World Bank and UNESCO with TPD@Scale Coalition organized a symposium focused on teacher professional development in Central Asia

Jointly led by the World Bank and UNESCO and in partnership with the TPD@Scale Coalition, the Symposium entitled “Skilled Teachers-Skilled Nation” was held online on October 13, 2021, for senior education officials and policymakers from Central Asia. The symposium’s goal was to highlight the critical role of teachers in education quality and equity through knowledge and experience sharing by country-level education ministers and international experts and leaders. The ministers shared their country’s experiences and insights of attracting, building capacity, and retaining the best talents for the teaching profession. Reflections from international experts and leaders also contributed to the panel discussions by sharing their expertise on matters surrounding teacher professional development.

In light of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4) for 2030, which is focused on quality and equitable education, and the learning losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now more than ever that focus should be given on building the capacity and developing the skills of teachers.  The event was opened by Ms. Krista Pikkat, Director of UNESCO Central Asian Cluster Office, and Mr. Jaime Saavedra, Education Global Director, World Bank Group, and former Education Minister of Peru. Both have emphasized the importance of systematically supporting teachers. World Bank’s Mr Saavedra emphasized that “teachers are really at the heart of education” and that investments should be made in “making teaching a socially-valued career”. Next, leaders of the Ministry of Education of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan discussed the national visions, policies, and programs that are geared towards transforming teaching into a progressive and exciting career. A consensus was made regarding programs focused on teacher recruitment and retention, teacher professional development, and performance-related human resource policies.

For the panel discussion, the TPD@Scale Coalition was represented by Prof. Cher Ping Lim, Chair Professor of Learning Technologies and Innovation at The Education University of Hong Kong. Prof. Lim’s discussion was focused on the principles of quality, equity and efficiency of teacher professional development (TPD). He emphasized the importance of TPD being continuous and not one-off. This can be achieved, according to Prof. Lim, by developing a cost-effective TPD@Scale program that could be localized and integrated within existing systems, practices, and professional learning communities. He also highlighted the need to match technology choices with professional learning situations and needs. Finally, Prof. Lim mentioned that TPD programs will be effective and can be delivered at scale when programs work closely with stakeholders, multi-sectoral partners, and communities to develop a shared vision and capacity in enacting continuous improvement cycles: “act, evaluate, and improve”. In the panel discussion, Prof. Lim was joined by Mr. Duishon Alievich Shamatov, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Education, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan; Mr. Ivo Ferreira Gomes, Mayor of Sobral, Ceara, Brazil; Ms. Lin Goodwin, Dean and Professor of Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong; and Mr. Zhang Minxuan, Professor and Former President at Shanghai Normal University, and Director of the UNESCO Teacher Education Center.

The 2-hour symposium was closed by Dr. Harry Patrinos, Practice Manager for the Europe and Central Asia region of the World Bank’s education global practice. Dr. Patrinos thanked all panel discussants and participants for their engagement in the symposium and reassured the World Bank’s support for TPD@Scale in Central Asia.

Watch the event recording here.