"Bamako+5" Conference on Contractual Teachers

27 Oct 2009 to 29 Oct 2009

Co-organized by ADEA, the World Bank, Education International and the Ministry of Education of Mali 

1. Context
The number of teachers needed to attain Education for All (EFA) goals in Africa has been estimated at 2.4 million (UNESCO Institute for Statistics/EFA). This is, however, a conservative estimate, as consideration of attrition rates varying from 5% to 8% under different assumptions, would produce the following scenarios:

  • 2.7 million teachers at an attrition rate of 5%
  • " 3.2 million teachers at an attrition rate of 6.5%
  • " 3.7 million teachers at an attrition rate of 8%

In addition to the challenge of supplying the required number of teachers, there is the question of whether the teaching force can meet the quality criterion. Africa faces a number of challenges/constraints that undermine national capacities to provide a sufficient number of qualified teachers. These constraints include: 

  • " limited training institutions and human resources;
  • " a shortage of post-primary school leavers with the requisite educational background to take teacher training courses; 
  • " very few training programs geared toward preparing school principals and school managers;
  • " limited fiscal capacity to pay decent salaries to teachers;
  • " paucity of innovative/alternative ways of preparing teachers and ensuring their professional development. 

    COMMUNIQUE, Conclusions of the Bamako +5 conference and Emerging Challenges

    • COMMUNIQUE: "Bamako + 5" Conference on Contractual Teachers, PDF
    • Conclusions of the Bamako +5 conference, Ahlin Byll-Cataria Executive-Secretary, ADEA, Powerpoint PDF
    • Some Messages on the ''Bamako + 5'' Conference, Mamadou Ndoye, Powerpoint PDF 

      Press Releases

    • First Press Release, Tunis, 23/10/2009, PDF
    • Press Release for the opening of the conference, Bamako, 27 October 2009 PDF

      Conference Documents
      Word PDF Documents 
    • Draft Agenda, PDF
    • Concept Note, PDF
    • Composition and Status of Primary Tea EFA, PDF
    • Technical Repport : Follow-up workshop to the conference on contractual teacher PDF
    • The Impact of HIV and AIDS on Teachers:National Responses to prevent and mitigate impact, Peter Badcock-Walters, PDF
      PowerPoint PDF Documents 
    • Policy Framework on the employment, social protection and career management of contractual teachers, PDF
    • Trends in primary school enrollment since 2004,Jean?Pierre Jarousse, UNESCO BREDA Pôle de Dakar, PDF
    • Technical Repport : Follow-up workshop to the conference on contractual teacher PDF
    • Conclusions of the Bamako +5 conference, Ahlin Byll-Cataria Executive-Secretary, ADEA, Powerpoint PDF
    • Some Messages on the ''Bamako + 5'' Conference, Mamadou Ndoye, Powerpoint PDF

One of the major education policy issues that has emerged as a result of the situation described above is the recourse to contractual or community teachers to bridge the gap left by the shortage of teachers. In most cases, this new category of teachers obtains very poor results, owing to their low educational attainment and insufficient training, combined with unattractive terms of employment. Instead of being a temporary stop-gap measure to cope with the shortage of teachers, recruitment of contractuals has intensified, and in some countries they now outnumber qualified teachers. 

In November 2004, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), in partnership with the World Bank and Education International (EI), organized a conference in Bamako to address the recruitment and employment of contractual teachers in Francophone African countries. A consensus emerged from the Bamako Conference, now referred to as the Bamako Consensus, recognizing that

"the use of contractual teachers offers a number of opportunities. All the countries that have taken this path have made very significant progress in enrollment. However, recourse to contractual teachers undoubtedly entails risks for the quality of the education provided and for the retention and effectiveness of teaching staff. Countries need to meet certain minimum criteria for recruitment, training, contracts and working conditions. It is thus becoming increasingly urgent to implement a framework for resolving questions on the recruitment, training, social protection and career track of such teachers." 

The conference therefore recommended the development of a policy framework to assist governments in gradually integrating and providing professional development for contractual teachers in Francophone countries.

A follow-up workshop held in July 2007 in Dakar produced preliminary versions of two instruments designed to guide countries in their efforts to formulate policy in this regard:
- a policy framework for the recruitment, training and professional development of contractual teachers;
- a policy framework establishing career tracks, opportunities for advancement, guarantees of social protection, and the rights and obligations of contractual teachers. 

Click here for more information about the context

2. Issues
See box 1 below for the issues of the 2009 Bamako Conference.

Box 1: Issues of 2009 Bamako Conference

Recourse to contractual teachers has raised - and continues to raise - a number of questions concerning recruitment, training and working conditions. While most of the countries concerned have recognized the need for a minimum level of academic attainment to join the teaching force (diploma attesting to completion of four years of secondary education), the question of whether to raise this level is currently on the table, owing to the progress made in knowledge acquisition and enrollment as well as the deficiencies observed in the performance of this category of teachers. Given the pool of potential applicants for primary school teaching posts in the countries concerned, is it worthwhile and feasible to raise the required level of attainment today or in the near future? What consequences would this have? Another issue related to recruitment is that of how to select among applicants. Competitive examinations would seem to guarantee the objectivity and transparency of the selection process, as well as ensuring that the best applicants are hired. How then can we explain the persistence of questionable recruitment methods? Can we identify the best recruitment procedures and consider harmonizing them?

