arrange and coordinate the Sub-theme 4: Teacher education: Digital learning and continuing professional development. In addition, UNESCO IITE was responsible for thematic group meeting “ICT and Distance Education”.
During the Plenary Session the key note speaker, Mr Tao Zhan has delivered a presentation with a focus on the Sub-theme 4 area and shared with the participants the main issues of the digital skills and ICT competencies of teachers. The plenary session was followed by the three breakout sessions.
During the first Breakout Session five experts shared with the participants the challenges and opportunities of digital learning and continuing professional development with ICT. Presentations of the first two speakers were dedicated to the integration of ICT in teacher professional development programmes in African and Arabian regions. Thus, Professor Bisanda highlighted the achievements of the University of Tanzania in this field, and Professor Abdelaziz shared with the participants innovative approaches developed by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University from the United Arab Emirates. During this session the participants had an honor to listen to the Laureate of the UNESCO-Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers. The presentation of Professor Salome Martinez was dedicated to ICT-based programme for the development of mathematical knowledge and teaching. Prof Ronghuai Huang shared with the participants Chinese approaches for bridging the digital divide between urban and rural areas on ICT competency development of teachers. The presentation of Ms Esther Mwiyeria from Kenya was focused on ICT implementation strategies for teacher training in schools.
The second Breakout Session became an opportunity for participants to ask questions from the panel members and share their own experiences and enrich the evidence base of the discussion around the topic areas and/or broaden the topic.
The third Breakout Session was aimed to draw conclusions and recommendations for the future work of UNESCO, the TTF and the teacher training community of institutions. The recommendations formulated at the Session are focused on the areas of policy planning and implementation and will be included in the Final Recommendations for the TTF meeting.