2.1.2 Aligning teacher policy with education policy

Coordinating a teacher policy with a country’s education policy or plan is particularly crucial to its success. A teacher policy that is well integrated within a wider education sector plan will be guided by the same overall vision, in addition to sharing its other essential characteristics: strategic, holistic, feasible, sustainable, and context-sensitive (Global Partnership for Education/GPE, 2014; International Institute for Educational Planning – IIEP and GPE, 2012: 7). The GPE has produced a guide for education sector analysis (GPE, 2014) that provides a useful framework and tool to link teacher policy development to overall education planning. In particular, the GPE guide outlines an approach for linking teacher quantity and quality issues to improving education quality. A comprehensive teacher policy should address the overall objectives and major challenges as set out in the education policy/plan, the funding required to achieve these objectives, the demographic parameters of the learner population and the human resources required to achieve universally accessible quality education.

This Guide is based on the concept that a single, holistic policy is preferable to a less comprehensive policy, or to several documents that address only one or a few of the major dimensions defining good teacher and learning conditions, thereby suffering from a lack of coherence. If developed and implemented in harmony with the overall education sector policy, a teacher policy should not result in greater policy fragmentation. It does not, however, need to be a completely new policy document, and it may unify more piecemeal approaches to important dimensions. The country-specific existing and future education sector and related policies presented below – relative to HIV and AIDS, gender, etc. – will also guide the choice of a single policy document or of another approach at the national level.

As things now stand, most education sector plans create more fragmentation and less coherence; they address teacher policy dimensions only partially and do not systematically include all the major determinants of learning success linked to teachers, i.e. recruitment; initial education; balanced deployment; continual professional development; decent salaries; career prospects; and working (teaching/ learning) conditions (see Hunt, 2013, for a review of 40 national education plans related to teaching and learning; UNESCO, 2014a: 22). Ghana provides an example of a sector plan featuring some broadly defined strategies covering many teacher policy dimensions (Box 2.1). However, certain important elements of a comprehensive policy (see Chapter 3)  are missing that would encourage greater teacher motivation and professionalism (as described in Section 2.2).

2.1.1 Why a national teacher policy? Planning and coordination

Aligning teacher policy with education policy continued