Teachers and Other Education Personnel

Teachers and Other Education Personnel

Introduction

Review the Standards and Key Actions in the Teachers and Other Education Personnel Domain.

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Think about these Standards and Key Actions as you answer the questions in this section.

Teachers and Other Education Personnel Standard 1: Recruitment and Selection

A sufficient number of appropriately qualified teachers and other education personnel are recruited through a participatory and transparent process, based on selection criteria reflecting diversity and equity.

Key actions (to be read in conjunction with the guidance notes)

  • Clear, appropriate, non-discriminatory job descriptions and guidelines are developed before the recruitment process (see guidance note 1).
  • A representative selection committee selects teachers and other education personnel based on transparent criteria and an assessment of competencies, taking into account community acceptance, gender and diversity (see guidance notes 2-4).
  • The number of teachers and other education personnel recruited and deployed is sufficient to avoid over-sized classes (see guidance note 5).

Teachers and Other Education Personnel Standard 2: Conditions of Work

Teachers and other education personnel have clearly defined conditions of work and are appropriately compensated.

Key actions (to be read in conjunction with the guidance notes)

  • Compensation systems and conditions of work are coordinated among all relevant stakeholders (see guidance notes 1-2).
  • Compensation and conditions of work are described in contracts, and compensation is provided regularly (see guidance note 2).
  • Teachers and other education personnel are allowed to organise to negotiate terms and conditions.
  • A code of conduct, which includes clear implementation guidelines, exists and is well respected (see guidance note 3).

Teachers and Other Education Personnel Standard 3: Support and Supervision

Support and supervision mechanisms for teachers and other education personnel function effectively.

Key actions (to be read in conjunction with the guidance notes)

  • Adequate teaching and learning materials and space are available (see guidance note 1).
  • Teachers and other education personnel are involved in professional development that contributes to their motivation and support (see guidance notes 2-3).
  • A transparent, accountable supervisory mechanism provides for regular assessment, monitoring and support for teachers and other education personnel (see guidance notes 2-3).
  • Performance appraisals for teachers and other education personnel are conducted, documented and discussed regularly (see guidance note 4).
  • Students regularly have the opportunity to provide feedback on the performance of teachers and other education personnel (see guidance note 5).
  • Appropriate, accessible and practical psychosocial support is available to teachers and other education personnel (see guidance note 6).

Question 1

Which of the following teacher to student ratios are acceptable for classrooms in the refugee camps? Select all that apply.

Answer: B, C

The smaller the teacher to student ratio, the greater personal attention each student will receive and the easier it will be for teachers to use participatory and child-centred teaching methods. While the ideal teacher to student ratio is context-specific and may be roughly 1:30, in most emergencies and in many stable, peaceful developing countries, this ratio is not possible due to limited resources and the large number of students. Good practices indicate that a teacher to student ratio of 1:50 should be the maximum.

Child-centred Teaching and Learning

Child-centred Teaching and Learning: Child-centred Teaching and Learning includes relevant, specific and measurable learning outcomes based on students' needs and assets and the use of active and participatory learning and assessment methods that mimic situations students might face in real life. In schools, it is referred to as child-centred learning—the instruction and learning processes that are designed around the experiences, skills, knowledge and interests of the children.

In the case of the Chadian refugee camps, the teacher to student ratio ranged from 1:20 to over 1:100. For example, in Djabal and Goz Amer refugee camps, an average teacher to student ratio was 1:85 and 1:93. When it is not possible to have smaller teacher to student ratios, other techniques could be used. For example, assistant teachers or facilitators could support the teacher. Oftentimes, these are young adults with few years of education themselves. Classes could be conducted in double shifts with morning and afternoon sessions.

It is difficult to achieve a change in teacher to student ratios in an emergency, but in the longer-term process, efforts could be made to set acceptable teacher to student ratios in government education policies. Efforts should also be made to ensure the appropriate teacher to student ratio is implemented by practitioners (e.g., teachers, local government, NGOs). Organisations can start this process after the acute emergency phase has passed by working with Ministries of Education to review their teacher recruitment policies, their budgets and policies.

Additional Resources

  1. Kenyi, Stella, "Sobering Statistics from the Darfuri Refugee Camps", Darfur Dream Team, July 2009.
  2. INEE Guidance Notes on Teaching and Learning

Question 2

Considering the information provided below about the refugees, what characteristics would you look for when recruiting teachers?

The Darfuri refugees come from various ethnic groups and speak various mother tongues. Many also speak Arabic and those that went to school had the opportunity to learn some English. Within each camp, there are people from multiple ethnic groups. Most of the refugees are Muslims. While many girls may not have gone to school in Darfur, there are greater opportunities in Chad for refugee girls to go to school and enrolment ratio of boys and girls has been close to 1:1. However, girls more often miss classes and drop out.

According to the Women's Refugee Commission report "Don't Forget Us": The Education and Gender-Based Violence Protection Needs of Adolescent Girls from Darfur in Chad there is also gender imbalance among teachers in the camps mostly due to societal stereotypes of men and women. Most primary school teachers are male while most early childhood development teachers and facilitators are female.

A teach using a blackboard

© August 12, 2007 / UNHCR / H. Caux

Feedback

In the teacher recruitment and selection process, it would be important to involve the community and to hire teachers from within the community. These teachers can best understand the children's experiences, needs and culture.

