Elevating Teachers’ Voices CET at Transforming Education Pre-Summit
Commonwealth Education Trust CEO Betty Abeng recently visited the Transforming Education Pre-Summit
I attended the Transforming Education Pre-Summit, which recently took place in Paris, where the former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown (who is also UN Special Envoy for Global Education), in his address said, “we need a fundamental shift to get all children into school.”
According to the 2018 World Development Report (WDR), many lower-income countries have made progress in getting children into the classroom, which has led to more children worldwide now being in school. Despite this, learning is still not guaranteed. While significantly greater numbers of children are now attending school, there has been little investment in the education infrastructure needed to teach this pupil explosion, such as building schools, providing resources and – of course – training better and more teachers.
Attending school is simply not the same as learning; schooling without learning is both a wasted opportunity and a great injustice for the children (and their families) who have made the commitment and significant efforts to try to receive an education.
The CET understands this, and that teachers need the skills and motivation to teach effectively, as they are the ones in the classrooms every day. Therefore, our work is focused on investing in teachers and harnessing the multiplicative power training teachers can have, as ‘teachers matter more to student achievement than any other aspect of schooling’ Rand 2019.
So, where are the teachers?
As one of the core pillars in CET’s strategy is to celebrate teachers, I naturally was committed to attending all sessions with a focus on supporting teachers.
I was particularly looking forward to the #TeachersTransform Campaign, an advocacy campaign with the mission to turn the spotlight on the critical role of teachers and teaching in transforming education systems, and to call for greater support for the development of the teaching profession. I was also hoping to speak to teachers and so, after the session, I made my way to the Teachers’ Space at the ‘Summit’ venue.
Despite some dedicated searching on my part, I was unable to find any practising teachers, but I did meet some members of different governments and the institutional donor community. One person shared some information about one of the high-level government representatives whose team (some of whom were teachers) were refused visas to attend the Pre-Summit.
How can we effectively champion change without enabling mobility amongst teachers? How can we transform teachers without allowing them to make their voices heard at such an important event?
While I was disappointed not to meet or hear more teachers, I am proud that The Commonwealth Education Trust is doing its part. We are committed to amplifying their voices and ensuring their visibility through our virtual workshops, Teach2030 Ambassador Programme, and social media platforms.