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Global challenges

September 27, 2016 ATA News Staff
Kindergarten students fill a school room in Damongo, a small town in the west African nation of Ghana, where teachers from the Red Deer-based Tools for Schools Africa program travel each year.

World Teachers’ Day is a day to appreciate teachers and take time to consider the issues they face.

Teachers share common concerns in contrasting contexts

A review of education news reveals that teachers across the globe have many common concerns, but sometimes in very different contexts. Here are a few examples.

China—Teacher autonomy, teacher evaluation

In June, China’s ministry of education introduced a directive suggesting “schools should hold food-saving educational activities and put the students’ daily food-saving behaviour into comprehensive assessments.” It also noted that teachers would be “supervised and examined” on the food-saving measures they roll out in schools and that those measures would “be an important part to evaluate a teacher.” ❚
Source: The Telegraph

India—Class size, assignment of non-teaching duties

More than 100,000 primary and secondary schools in India are run by a single teacher. In these schools, the teacher is responsible for teaching multiple classes on top of performing the duties of administrator, secretary, maintenance worker, food server and nurse. Data on pupil-to-teacher ratios for single-teacher schools is not available, but in primary schools across the country the ratio is reportedly 25:1. The president of the Government Teachers Association, Delhi, stated that some schools report more than 100 students for a single teacher.

Ram Chadra Dabas is the principal of a school in Delhi and the president of the All India Primary Teachers Federation. His list of non-teaching duties includes “housing survey, economic survey, industrial survey, census duty, voter identity card duty” and opening bank accounts for students.

“One can only imagine the conditions in remote areas in the country,” he said. ❚
Source: Hindustan Times


Two lone bicycles populate the “staff parking lot” of a school in Uganda, Africa, where Alberta teachers work each year as part of the Masulita, Uganda, project.


Liberia—Privatization, top-down management, education funding

In March, Liberia’s ministry of education signed a memorandum of agreement with Bridge International Academies (BIA) to deliver education to all Liberian early childhood and primary public schools. The pilot project would take place over five years, with BIA taking over 50 schools to start. Implementation would involve teachers receiving a two-week training program and an e-reader tablet running the BIA suite of operating systems and applications containing all lessons to be taught and a teacher resource library.

In April, Liberian teachers voted in favour of national strike action to protest the government’s decision to enter the partnership with BIA. Reasons for their opposition included the unfeasibility of the plan (it is estimated only two to three per cent of the Liberian population have access to electricity), the unsustainability of the plan (no plan is in place for when the pilot stage is completed) and its violation of Liberia’s Education Reform Act and article six of the Liberian constitution, which provides for equal access to education.

In August, it was reported the BIA pilot went ahead, with a compromise by the government. It started with 23 schools instead of 50. Issues so far? Teachers placed without any consideration of their training or experience, teachers transferred to different towns and cities without relocation compensation, no compensation for extra hours of work required during evenings, and a significant number of teachers trained by BIA wanting to leave the program because of all the issues previously stated and more.

“It will create more harm to our already suffering kids and parents,” said Mary Mulbah, acting president of the NTAL, of the BIA project. ❚
Sources: Front Page Africa, Liberian Observer, allAfrica

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