the Education Workforce Initiative

An education workforce for the future

Through the Education Workforce Initiative, the Commission is working with partners to rethink the education workforce. A new research program will identify innovative ways teachers, support staff, district leaders, and others can equip students with adaptable skills for the 21st century.

A fresh approach

Drawing on concrete examples of how successful education workforce reform and innovation have been implemented across the globe, EWI will bring fresh thinking to the education workforce to ensure the right teams and roles at school and district level – teachers, support personnel, school and district leaders – are in place for inclusive, quality education. It harnesses the latest knowledge to inform the development of new ways to approach workforce design and implementation, including the use of technology.

A global learning crisis

Up to half of the world’s jobs – around two billion – are at risk of disappearing due to automation in the coming decades. At the same time, about 40% of employers globally find it difficult to recruit people with the skills they need. Now more than ever, we need an education workforce that is equipped to teach students 21st-century skills so they are adequately prepared for jobs of the future. Using Traditional models for the education workforce have often been unable to keep up with rapidly changing demands. The world is facing a shortage of prepared teachers, especially in remote regions and conflict zones, and in certain subject areas such as science and mathematics. By 2030, the demand for teachers in low- and lower-middle-income countries is projected to rise by 25%, and in low-income countries it will nearly double. In some countries, more than half of all new graduates would need to become teachers to fill the gap.

Increasing the supply of teachers will not be enough. Teachers need support and professional development to focus on their core job: teaching. Unlike other professions like doctors or architects, teachers don’t often have a support team and in many cases, they are expected to fulfill a wide range of tasks that take them away from teaching and learning.

To be truly effective in helping children learn, teachers should be supported by other professionals who may be better suited to fulfill the many non-teaching roles they are asked to perform. They also need leaders who can coach and mentor them to develop professionally.

The Education Workforce Initiative (EWI) will explore options to professionalize a wider set of roles to lead and support teachers, at both school and district levels.

Researching the education workforce

A High-level Steering Group of international experts, chaired by Commissioner and former South Korean Minister of Education Ju Ho Lee, oversees this initiative. With their guidance, the Commission will publish an Education Workforce Report with concrete policy recommendations in 2019. The report will focus on the following areas in primary and secondary education:

  • Re-envisioning the education workforce to ensure the right roles are in place for inclusive and quality education, generating relevant skills for the 21st Century.
  • Exploring how teachers, support staff, district leaders, and others can ensure that students, especially those in marginalized groups, are prepared for the modern workforce
  • Strengthening the current and future education workforce to improve recruitment, retention, and professional development.
  • Supporting educators so they can fully realize the potential of technology to enable open, adaptive, personalized, and distance learning

EWI will also work with three (to be determined) countries to address their specific workforce challenges and to develop concrete options for reform supported by a fully costed implementation plan.

Just to be crystal clear, we are not suggesting that education support personnel should play the role of teachers, or vice versa, but that these essential categories of education professionals should complement and collaborate with each other in order to ensure maximum use of their skills and support for the students.

Education International values the critical role of education support personnel in contributing to quality education for all and the achievement of SDG 4 on quality education. Of paramount importance is the funding needed to recruit, motivate and retain quality teachers and education support personnel.

Susan Hopgood
President, Education International