Development cooperation partners rally behind UN High-Level Panel recommendations for the teaching profession

published 23 April 2024 updated 21 May 2024

In the wake of the United Nations (UN) High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession's unveiling of 59 groundbreaking recommendations, a pivotal question arises: How can Education International (EI) member organizations effectively leverage these guidelines in their capacity building and advocacy? This question took center stage during an online ‘Development Cooperation Café’ convened by EI’s capacity building and solidarity unit.

"The United Nations has just released another set of recommendations. But what sets these apart?" asked EI General Secretary David Edwards, setting the tone for the discussion. on April 18th.

Edwards emphasized that the new recommendations reflect demands central to Education International’s mission since its inception. At the core of EI’s work is the advocacy for improved working conditions for educators, support for public education and the right to education, and improving the teaching profession.

Revisiting the role of educators in crisis

In the years preceding the adoption of the recommendations, the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the harsh realities confronting educators worldwide. Despite promises of technological prowess transforming education, a persistent digital divide persists, leaving many educators and students stranded without access to online resources, Edwards noted. Amidst the crisis, the indispensable role of teachers in navigating pedagogical complexities and fostering collaboration became glaringly evident, debunking the notion of technology as a panacea, he said.

Upholding the value of teachers

Edwards underlined that, contrary to narratives suggesting that investments in technological innovations supplant the need for recurrent expenditures on teachers, the UN Panel unequivocally affirms the indispensable role of teachers and their unions. Upholding their rights, including the negotiation for optimal working conditions, is deemed paramount in the panel's recommendations.

Blueprint for action

The Panel's recommendations further offer a holistic framework for addressing systemic challenges in education, from ensuring equitable compensation for teachers in crisis to advocating for substantial investments in public education. Serving as a call to action, these recommendations empower education unions to engage with governments and international bodies, demanding tangible reforms.

Aligning with global agendas

Embedded within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN Panel's recommendations resonate with broader aspirations for a more equitable and inclusive world. For the EI leader, as discussions surrounding the future of education evolve, these recommendations serve as a timely intervention, accentuating the pivotal role of teachers in shaping social progress.

EI regional directors are actively engaged in discussions surrounding the operationalization of the UN recommendations, seeking avenues to bolster existing programs or revitalize those in need of reinvigoration, he also said.

Operationalizing the recommendations

As stakeholders contemplate the implementation of these recommendations, EI's newly developed communication toolkit, "Activating the Recommendations of the UN High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession," serves as a resource for members. Providing strategic guidance on advocacy, this toolkit empowers DC partners to amplify the voices of teachers and their unions on the global stage.

Presenting the guide, EI’s Director for Campaigns and Communication Rebeca Logan reminded that the UN recommendations are deeply linked to the EI Go Public! Fund Education campaign.

Armed with these recommendations, the focus now shifts towards implementing strategic initiatives aimed at fostering alignment among stakeholders and governmental bodies. Some partners indicated that they had already started using the recommendations in their advocacy efforts for quality inclusive public education and a strong, respected teaching profession.

As the international community prepares for forthcoming summits and policy dialogues, the UN Panel's recommendations offer a compelling vision for the future of education, participants agreed. By championing the cause of educators and mobilizing support for their vital role, DC partners can ensure that education remains a cornerstone of global development initiatives.