Governing Board Chair’s Report to the 39th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO

IICBA’s Governing Board Chair, Mme. Thokozile Ruzvidzo, presented her report at UNESCO’s General Conference in Paris on the 4th of November 2017, acknowledging IICBA’s growth over the past two years. 

4 November 2017

Governing Board Chair’s Report to the 39th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO

Distinguished Delegates,

It is a great honor and privilege for me to be here as Chair of the IICBA Governing Board.  My name is Thokozile Ruzvidzo. I have served on the IICBA Board as a board member since 2012 and as Chair since this year – 2017.  I have seen IICBA through various phases of its life. 

Over the last two years, IICBA continued to support African Member States driven by the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals, with special focus on the SDG4. As an Africa-based institution, established with a specific mandate of strengthening teacher development in Africa, IICBA also strived to ensure alignment of its interventions with the recently adopted continental policy frameworks, namely the AU Agenda 2063 and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 2016-2025).

The global and continental policy frameworks have represented additional challenges to IICBA’s work.  Under the newly emerging education needs and priorities IICBA has been compelled to expand its scope of work to ensure that teachers are equipped with relevant knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that enable them address the diversity of learning needs in the classroom and at community level. 
In the last two years IICBA has made significant contribution and impact in areas the following araes:

1. Teacher policy development
IICBA developed and published a practical guide on “Teaching policies and learning outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa”, which has been instrumental in supporting ongoing teacher policy formulation at country level. The IICBA’s guide was used in our joint work with UNESCO Regional Offices in Abuja, Dakar, Yaoundé and Harare, to support teacher policy development delivered to Regional Economic Communities countries, ECOWAS, ECCAS and SADC. In addition, through customized country-based support in the context of CapED, IICBA also provided assistance to individual countries, resulting in the development of teacher education policies in Lesotho, Guinea Uganda.

The assistance to Uganda was the most comprehensive as it included the development of: teacher policy, continuing professional development framework, and a framework to institutionalise social dialogue on teacher issues, all of which were approved by the Government.

2. Support to professionalization of the teaching profession
IICBA addressed the professionalization of teaching through two complementary initiatives: the development of a “Teacher Support & Motivation Framework for Africa” – a methodological tool that intends to assist Member States identify and address factors that undermine motivation of teachers; and support to the process of developing professional standards for teachers, activity conducted in partnership with UNESCO Regional Offices for Southern Africa (Harare) and West Africa (Dakar and Abuja).
The process benefited nine countries from the ECOWAS region (Benin, Burkina-Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, The Gambia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo); and 9 from SADC region (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe). This activity is well anchored to the regional economic community plans and needs as identified by ministers of education in SADC and ECOWAS.

3. Prevention to violent extremism and peacebuilding
IICBA started to work in a new area - Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) - to ensure that teachers are equipped with knowledge and skills to tackle this emerging phenomenon. The first ever regional capacity building workshop on PVE was conducted in Addis Ababa by IICBA in partnership with UNESCO Asia-Pacific Center for International Understanding (APCEIU) and benefited 33 participants from 7 countries (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda). This was followed by a second workshop held in Dakar and attended by 50 participants from 10 countries (Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and The Gambia).
Twenty-nine teacher trainers received training on peacebuilding in the context of the “Teacher Capacity Building on Peacebuilding Project” implemented in six countries of the horn of Africa and surrounding countries (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda) funded by the government of Japan. The core team of 29 teacher trainers will reach an estimated number of 6,000 teachers in the six countries, who will ensure the integration of peacebuilding contents in school programs.

4. Gender responsive pedagogy
During the period under consideration, IICBA continued to work with FAWE (Forum for African Women Educationalists) and the AUC CIEFFA (Centre International pour l’Education des Filles et des Femmes en Afrique) for gender-mainstreaming in teacher development and gender responsive pedagogy.  In this regards, IICBA and FAWE are working jointly to review the Gender Responsive Pedagogy toolkit to reflect education emerging and evolving needs, particularly in the context of the SDG4 and CESA 2016-2025.
IICBA also supported inaugural workshop on promoting girls for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  TeachHer project was successfully implemented in Addis Ababa and Nairobi in partnership with CEMASTEA (Centre for Mathematics and Science teachers in Africa).

5. Coordination and assistance to CESA implementation
At continental and regional level IICBA strengthened its collaboration with UNESCO regional and country offices, with the AUC at HQs and at field level through the Regional Economic Communities. Besides, IICBA continued to work in collaborative partnerships with well identified strategic partners involved in teacher education activities on the continent. Important to note is the support provided by Member States which has been instrumental for the implementation of our projects and plans. Working in partnership has contributed to enhance the impact of IICBA’s work.
I am pleased to report that as a result of its continuing engagement in continental activities, IICBA has been nominated by the AUC to coordinate the CESA Teacher Development Cluster. IICBA is keen to play this role, ensuring that the range of teacher development actors in Africa came together to advance SDG and CESA agendas.

6. Partnership building and resource mobilization
IICBA has addressed the limited funds allocated to the institution by enhancing the resource mobilization efforts. This has resulted in additional funds used to expand its ability to implement activities of its core programme. Working with multiple partners has optimized the respective strengths and areas of expertise and helped ease pressure of funding limitations. In many cases, partnerships with other international organizations and contributions in kind from the Member States have ensured the implementation of activities which otherwise could not be.
Despite the effort deployed to mobilize extra-budgetary resources, the funding remains a great challenge for IICBA, especially under the current context where the Sustainable Development Goals have raised additional demands on teachers and teacher education. The need for additional resources to build sustainability through teachers is even acute in Africa. 

7. The way forward
As UNESCO moves towards the end of its Biennium Programme, IICBA has started the reflection that will culminate with the development of its vision through a mid-term strategic plan. It is anticipated that the new strategic plan will ensure alignment of the SDG global framework with the AU policy frameworks that set the key intended transformations and changes in education in the continent.
The Governing Board is committed to keep and strengthen its role, provide policy and strategic direction to the institution so ensuring that IICBA’s activity are structured to align with and meet the SDG4 and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa goals and objectives.

Thank you for your attention.