Classroom in Senegal
Classroom in Senegal

The High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession: how to recruit, prepare and retain quality teachers

published 21 August 2023 updated 21 March 2024

The UN High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession convened its third virtual meeting on 15 August.

The Panel discussed three core imperatives for the teaching profession:

  • Teacher quality, broadly framed to imply a focus on preparing and supporting high-quality teachers and quality teaching.
  • Innovation and leadership, broadly framed to focus on teachers’ ability to lead innovations in educational practices, within and beyond the classrooms.
  • Sustainability, broadly framed to focus on ensuring a sustained supply of well-trained, diverse, quality teachers distributed equitably, and teachers educating to support system resilience to mitigate impacts of climate disasters.

Panelists noted the interconnected nature of these three imperatives and the need to ensure comprehensive national teacher policies.

Quality initial teacher training and professional development were highlighted as important for both quality and sustainability, as good preparation gives teachers a sense of self-efficacy and reduces turnover. Panelists also noted that well-prepared, highly qualified teachers take the lead with innovation, as long as they have the enabling conditions to do so, including tools, time and trust.

During the meeting Education International and others were clear that the Panel must have a strong position on ending the use of under-qualified contract teachers. Instead, governments must invest in ensuring qualified, high-status teachers who have secure employment contracts and decent working conditions.

Investment in the profession was also high on the agenda of the Panel, as a crucial prerequisite for sustainably improving teacher quality and enabling innovation.

EI President Susan Hopgood stressed the need to invest in raising the status of the profession, noting that austerity policies and public sector wage bill constraints take us in the wrong direction and must end. She also emphasised the necessity of an international monitoring mechanism to hold governments accountable for implementing recommended policy measures.

In the video below, Susan Hopgood, EI President and member of the Panel provides her perspective on this latest meeting of the Panel.

Teacher union representative on the panel and General Secretary of the Singapore Teacher Union, Mike Thiruman, underscored the need for governments to engage in forward-looking, intentional workforce planning to ensure a strong public system, tackle teacher shortages and ensure teacher diversity.

Teacher union representative on the panel, school leader in Lebanon and Chair of the Arab Countries Cross-Regional Structure (ACCRS) Manal Hdaife called for governments to take concrete steps to close the gender gap in school leadership positions by breaking down barriers which stop their access to promotion.

The next meeting will be in-person in New York in mid-September. Panelists will discuss draft recommendations and agree on a final set of recommendations, which will input into the preparations of the UN Summit of the Future.

Education International will hold a consultation for its member organisations prior to the face-to-face meeting in New York. The consultation will enable EI member organisations to share their perspectives on priority national and international actions that should be taken to end teacher shortages and uplift the profession.

The consultation will be held twice to enable EI members to join at the time zone most appropriate for them.

Click here to register for the consultation at 09.00-10.30 CEST (interpretation in English and French).

Click here to register for the consultation at 16.00-17.30 CEST (interpretation in Spanish and English).

For more information about the consultation click here.