2.1.1 Why a national teacher policy? Planning and coordination
There are several important reasons for policy- and decision-makers to formulate and implement a national teacher policy: the importance of education, teachers and teaching; ensuring equitable learning success for all learners; maximizing a country’s investments in education; and guaranteeing sufficient numbers of competent and motivated teachers, particularly in locations where they are most needed (Chapter 1).
These multiple objectives require careful planning and coordination among many different actors. This entails establishing or strengthening coordination mechanisms to address the complex and interrelated factors that affect education and teaching, including: a country or community’s political, economic, social and cultural framework; family considerations; the education and school system; and school-level factors (OECD, 2005: 30). The process of developing and implementing a teacher policy will need to identify and address these interlocking factors that impact on teachers and teaching.
Due in part to their complexity, teacher policies may not rank high on the list of country priorities, given their political and financial costs – particularly if, as the Guide suggests, they are comprehensive. For maximum effectiveness, a teacher policy needs to be applicable to all teachers, in all regions and at all school levels within the scope of this Guide. Too often, policy- and decision-makers eschew or postpone such comprehensive policy changes because of the implementation costs and timeframes (Chapter 5). However, if addressed only partially or not at all, the policies are likely to have limited impact on the challenges (OREALC, 2013: 90). Political will, reflecting the maximum national consensus on the way forward, is therefore a key determinant of the policy process, including its initial framework.