If we truly want to re-imagine the role education can play in the decades to come, it is going to be indispensable to take drastic measures to elevate the role of teachers. They are the key agents for enabling the journey of growth and transformation and yet teachers are too often neglected and overlooked. Yet, the gap between private education and the public school system is not closing but rather getting bigger and bigger. At the same time, achieving better educational outcomes must be accompanied by a strong drive to embed a sense of civic engagement among the students.
Teachers should be the ones who are able to bring in the tools that allow a student to grow with a positive desire to do better at a personal level but also for the enhancement of the society, creating the conditions for a quality learning that is not self-centered but rather aimed at the public good. Therefore, all stakeholders involved in the educational sector have to reckon on how it will be possible to raise the profile of local teachers, creating the conditions for them to act as true agents of change. What is required is tailored plans to transform the teaching profession locally.
Let’s not forget that we are talking about individuals who often have no other options in life than starting a teaching career and often who do not have neither the qualifications nor enthusiasm or passion for the job. We need to focus at micro level and imagine new pathways for those teachers who are really passionate about their jobs, to obtain the indispensable tools they need to step up in their jobs, and help their students to holistically and unselfishly succeed in life.
For the many that are hanging around without love or a commitment for their job, it is inevitable that the government must muster the courage and the resources for them to slowly transition out of their profession, a proposition that, considering the already high level of unemployment, is neither easy nor politically convenient. Yet, if we truly want to rethink the way education works for the most vulnerable children, we really need to sketch out new paths for making teaching one of the most attractive professions.
We need to truly create an enabling framework for young graduates to embrace teaching for the long term, allowing them to make a precise choice in picking a career as a teacher. Why not then provide the resources, especially technical, to create national and local academies for building the teaching profession of tomorrow? Imagine centers for learning, where the best teachers and the best principals from all schools, can enhance their skills and knowledge throughout a holistic pathway of professional and personal growth.
An inclusive quality education capable of building the skills for the 21st century can be realised only if all work together to innovate in the field of educational leadership. They need to find new ways to award the best local teachers and while helping those in the profession but disengaged and disinterested to find their own vocation. Let’s not forget that truly transforming education requires big and bold national plans but also a unique focus at micro level, working alongside those teachers who believe in their professions.