3.5.3 School infrastructure

School infrastructure is a major factor in educational outcomes and teacher satisfaction, motivation and social status. Poor, inadequately maintained school infrastructure and furniture hinders learning and sends negative messages about the value of teachers and education (UNESCO, 2014a; VSO, 2002 and 2008). Teachers should have access to staff rooms or dedicated spaces where they can undertake non-instructional professional tasks, consult with colleagues, and so on. Teachers’ employers have a duty of care to ensure that school buildings are safe and functional for effective teaching and learning and extra-curricular activities, in cooperation with teachers and their representatives. Teachers and other school staff should be consulted on school design and construction.

Schools should meet established sanitary standards. They should have a clean, safe water source and sanitation facilities that are adequate in quality and quantity, including separate, safe toilets for male and female students and male and female teachers, with nearby hand-washing facilities.

Since the school infrastructure necessarily affects the wellbeing and effective development of pupils, teachers and other school employees, it is a matter for wider education policy. However, a teacher policy may set out the principles of teacher consultation in school design and maintenance issues, as well as a safe, hygienic, functional working environment for teachers (see also Section 3.9 on school governance and Section 3.10 on the school environment).

3.5.2 Class size and pupil-teacher ratios (PTRs)

3.5.4 Availability and quality of teaching and learning materials