National Policy Development to Professionalize the Teaching Force

Building from the 2016 UNESCO Education Policy Review and with expert technical contributions from UNESCO IIEP, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis (GOSKN) Ministry of Education recently launch the 2017-2021 Education Sector Plan (ESP) under the theme: Education for All: Embracing Change, Securing the Future. The ESP responds to the development priorities outlined in a number of national policy and strategy documents (e.g. 2012-2017 National Social Protection Strategy and 2013 TVET Policy) and demonstrates the Federation’s commitment to meeting the global mandate for education put forth in the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 for 2030, which states that all countries should ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. The plan is guided by three (3) over-arching policy goals:

(1) increasing equitable access and participation

(2) strengthening sector quality and relevance to improve learning outcomes

(3) enhancing sector efficiency and effectiveness through improved governance

Obstacles to quality education as captured in the 2016 UNESCO Education Sector Policy Review and 2017 ESP highlighted, among other constraints, the significant issue of teacher supply, development, and management. Such obstacles include, inter alia:

. The need for more trained and academically qualified staff at all levels;

. The distribution of qualified staff between schools is not systemically monitored;

. There is high turnover of teachers as the profession is seen as a “stepping stone” for many;

. The quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of teacher training is not monitored and evaluated;

. The teacher performance management and appraisal system is not functioning effectively and;

. There is no framework for continuous professional development or a structured career path

In short, these constraints have hampered the institutionalized of a professional teaching service. Moreover, the need to professionalize the teaching service is core to achieving all three (3) policy goals.