World Teachers’ Day: Teachers’ Support and Motivation Framework

Group photo taken at the end of the one-day seminar on Teachers’ Support and Motivation held at the African Union Conference Center in Addis Ababa on Sept. 26, 2016. Copyright: African Union Commission (AUC) / Photo editing: ADEA

African Union Conference Center, 26 September 2016 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (UNESCO-IICBA), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), Education International (EI), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) held a one-day seminar on Teachers’ Support and Motivation at the African Union Conference Center in Addis Ababa. The seminar commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (1966) and World Teachers’ Day, to be observed on 5th October 2016. H.E. Dr. Martial De Paul Ikounga, the AU Commissioner for HRST, opened the seminar. IICBA presented its new publication entitled: Teaching Policies and Learning Outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa – a collaboration between IICBA, UNESCO member states in Africa and the International Task Force on Teachers. The participants comprised experts from EI, UNESCO, ADEA, ILO, AUC and universities and teacher training institutions in Africa. The seminar came to the following conclusions and recommendations:


We must recognize that learning achievements will not significantly rise across Africa without real investments in teachers. However, the challenges teachers face in improving teaching and learning at the classroom level are complex and multi-dimensional. The recommendations below call for countries to invest in comprehensive and holistic teaching policies that are fully integrated within broader efforts to raise the quality of education and instruction. 

Standards setting and monitoring at global, regional or sub-regional levels within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) must be informed by existing teaching policies at a country level, as well as regional positions and perspectives. 

Proposals for elevating the status of the teaching profession must build on the intellectual capital, policy instruments and partnerships that have already emerged from dialogue, harmonization and cooperation processes in the region. 

Above all, the voice of African teachers must be heard. Dialogue with teachers on the daily realities of teaching and learning in Africa’s classrooms should inform support and motivation frameworks that will have a real impact on learning outcomes at all levels. 

Towards investments in holistic, inter-connected teaching policies 

Investing in teachers is transformative in Africa, both for individual learners and the broader education improvement agenda. Considering the impact caused by the current teacher gap, poorly trained teachers and poor quality schooling in relation to educational advancement and upward social and economic mobility, this meeting recommends integrated investments across all policy dimensions of education systems impacting teachers’ recruitment, deployment, utilization, professionalization, status, motivation and teaching practice. 

  • The region facing the greatest challenges in teacher recruitment by a large margin is sub-Saharan Africa,which accounts for more than one-half (63%) of the additional teachers needed to achieve UPE by 2015or two-thirds (67%) by 2030

Ensuring that teachers have a voice 

Recognizing the critical role of teachers to ensure successful education policy reforms, and the need for the teaching profession to adapt to, and be more relevant for, the African continent’s social demands, this meeting recommends: 

  • Greater focus at the policy level, and within global and regional monitoring mechanisms, for SDG4 and CESA,on social dialogue with teachers unions and representative bodies to understand teachers’ needs andconcerns, to promote engagement and innovation at classroom level, and to identify solutions proposed by teachers to the major pedagogic and professional development issues affecting the teaching profession 

Professionalization and the status of teachers 

Building on internationally agreed upon standards and national frameworks, this meeting underscores that the issue of teacher professionalization in Africa is paramount. Countries must invest in re-valorizing the status of teachers and teaching as a profession, with observance of minimum standards for teachers’ education, training and professional development across all categories of teachers, including: 

  • The definition of core national standards for key teacher competencies; 
  • Reflection on the changing role of higher education institutions, teacher preparation programs and institutions in teachers’ professionalization and development; 
  • Reflection on the role and management of continuous professional development (CPD) of teachers linked to careers paths and promotion 

Providing the right incentives to enhance teachers’ motivation 

Recognizing that teacher motivation and morale are affected by both monetarized and non-monetarized benefits, this meeting recommends an expansion of the discussion on teachers’ incentives and support strategies to include: 

Salaries and social protection – Ensuring pay scales and remuneration are commensurate with the status of the teaching profession and no less than those of other public sector workers, with adequate access to health coverage and social services, housing and transportation 

  •  According to UIS data, sub-Saharan Africa will have to spend US $5.2 billion more per year to pay the salaries of the additional teachers the region requires by 2020. 

Teachers’ professional autonomy – Valorizing teachers’ pedagogic expertise and empowering them to adapt education contents and contextualize teaching practices in view of learners’ progress and classroom contexts, while maintaining national standards and curriculum coverage 

School leadership functions – Investing in school leadership roles towards the promotion of collaborative and supportive working environments at school level, including opportunities for teachers to access peer learning and support and ensuring that teachers have adequate access to educational resources and instructional materials 

Empowered school governing bodies – Giving parents and the community powers to work in collaboration with teachers in raising the quality of schooling and ultimately learning outcomes. 

Providing quality support for newly trained teachers 

Recognizing the frequent disconnect between pre-service programs and the realities of teaching in different urban and rural contexts in Africa, this meeting recommends: 

  •  Familiarizing new recruits with teaching practice through placement opportunities in diverse rural and urban contexts during pre-service training 
  •  Providing induction and mentorship programs for all beginning teachers’ 
  •  Training in pedagogies and assessments relevant to large class sizes and diverse learning needs, and schooling in resource poor, vulnerable and crisis affected areas 

Improving and expanding CPD programs 

Recognizing that teaching is a lifelong profession and that teachers need lifelong learning opportunities, this meeting recommends… 

  •  Free, high quality professional development for teachers at school and cluster levels 
  •  Clearly defined guidelines for career advancement, school leadership and management roles 

Ensuring adequate support for TVET teachers 

Recognizing the demographic dividend of access to technical and vocational education (TVET) in Africa, and particularly in support of the vision and goals of CESA and its corollary TVET strategy, this meeting underscores the urgency of: 

  •  Increasing the attractiveness of recruitment to TVET teaching at all levels and all forms; 
  •  Introducing more flexibility into national TVET curriculum guidelines, with greater professional autonomy for TVET teachers to bridge the gap between national TVET guidelines and local labour markets.