The lack or insufficiency of pre-service training for contractual teachers has been criticized by many, but the countries concerned have made perceptible progress in this respect. However, the length of pre-service training remains a subject of debate, with the tendency being to call for longer pre-service training programs. Taking account of the parameters relating to emergency situations and to long-term prospects, what is the appropriate duration of such training today?

This question cannot be considered in isolation from those of the content and objectives of pre-service training. In this respect, it is necessary to consider the issue of the minimum or common core of professional skills that are indispensable for doing the job.

Few countries have a functional, efficient and sustainable system of in-service training. Traditional approaches - training courses, seminars, inspectors' visits - cannot meet the needs of countries, nor significantly change teachers' practices in the classroom. For this reason, the thinking on teacher development processes is increasingly turning toward reflective practice, peer exchanges and peer learning, pedagogical support at local level, etc. Can we identify the most promising systems and processes in this area, those best suited to accompany and support teachers in their work? 

In these new ways of looking at the problem, the leadership of schools takes on particular importance, in terms of creating a school environment favorable to efforts to improve performance through periodic evaluations, recognition of merit, quality circles, teacher groups and pedagogical advisors, school development projects, mobilization and unification of energy and resources, etc. That being the case, what strategies should be adopted to promote such school leadership on a large scale? 

The redirection of in-service training toward professional development also involves strengthening teachers' identity, ethic and motivation. For this reason, the programs to be established must include systems of accreditation and validation of this training, and must consider the impact on career advancement. In the contexts considered, how should such systems be designed and implemented?

Disparities in the terms of employment, particularly between permanent teachers with civil servant status and contractual teachers, engender discontent. Most countries have pledged to eliminate such disparities gradually under the terms of a strategic plan. It seems that such commitments are being acted on only slowly and running into various obstacles (fiscal constraints in particular). It therefore seems necessary to foster broad-based consultations among all the stakeholders and partners concerned (including international partners such as the IMF and World Bank) to seek joint solutions. 

3. Objectives 
Apart from following up on the 2004 Bamako Conference, one of the key objectives of the Bamako + 5 Conference is to learn about the scale of the use of contractual teachers in the Anglophone and Lusophone countries of Africa, as part of the overall context of responding to the teacher gap to achieve EFA. The conference will include a panel forum to share good practice relating to the recruitment, training, use, professional development and career management of contractual teachers. 

4.Specific objectives

The conference will seek to achieve the following:

1. Take stock of progress made in the eleven Francophone countries that participated in the 2004 Bamako Conference, and the difficulties encountered, to advance toward the adoption and implementation of the two policy and strategic frameworks on teachers' professional development and career management;
2. Share successful experiences and lessons learned;
3. Collegial discussion of the policies and strategies to be promoted for appropriate recruitment of teachers, including control over the data on teacher supply and demand;
4. Promote dialogue on resource mobilization among the various stakeholders and partners;
5. Explore the new opportunities available for teacher training and development;
6. Promote consultation and coordination of existing initiatives to support teachers;
7. Promote and give incentive for good practice as regards harmonization of the status and career possibilities of primary school teachers, based on country experiences.

In order to achieve these objectives, there will be an exhaustive review of existing case studies and papers on policy concerning teacher development and career management. Other studies are now in progress, and their findings should also contribute to the discussions at the conference. Lastly, various contributions are expected from the ADEA Working Groups, development partners, all active practitioners of education, civil society, etc. 

5. Expected outcomes

The conference is expected to produce a number of reference documents: 

1. A documented review of the follow-up to the 2004 Bamako Conference;
2. An analysis of lessons learned from country experiences of the recruitment, training and development of contractual teachers;
3. Contributions toward finalization of the two policy frameworks proposed by ADEA on (i) the training and professional development of contractual teachers, and (ii) the career track, opportunities for advancement, social protection guarantees, and rights and obligations of contractual teachers; 
4. Shared understandings on strategies and policies to raise resources for recruitment and training of teachers and for the inclusion of contractual teachers in the permanent teaching force (civil servant status); 
5. Plans for networks or partnerships to exchange and share information on teacher development, notably through the inter-country quality nodes;
6. A report of the conference proceedings. 

6. Opportunities
The conference will make concerted efforts to shed new light on cross-cutting issues that, in terms of the progress made in resolving them, contribute to teachers' professional development. Initiatives aimed at lessening the impact of HIV/AIDS, the difficulties of provision in fragile situations, and gender prejudice are gradually changing the way we look at these issues. The latter are no longer considered as barriers but as bridges to encourage teachers to move forward. Other opportunities are more clearly seen as such: the use of information and communication technology in education (ICTE) and the role of universities in training and in the various reforms...Click here for more information about the 'opportunities'.