Teachers’ professional advancement often stunted in Asia-Pacific, new report finds


Samoan teachers celebrating Teachers’ Day

Samoa and Fiji are two Pacific islands included in a UNESCO Bangkok study that finds teachers in the region too often lack clear pathways for career progression and professional development 
BANGKOK, 5 OCTOBER, 2016 – A new UNESCO Bangkok study stresses the need for alternative career pathways and professional development opportunities for teachers that motivate and reward them for staying in the profession.

Teachers in the Asia-Pacific: Career Progression and Professional Development,” released today on the occasion of World Teachers’ Day 2016, offers a series of recommendations that aim to ensure teachers have the professional recognition and development opportunities they need to be effective, as well as to encourage others to enter and remain in the profession.

Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of UNESCO Bangkok, the Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, noted in the report’s foreword that teachers are essential to achieving the global Education 2030 Agenda and as such should be accorded the support and status they deserve.

“We clamour to raise the bar of student achievement, so it is only fitting to do the same for teachers,” Dr Kim wrote. “If we want teachers to meet the education needs of twenty-first century learners, we must support them in their professional development and provide them with career options suited to their areas of expertise.”

The report includes recommendations related to teachers’ career pathways, professional development, career guidance, incentives, promotion, school leadership and gender. Nine countries were studied for the report: Fiji, Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Samoa, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan.

The report’s recommendations include:
– Establishing multiple education career paths that enable excellent teachers to maintain active engagement in the classroom, while allowing them to assume leadership roles directly related to their areas of expertise.
– Accredit professional development providers and courses, and match training programmes to relevant roles, while supporting the development of individual development plans that reflect teachers’ changing needs.
– Enforce clear and transparent guidelines concerning the qualifications, selections and promotion criteria that are relevant to specific roles.
– Provide regular career guidance to teachers and school leaders.
– Provide context appropriate incentives to recognize and reward teachers’ good practices.

This report is a follow-up to the “Teachers in Asia Pacific: Status and Rights” study released in 2015. The new publication provides in-depth insight and analysis regarding one of the 2015 report’s key recommendations: that governments make the necessary changes to improve teachers’ working conditions and ensure they have attractive and clear career pathways to encourage them to stay in the teaching profession and to upgrade their skills in the interests of quality education.