Global Education Coalition partner, UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC), recently launched a Quality Teaching Framework which outlines factors that determine quality teaching for marginalized, adolescent girls based on practitioner experience from GEC projects.
The Framework focuses on adolescence, a key moment during which marginalised girls may face increased health, social and protection challenges and their education is put at risk.
The Framework is a tool to help practitioners and policymakers working with marginalised girls to think through and adapt their approaches to teacher professional development (TPD). It is intended to serve as a starting point to prompt and guide thinking on the different components of effective TPD, including organisation and delivery, content and support mechanisms.
The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating education inequalities, increasing safety risks for adolescent girls and impacting health and wellbeing. UNESCO estimates that 11 million girls and young women may not return to school and the hardest-to-reach adolescent girls are amongst those most at risk.
With the economic hardships caused by the pandemic, greater value may be placed on a girl’s domestic and economic role as households struggle. Families may require girls to work in small-scale buying and selling, take up care work and home chores or marry early as they make difficult choices about how to meet immediate and urgent needs.
The Quality Teaching Framework is intended for use in many different contexts. While the Framework was developed before the pandemic, the competencies and insights on what makes for quality teaching when working with marginalised children provides guidance that is relevant for education systems around the world.
For example, an increasing number of girls are living in contexts of crisis or conflict. In these contexts, it is more important than ever for a teacher to promote emotional resilience and wellbeing.
Gender-based violence is an everyday reality for many girls and has increased during the pandemic. The ability to ensure safe classrooms is a core teaching competency. These competencies are what GEC projects have highlighted as integral to ensuring quality teaching for the most marginalised girls – which inevitably means better teaching for all.
Throughout the pandemic, GEC projects have witnessed the extraordinary endurance and commitment of teachers. Many teachers went the extra mile and found creative solutions to reach girls and support them while schools are closed. Examples included teaching girls at home or in small groups in their communities; setting up WhatsApp groups to assign tasks and encourage learning; speaking to girls directly by phone; and creating new learning resources for use at home.
This dedication has not only been vital to ensuring the continuity of learning, but also the connectivity, security and well-being of many girls – and, importantly maintaining their identity as a learner.
Teachers’ attitudes and behaviours, curriculum content and the opportunities within schools for participation and leadership can impact adolescent girls’ vision for themselves and their futures.
In the same way that teachers are supporting girls and boys through this challenging time, the Framework is a tool to support and develop teachers’ skills well beyond this pandemic to provide a quality education for every girl.
The Girls’ Education Challenge was launched by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in 2012 as a 12-year commitment to support over a million marginalised girls with access to quality education. Over the last year, all 41 GEC projects, working across 17 countries, have witnessed and responded to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education systems and learning outcomes, particularly on the most marginalised girls.
At the peak of the pandemic, over 1.5 billion learners around the world have seen their education disrupted due to COVID-related school closures. Under UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition, a Gender Flagship was established to safeguard progress made on gender equality and education and promote girls’ and women’s empowerment in and through education.