India will chair the E-9 group later this month when it hosts the Ninth E-9 Ministerial Review Meeting on “Inclusive, relevant quality Education for All” identified as the theme for the two coming years.

The meeting assumes importance as shortage of teachers has been identified as a major challenge in the successful implementation of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. With the government focussing on universalisation of secondary education and the Right to Education act (RTE) that came into force in April 2010, the emphasise in India is more on both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the teacher deficit, Amarjit Singh, Joint Secretary, Human Resource Development Ministry told The Hindu.

The International Task Force on Teachers for Education for All in collaboration with UNESCO will also organise a conference on Teachers for Education for All. The event will start with the meeting of the International Task Force on “Teachers for Education for All” – to be held for the first time in India—followed by a two day conference on, “Teachers for Education for All” in India and the E-9 meeting.

The E-9 Initiative, a consortium of the nine most populous countries of the South was put in place in 1993, following the World Conference on EFA in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990. “E” stands for education and “9” for those nine countries which are home to over half of the world's population as well as to almost half of the world's out of school children and two thirds of the world's illiterates. These are Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan.

The E-9 countries identify an EFA-related theme and focus on it during a two-year period. Measures to strengthen cooperation with regard to the identified theme and ways to extend support to other countries of the South are discussed at the biennial E-9 Ministerial Review Meetings and expert meetings hosted by the country that holds the chair for the two-year period.

To this end, the meeting of the E-9 focussing on teacher training for inclusive quality will serve as propitious occasion to develop an outline for an action plan that will contribute to the broader thematic of Inclusive Relevant Quality Education in the E-9 countries.

To this end, the issues that will be deliberated upon during the E-9 conference are qualifications for teachers to deliver inclusive quality education, harmonisation of competency standards which take account of diverse socio-cultural realities and integration of the inclusive quality education perspective in teacher competency assessment systems.

To discuss challenges

The meeting will discuss challenges and opportunities to address the issue of inclusive relevant quality education in pre-service and continuous professional development programmes, integrating excluded groups within the teacher force, and pedagogical considerations for the effective delivery of inclusive quality education.

The International Task Force on ‘Teachers for Education for All” will focus on “Teacher Training for Inclusive Quality Education” with focus on teacher education, whole-school approach, and financing for the inclusion of teachers training for quality inclusive education.

The participants will draft an action plan, including a monitoring mechanism, for E9 countries with regard to teacher training, provide a framework for increased cooperation among the E9 countries with regard to teacher training for inclusive quality education and identify key areas that need to be addressed within the realm of teacher education and training with regard to inclusive quality education.

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