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EI Africa Calls for Revitalization of the Teaching Profession in the Region on World Teachers’ Day


Education International Africa (EIA), in collaboration with UNESCO IICBA, the African Union and UNICEF held an event in Abidjan, Cote d’ivoire under the theme ‘The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage’. The event took place on 5th October 2023 to commemorate the World Teachers’ Day. 

Dr. Dennis Sinyolo, Regional Director of EI Africa, delivered a passionate speech calling for the revitalization of the teaching profession in Africa. He stressed the crucial role of teachers in transforming education and shaping the future. He further highlighted how teachers inspire children and young people, instilling in them the desire to learn, protect the planet, solve societal problems, and adapt to new situations.

Despite their immense importance, teachers often face challenges such as undervaluation, low pay, underestimation, and lack of autonomy. Dr. Sinyolo emphasized that excessive control undermines the teaching profession and called for the restoration of educators’ freedom to teach and conduct research without interference. As a research symposium, Dr. Sinyolo pointed out the significance of evidence-based approaches in shaping education policy. He encouraged empowering teachers to engage in research, including action research, to inform and influence educational practices effectively.

Addressing the pressing issue of poor salaries and working conditions, Dr. Sinyolo welcomed the recommendations of the UN’s High-Level Panel on Teachers, released during the recent UN General Assembly. The recommendations, calling for long-term funding and support for well-qualified teachers, aim to address the global teacher shortage and restore the dignity of the teaching profession.

In addition, Dr. Sinyolo applauded the African Union’s (AU) decision to designate 2024 as the year of education. He urged the AU to take bold steps in rebuilding and transforming education in Africa. Specifically, he called for a high-level summit on education financing, where African governments would pledge to increase domestic investment in education and teachers. Dr. Sinyolo also urged the African Union to convene a high-level summit on teachers, focusing on closing the teacher gap and improving the quality and working conditions of teachers. Education International expressed its willingness to co-organize such a conference with the African Union, UNESCO and other stakeholders, he concluded.

Drawing attention to the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA), Dr. Sinyolo proposed a 5-Point Plan for revitalizing the teaching profession in Africa. The plan emphasizes the training and recruitment of qualified teachers, granting professional autonomy to teachers, making teaching an attractive profession through decent salaries and working conditions, involving teachers in policy dialogue through their unions, and investing in education by meeting international financing benchmarks. Highlighting the ongoing “Go Public! Fund Education”campaign, Dr. Sinyolo reaffirmed Education International’s commitment to urging African governments to provide quality public education. He emphasized that investing in education and teachers is an investment in children, young people, and the future of Africa.

In conclusion, Dr. Sinyolo reminded everyone that teachers’ working conditions are directly linked to children’s learning conditions. On this World Teachers’ Day, he urged everyone to take a moment to thank and celebrate the teachers who play a vital role in shaping society. “We are stronger together!” Dr. Sinyolo concluded, emphasizing the collective effort required to revitalize the teaching profession and ensure quality education for all in Africa.