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3. Planning and managing teachers of refugees in Ethiopia: preliminary research results

Thu, April 18, 10:00 to 11:30am, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Bay (Level 1), Seacliff A


This presentation will present preliminary findings of ongoing research in Ethiopia and Jordan that IIEP UNESCO has undertaken in collaboration with Education Development Trust, UNICEF Ethiopia, Education Cannot Wait, and Open Society Foundations. This research seeks to identify promising policy solutions to addressing the need for quality teachers of refugees within increasingly integrated education systems.

Research shows that the quality of teachers and teaching are the most important of the factors in student outcomes which are open to policy influence (OECD, 2010). This is especially the case in situations of protracted emergencies, where teachers are frequently the only resource available to students (World Bank, 2010). In refugee contexts, teaching is carried out by a mix of national and refugee teachers, some qualified, some not, whose levels of training and experience vary greatly. Refugee children and schools are in dire need of good teachers. For a variety of reasons, from global teacher shortages to the complex challenges of refugee contexts, the children in these schools are not receiving a quality education. As the number emergencies, protracted crises, and refugee populations continues to grow, so does the need to develop an evidence base as a guide to support a quality teaching force for refugees, for governments and their partners who are developing policies.

Globally, a significant population of out-of-school refugee children require teachers to access quality education. Only half of the refugee children in the world are in primary school and one-quarter are in secondary (UNHCR, 2016a). Furthermore, a recent UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) study estimates that, globally, countries must recruit a total of 68.8 million teachers: 24.4 million primary school teachers and 44.4 million secondary school teachers by 2030, in order to provide access to quality education and to keep pupil-teacher ratios at or below 40:1 (UIS, 2016). There are two problems to overcome: an increasing number of refugee children in need of quality education and a global shortage of teachers.

This study seeks to analyse how this policy environment aiming to foster refugees’ self-reliance is enacted in the area of teacher management. However, there is limited data on how teachers of refugees are managed in Ethiopia and Jordan, and few available reports that address the policies and practices in place for them. One of the only empirical studies on these teachers, conducted by Ring and West (2015), was both small in scope and was initiated over five years ago (June 2013). As such, more research is needed, both on the policies guiding teachers of refugees, as well as on the experiences of teachers working in refugee schools. More importantly, it is essential to understand what impact, if any, the many recent policy changes have had on teachers of refugees in Ethiopia and Jordan.


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