As of February 2018, United Nations estimates the current world population to be 7.6 billion growing in the region of 1.09% per year. Regionally, it is estimated that Asia has a population world share of 59.7% followed by Africa with 16.6%, Europe with 9.8% and Latin America and the Caribbean with 8.6%. Nigeria, Ethiopia and the District Republic of Congo are respectively the 7th, 12th and 16th largest countries in the world by population with China being first, India second and the U.S.A third.
UNESCO estimate that there are 64 million primary and secondary teachers globally, of which 31 million deliver primary education and 33 million deliver secondary education. Many more deliver further and higher education in addition to these. In 2016, it was reported that 19.6 million primary and secondary teachers needed to be hired in Africa and of that, 17 million in Sub-Saharan Africa to meet the needs of the rising population and Sustainable Development Goal 4.
When you consider that compulsory education in some parts of the world can be for as long as 13 or 14 years, teachers account for a significant amount of foundational influencing.
Last week we began to look at the issue of inclusion in our series on education curriculum and what the IBE-UNESCO document, Reaching Out To All Learners: A Resource Pack For Supporting Inclusive Education, had to say.
Teachers, as we know, play a fundamental part in a child’s learning experience. So, what suggestions have been made re their preparation for the delivery of an inclusive curriculum, what might general training include?
The document suggests that within a holistic culture where “positive attitudes towards learner diversity and an understanding of inclusive practices, developed through both initial training and ongoing processes of professional development”, the generic curriculum might include ‘advice’ on six key areas. 1. Being able to assess the progress that students are making, 2. The ability to use assessment outcomes for planning learning for individual and group learning, 3. The ability to ‘observe students in learning situations’, 4. The ability to relate observed behaviours to ‘normal patterns of development’, 5. Involving parents and pupils in the assessment process, 6. Working with other professionals.
There is a clear acknowledgement that specialist teachers, required to support pupils who are deemed to be ‘below the expected level of education’ or experiencing challenges accessing their learning, will receive more in-depth training. Although it is the decision of the country itself to decide who these specialists might be, as with the setting of the inclusive curriculum, they may include health workers and educational psychologists.
The document proposes that an emergingly inclusive education system may possess certain characteristics; high quality support for vulnerable learners, any person involved in education works within a cohesive framework of policies and practices, resources benefit vulnerable learners and finally, specialist provision has a clear role.
In the introduction to continuous professional development of teachers it says, “For all countries, teachers are the most costly – and potentially most powerful – resource that are deployed in the education system. Therefore, the development of the teaching force is crucial, especially in countries where material resources are relatively scarce.” A powerful statement.
It’s difficult to put a price on releasing a young person’s or individual’s potential. Let’s hope that the educators responsible for teaching within our nations are truly valued and supported to be the best that they can be too.
We would like to hear from you. What are teachers are being taught about delivering inclusive education where you are? Let us know.
Shepperson & Shepperson Consultants Ltd
Source: Lesley Shepperson / Zongonews.com / firstname.lastname@example.org