Middle-tier education professionals in Hyderabad, India.
Education Workforce

Supporting the education workforce

The education workforce puts learning in motion. Learning is driven not only by teachers and educators, but also by other
educational administration staff at central and local levels. IIEP emphasizes the importance of strong teacher management,
recognizing that unless management issues are addressed, overall quality of the education sector will be limited.

Research-informed policy to support teachers in refugee settings

Good teachers can change the lives of young refugees for the better. However, this is only possible with strong teacher management policies to improve the status, competency, and motivation of teachers. In Jordan –where one in every three people is a refugee– IIEP and the Education Development Trust worked with partners to develop policy guidance for the effective management of elementary-level teachers of Syrian and Palestine refugees. In Ethiopia, the project included the production of the documentary “We teach here” to amplify the voices of three teachers working inside refugee camps. Ongoing research in Kenya and Uganda is uncovering promising practices that highlight the importance of working with stakeholders at all levels of the teacher management system, particularly in schools. Overall, the research offers recommendations on how to improve teacher motivation, well-being, retention, and teaching quality through policy guidance on:

Recruitment and deployment

Training and professional development

Job conditions, supervision, appraisal, and career progression

We want to make sure that government, communities, and stakeholders have recognized what the role of the teacher is, their role in terms of building the next generation. Then we support them in any way we can to increase their capacity.”

Improved tools for human resources management

A teacher and her students in a primary school class in Uganda.
A teacher and her students in a primary school class in Uganda.
Adam Jan Figel / Shutterstock

With the expansion of schooling in Africa, teachers are in high demand. To help manage the teacher workforce a number of African Ministries of Education have set up an integrated Human Resources Management System (HRMS) to manage and monitor their deployment. IIEP has rolled out this tool in Burkina Faso to improve the management and regulation of teachers and training of relevant staff. This involved the creation of an HR manual for all processes and procedures, the recruitment of experienced software developers, and the training of trainers, resulting in the training of 96 HR officers throughout the country.

IIEP is also collaborating with the Ministry of Education of Namibia on the design and use of a teacher management and deployment tool. 14 simulation models – one for each national district – are helping set a path towards the establishment of a qualified and sustainable teaching force. The models forecast how many teachers are needed for each region from pre-primary level through to upper secondary school, both now and in the future. In addition to projecting teacher needs by school level, the models identify how many teachers will be required by subject in upper primary and secondary school, while also evaluating the need to upgrade unqualified teachers to ensure a quality teaching force.

Namibia has a unique case of high teacher flight –or turnover. Before these simulation models, it was challenging to plan and manage schools and to meet the pedagogical needs of every region.”

Teacher training for intercultural education in Latin America

Millions of children around the world do not speak the same language at school and at home. While many countries have policies supporting the use of local languages in the classroom, implementing bilingual or multilingual education remains difficult. In Latin America, part of the challenge relates to the lack of training of Indigenous teachers. In a comparative 2021 study, IIEP explored the issue in detail in Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, offering new insights on how to support Indigenous communities and languages and promote intercultural education. Regarding the latter, IIEP also published an analysis of policies designed to support pluri-culturalism and ethnicity throughout the education systems of Latin America with 25 new recommendations.

IIEP’s Online Training Programme on Teacher Policies for Latin American government officials is also undergoing a major redesign to respond to issues related to COVID-19. The new programme –on offer in 2022– will build on IIEP’s long-standing commitment to provide guidance in the region on how to design, monitor, and evaluate large-scale teacher reforms from a human rights perspective.

Until we address the quality of primary education, we will continue to have a shortage of Indigenous teachers.”

Indigenous communities represent at least 45 million people in Latin America

The continent has a large deficit of teachers who speak local languages

Latin America is home to 560 languages

Instructional leaders at the middle tier

Until now, teacher-related research has mainly focused on teachers themselves or school principals, and not the middle tier. To fill this gap, IIEP teamed up with the Education Development Trust to research the potential for middle-tier professionals to act as catalysts for change in local school reforms. While the title of the position may vary –school advisors, pedagogical coaches, or teacher mentors– they all support the development of teachers' pedagogical and professional skills through formative feedback. These professionals also act as an important link between policy and practice and can help bring new ideas into the classroom. Using a qualitative methodology, this research is generating new evidence on good practices and conditions for success in teacher support at the middle tier.

Case studies in India, Jordan, Kenya, Rwanda, Shanghai, and Wales

The middle-tier space serves as a… collaborative platform to which schools and teachers can constantly turn for support… where resistance and tensions are moderated, where the conflicts are negotiated, and where the spirit of change is accepted and internalized.”