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“Achieving Education 2030 Agenda with Quality Educators”

"The remarkable feature of the evidence is that the biggest effects on student learning occur  when teachers become learners of their own teaching, and when students become their own  teachers.” (Quoted from John Hattie, 2009, p. 22)

The newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include Goal 4 on Education, which announced World Leaders’ commitment to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and [to] promote life-long learning opportunities for all” . Clearly, as far as education is concerned, the global focus is shifting from access to education towards establishing a multidimensional notion of quality education for all.

Education decision-makers around the world are currently facing the challenges of incorporating this new and crucial notion in the formulation of national educational policies. Significant advances have been made to increase access to education, but this has not been on par with the quality of education provided. To revert the trend it is essential to take bold measures to support educators in delivering effective and quality teaching that will enhance learners’ knowledge, skills, values and attitudes. Placing quality educators at the heart of an inclusive and equitable education system is the sine qua non condition for realizing the SDGs. The Global Education Community during the World Education Forum (WEF) held in Incheon (Korea) in May 2015 unanimously acknowledged this fact. That’s why the Incheon Declaration and the related Education 2030 agenda and Framework for Action forcefully call for national leaders to “ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems”.

Yet there is much to be done to ensure that issues of quality education are well articulated as top priority in policies, budgeting and practices, both at national and global levels. The 2014 EFA Global Monitoring Report (GMR) made a thorough diagnostic review and concluded that if we want to achieve “Quality for All” in education, it is vital to prioritize educators and their professional development. The GMR therefore recommended: “Policymakers need to give teachers every chance to put their motivation, energy, knowledge and skills to work in improving learning for all.”

As complex as quality may be to define, it is possible to devise policies aimed at providing educators with adequate and relevant training before and throughout their careers, while equipping educators with the aptitudes to implement innovative curricula for diverse learner populations, and improving governance at all levels.

Excellence in education and quality educators are integrally related and constitute the core foundation on which educational systems can be built. Policies and pedagogic approaches alike are concerned. Quality educators should contribute to imparting “21st century skills” to provide all students with the means and ability to develop sustainable livelihoods which can contribute and lead to the creation of peaceful and democratic societies.

Highlighting the key role that educators play in the children’s education, Irina Bokova, Director- General of UNESCO noted at the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) in September 2012: “We need a New Deal for teachers […] we must put teachers first - they are the backbone of our society.” At the World Education Forum, May 2015, in Incheon, Korea, she added that “[We are taking] a huge step forward. [We are determined] to ensure that all children and young people gain the knowledge and skills they need to live in dignity, to reach their potential and contribute to their societies as responsible global citizens.”

Research has confirmed this, as illustrated in the statement in the McKinsey Report (2007): “the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers” and the OECD’s publication: "Teachers Matter" that emphasizes educators training as a crucial element in the chain of educational professionalization processes.

The value of continuous preparation and professional development for teachers must be reaffirmed as a way to ensure quality, with active participation of teachers, learners, youth or adults, male or female, communities and decision-makers.
The key question confronting all those concerned with improving the quality of educators’ professionalism in an inclusive policy is how to integrate various dimensions of quality education, such as curriculum, innovation, instruction materials, school atmosphere, educational entrepreneurship and attitudes towards education, to improve teaching and learning. 

The Second High-Level Conference organized within the framework of cooperation between MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, and the International Teacher Taskforce aimed to contribute to addressing this question. Organizers have chosen the theme: “Achieving Education 2030 Agenda with Quality Educators”. Topics to discuss at the Conference and sight visits organized for participants are related to the following.

- In-service training and continuous professional development of teachers at all levels of education as part of policy reforms
- Educational Innovation and Educational Entrepreneurship as quality developing tools for policy implementations
-Theory and practice in Innovative pedagogical tools for quality education and educators

The Conference presented and shared Israel’s best practices and experiences in formulating and implementing sophisticated and balanced policies designed in pursuit of quality education and quality educators. It showcased practical steps and significant conceptual and contextual programs for tackling the issue, with an emphasis on applying a holistic approach and the implementation of changes through ongoing support for educators’ professional training. It also gave the opportunity to participants to share their experience, best practices and policies and provide a platform for high-level interactive discussions.

Presentations and discussions in plenary sessions, workshops and professional sight-visits will form the substance of the conference. The aim was to further explore models which can assist in the design and implementation of policy for systems to provide effective teaching and learning for children.