“Working towards solutions for sufficient numbers of appropriately trained and qualified teachers is an urgent imperative of our time if we are to ensure a safe, quality education—and hope for the future—for the rising tide of children affected by conflict and crisis” (Mendenhall et al., 2018).
A competent and skilled teacher is one of the most important inputs in any education system. But in crisis and post-conflict settings, teachers are often in short supply and many are new recruits with minimal experience or education to prepare them for teaching in tough conditions. Those who do have a teaching background or qualification may have to teach content outside of their knowledge area, and may be unprepared to respond to the additional complexities of teaching in a crisis context.
As teachers play a critical role in shaping the future of their students and communities, their role should not be an afterthought, but an integral part of the preparedness and planning phases for education in emergencies and in chronic crises. Teachers, like all professionals, must be carefully recruited and prepared to be teachers, with access to well-planned and well-executed professional development in order to be the best that they can be, especially in times of crisis. In particular, teachers require relevant knowledge and skills, as well as strong school-based support and opportunities for collaboration to respond effectively to the complex needs of learners in crisis contexts.
You can find out more about INEE’s Teachers in Crisis Contexts Collaborative, an inter-agency effort to provide more and better support to teachers in crisis settings, here.
- It is estimated that at least 20,000 additional teachers are needed each year to address the gap for the world’s displaced students (Strecker, 2018).
- Recurring armed conflict in Central African Republic (CAR) since 2003 has led to a situation where in a country of 4.6 million people there are only 9,000 teachers, half of whom are unqualified (Nicolai et al., 2015).
- In Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp, 73% of primary teachers are uncertified (Mendenhall et al., 2018).
- In Lebanon, 55% of teachers have not been trained for the past two years, despite the diverse needs of teachers and learners (UNESCO GEM, 2019).
- In primary schools across refugee settlements in Uganda, the average pupil-teacher ratio is 85:1, reaching 94:1 and 133:1 in certain settlements (UNESCO GEM, 2019)
- In Syria, teacher stipends have dropped on average to 10 percent of the value of pre-crisis salaries (Assistance Coordination Unit, 2017).