NLU’s Professor James O’Meara, Ed.D., recently spoke on education in London at the House of Lords, which forms part of the United Kingdom’s Parliament. O’Meara, who is president of the International Council on Education for Teaching, stressed the need to increase the numbers of quality teachers to end the current worldwide shortage.
He was taking part in a high-level international education summit aimed at improving the lives of young people globally through education.
Teachers, researchers, academics and policy makers from around the world attended the conference, titled the Teacher Education Knowledge Mobilisation Summit.
The United Nations has developed Sustainable Development goals for the planet, and goal number four is to ensure inclusive quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. They assigned the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to carry out the goal, and UNESCO subsequently formed the 2030 Framework for Action to do so.
Those at the conference were trying to explore practical, cost-effective ways to grow the number of teachers and increase the quality and accessibility of learning worldwide.
As one of the few speakers actively involved in developing aspects of the new global education goal, O’Meara asked the audience how they are working to advance the global education goal of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all in their countries.
O’Meara and ICET strongly advocate for qualified teachers so that learners of all ages have access to learning opportunities. O’Meara drew on examples from the United States, where a half a million teachers either move or leave the profession annually, to highlight the significant effect of attrition. That dramatizes the gap, he said, between the number of qualified teachers we have and the number of qualified teachers we need to ensure quality learning for all.
“Teacher retention figures could improve if we increased the percentage of teachers who actively engaged in quality professional learning opportunities annually,” he said.
“Additionally, it would elevate the status of the profession, improve retention figures among early-career teachers and ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for learners of all ages.”
Professor Angela McFarlane, chief executive of the College of Teachers (the United Kingdom’s institute for continuing professional development and promoting the teaching profession) and her board extended an invitation to O’Meara to join the College’s advisory board. O’Meara is the first international adviser to receive such an invitation.
O’Meara plans to attend the second Knowledge Mobilisation Summit, planned for 2017.