EDT was recently invited to take part in a panel discussion hosted by the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) discussing teacher management in crisis contexts. Our Senior Education Consultant, Helen West, and Senior Research Officer, Donvan Amenya, joined experts from Colombia University, UNHCR, INEE, RISE and the IGAD Regional Program on Education, to share best practice for teachers in challenging settings across Myanmar and East Africa.
The webinar formed part of INEE’s Teachers in Crisis Contexts (TiCC) series which seeks to grow an evidence base around improving and prioritising teacher management policies and practices. We were invited to present as a result of our successful submission to the TICC Case Studies on Supporting Teachers in Crisis Contexts, which was based on our Dubai Cares funded research into teacher management in refugee settings, undertaken in partnership with IIEP-UNESCO.
A central theme of the discussion was the importance of formal recognition and compensation for teachers of refugees who already face unique challenges, such as trauma, language barriers and large, mixed ability classes. As the panellists discussed, appropriate recognition of teachers’ training, skills and efforts can improve teacher practices, wellbeing, retention, and career prospects.
Donvan Amenya started by sharing learnings from our work in Kenya on refugee primary teachers, highlighting the challenges around access to nationally-recognised teaching qualifications. Barriers include physical challenges attending the training colleges due to movement restrictions around the refugee camps and academic challenges, with refugees in camps not always meeting the minimum academic standards. However, he also shared the potential for qualifications to be recognised across borders, taking the example of Somalian refugees gaining teacher qualifications inside Kenyan refugee camps.
Helen also emphasised the importance of formal recognition for teachers, drawing on evidence from our teacher surveys in Kenya which carried feedback on ‘unrecognised’ training sessions.
Meanwhile, Dr Kebede Tsegaye from IGAD used the example of the Djibouti Declaration on Education to highlight how regional teacher training programmes can progressively align pay and conditions, fast-track certification and support continuous professional development. And Crystal White of RISE spoke to the importance of equitable stipend payments for community teacher retention and how RISE were able to bring learning from Afghanistan into their programme in the Myanmar crisis context.
Click here for the full discussion on the INEE website. To find out more about our work on teacher management in refugee settings, check out our research from Ethiopia and Jordan in collaboration with IIEP-UNESCO.
Once [refugee teachers] got their certificates it was not so difficult for them to secure a job with the government or with NGOs in their home countries, so that motivated them to move back to their countries.
Donvan Amenya, Senior Research Officer, Education Development Trust