Second meeting of the International Advisory Group (IAG) of the STEPP Project Opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

16 February 2016

The second meeting of the International Advisory Group (IAG) of the Survey of Teachers in Pre-Primary Education (STEPP) project opened today at 9:30 a.m. in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The meeting intends to discuss the conceptual framework of STEPP, and agree on the project activities and timelines.

The three-day event is gathering the IAG individual members and institutional members from UNESCO HQs, IICBA, UIS, UNICEF, OMEP, International Taskforce for Teachers, and Education International. Representatives from pilot countries also participated in the meeting for the first time: Dominican Republic, Ghana, Namibia, Philippines, and Viet Nam, with Togo as an observer country. The meeting expects to create a common understanding among pilot countries and the IAG members about the project, understand the countries’ situations and expectations, review the draft conceptual framework of STEPP, draft country profile template, and define project management structure, activities, and timeline.

Ms. Maki Hayashikawa, Chief of UNESCO Section of Education for Inclusion and Gender Equality Division for Inclusion, Peace and Sustainable Development, gave a remark in the opening session of the meeting, in which she underscored the importance of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). The STEPP project is embedded in the UNESCO work plan of the 2016-2017 biannual, and is given great importance as a flagship. It will directly contribute to the SDG 4, benefiting the groups of children and teachers. Ms. Hayashikawa also expressed appreciation for UNESCO IICBA to host the event.

Benefits of quality ECCE have been shown to be multiple and long-lasting, where teachers/caregivers play a key role. However, many pre-primary teachers are inadequately prepared, poorly paid, and lack recognition. Quality pre-primary teachers are in short supply particularly in disadvantaged areas, while available information is limited on training, conditions, and needs of pre-primary education personnel.

Based on such rationales, the STEPP project intends to promote evidence-informed policies. In its first phase (May 2015 – December 2017), the project aims to develop and pilot a survey instrument to collect policy-relevant information regarding pre-primary education personnel in low- and middle-income countries. The project contributes to the monitoring and implementation of SDG 4.2 on ECCE and SDG Means of Implementation (Mol) 4.c on teachers.

The event is hosted by UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA). IICBA is the only Category 1 institute in Africa that works on education, whose programmes involve technical assistance, training, and research at different levels.