Chapter 1: Background


At the World Education Forum in Incheon (Republic of Korea) in May 2015, the global education community, under the leadership of UNESCO, framed the priorities for a common education agenda within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years. Participants in the Forum pushed for the Education SDG (SDG 4), aiming to

'Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and [to] promote life-long learning opportunities for all'.

To achieve this goal, the participants unanimously acknowledged the important roles of teachers and teaching for effective learning at all levels of education. That is why they committed to

'ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited,well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems'

The provision of such a teaching force on a sustainable basis within educational systems cannot be done without context-responsive, evidence-based teacher policies and regulations that are elaborated with the full participation of all relevant stakeholders.

Drawing on lessons learnt since its establishment in Oslo (Norway) in 2008, through its policy dialogue fora and the review of prevailing trends in teacher policies and practices, the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 has pulled together its resources to proactively develop the present Teacher Policy Development Guide. The objective is to support the realization of the teacher target in the SDGs and Education 2030 by putting at the disposal of Member States and partners a tool that will facilitate the development or the review of national teacher policies.

The abridged version of the Teacher Policy Development Guide was published in seven languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish) in 2015. Lessons learnt from its use in some countries have called for the need to publish this revised full version, including data, case studies and other illustrations that future users will find relevant. Available in English and French as an interactive tool to be adapted to country contexts and to the needs of users, this version will be a key instrument for the implementation of the Teacher Task Force’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, which aims to strengthen teachers and the teaching profession through, among others, the development of holistic national teacher policies.

The Guide includes five key sections: Chapter 1 presents the purposes, rationale, scope and intended audience of the Guide; Chapter 2 explains the need for framing the teacher policy within a sector plan and national development priorities; Chapter 3 examines the most important dimensions for a teacher policy, and their correlations; Chapter 4 describes the phases in the process of developing a teacher policy; and chapter 5 outlines the steps and issues to address when implementing the national teacher policy.

We call on governments intending to use the Guide to develop a national teacher policy to take participatory and inclusive approaches, especially to involve teachers and their representative organisations in the process.

We express our appreciations and thanks to the authors and all those who have contributed to the production of this valuable tool.