Among the refugee community, it is important to have greater gender balance between male and female teachers. In particular, it is important to hire some male teachers/facilitators for early childhood development because this field is dominated by women. More female teachers for primary schools should also be hired because men dominate this field. Achieving gender balance for early childhood development and primary school would be difficult, but if greater emphasis was placed on this during the recruitment process, this could happen. Obstacles for female teachers may include their household and child care duties or fewer years of education than their male counterparts.

However, women bring something very important, especially for girls, and recruitment of female teachers and other educational personnel should be given greater attention during the recruitment process. Female teachers can serve as role models for girls and can better understand girls' needs and challenges. Girls may feel more comfortable going to a female teacher for psychosocial support than to a male teacher.

As the refugees are from various ethnic groups, it would also be important to consider the ethnic make-up of each camp and hire teachers that speak the main ethnic languages. This is important for children who only speak their mother tongue. Most of the refugees are also Muslim so it would be appropriate to have majority Muslim teachers.

Additional Resources

  1. INEE Toolkit, Minimum Standards Implementation Tools for Teachers and Other Educational Personnel.

Question 3

According to the information and the video clip, there are many issues of compensation that are de-motivating teachers in the Chadian refugee camps. What are some strategies that could alleviate this problem?

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Transcript

Don't Forget Us: The Education and Gender-Based Violence Protection Needs of Adolescent Girls from Darfur in Chad

"Refugees who were teachers, school inspectors and heads of schools in Darfur took the same positions in the refugee camps in Chad. In many cases, it was the teachers and school officials in the camp who initially established the educational structure. Women's Commission staff spoke with many teachers who were deeply committed to education in the camps and will continue to teach. However, a variety of challenges exist.

Teachers were deeply concerned about the lack of supplies, curriculum guides, furniture, tents, semi-permanent structures and class sizes. But perhaps the most important issues for teachers personally were the "incentives" provided by UNHCR. All NGOs and UN organizations agreed early in 2005 that a set rate should be developed for incentives. Heads of schools would receive 20,000 Chadian francs (CFA francs) (US$37) per month, teachers would be paid 15,000 CFA francs and unskilled school workers would get 10,000 CFA francs. The Women's Commission was told that some teachers were leaving to earn more money collecting firewood or doing other work that paid more. Teachers' pay in Chad is 25,000 CFA francs per month.

NGO and UN representatives had different opinions on incentives. Some felt that teachers should be teaching without payment because "they love what they do" and that it was an expected contribution to the community. Others felt that 15,000 CFA francs was adequate, and still others felt that the incentive should be raised to just below the minimum salary of teachers in Chad. Nearly all teachers in the camps the Women's Commission visited voiced concern about the low level of the incentive.

One camp manager said: "The NGOs (including the UN) need to give a good salary to teachers, but the NGOs say that they give 15,000 CF per month. In Sudan, they made about 500,000 Sudanese dinars [US$200] per month as a starting salary. This [the pay in Chad] is nothing, soap costs more per month. They have not been paid in three months. Teachers leave to find other work. Who will keep teaching?" A staff person at one of the camps said: "Teachers were getting 15,000 CF per month. Security guards were getting 80,000 CF. You can't pay guards 80,000 and teachers 15,000 and expect them to stay." Pre-school teachers do not receive any incentives. The Women's Commission heard reports of pre-school teachers in some camps going on strike to demand pay."

Excerpt from Heninger, Lori and McKenna, Megan, "Don't Forget Us": The Education and Gender-Based Violence Protection Needs of Adolescent Girls from Darfur in Chad, Women's Refugee Commission, July 2005.

Feedback

Good teachers are the foundation of a high quality education for children. It is therefore important to ensure their proper compensation. Compensation for teachers can be in a monetary or non-monetary form. Both types of compensation can motivate teachers and ensure a safe, positive and professional environment in schools and learning spaces because compensation sends the message that teachers' work is valued. If teachers' basic needs are fulfilled and they are happy, they will remain in their positions and do a better job, thereby increasing learning outcomes and educational quality for children.

According to a Women's Commission report, primary school teachers in the Chadian camps were receiving monetary compensation, but teachers felt that compensation was too low. As a result, many teachers were leaving and finding higher paying jobs.

One strategy would thus be to increase their salary so that it is comparable to the salary for Chadian teachers (increase from 15,000 FCFA to 25,000 FCFA). Pre-school/early childhood development teachers/facilitators were not getting paid at all. There could be a salary provision comparable to that of primary school teachers. Lack of compensation for early childhood teachers sends the message that education for young children is not valued. If teachers/facilitators are paid, they will take their job seriously and do higher quality work.

If an increase in salaries is not possible, relevant and useful non-monetary compensation could be provided. In the refugee camps, these could include bars of soap, extra food, meals, firewood and clothes. Additionally, non-monetary compensation could include regular training and support to help them increase their teaching skills, professional certification that is recognised by both the Sudanese and Chadian governments and/or leadership roles and voice in community decision making. Furthermore, some teachers may be happy if they are appreciated and valued and have sufficient teaching and learning materials. Before non-monetary compensation is provided, it would be important to discuss various options with teachers to ensure that the compensation would be relevant and useful for them.

Additional Resources

  1. INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation in Fragile States, Situations of Displacement and Post-Crisis Recovery, March 2009