The meaning of education for development has been recognized internationally. Developing countries have taken many steps forward in the education of young people, but teachers are the problem for many countries. UN’s Millennium Goal was to hire and train about 1,7 million by 2015 and 5,3 million teachers by 2030. Many fragile countries did not have the resources to do that.
In addition to hiring teachers, they should have more quality training, take care of the hiring of teachers and make sure the working conditions in the classrooms are good as well as find suitable tools and equipment for quality education. The new UN approved sustainability goals from autumn 2015 aim at improving the quality of global education.
If we want to improve education, we have to invest in teacher training. A good, proficient and skilful teacher is important in a young person’s education path. Well trained and motivated teachers are the starting point in the development of quality teaching and a training system.
The vision of the Finnish education export and the Teachers without Borders network is that education becomes the main form of Finland’s development cooperation with education professionals actively participating in the development process.
The Teachers without Borders initiative has grown into a network whose primary goal is to develop the pedagogical expertise of local teachers in the world’s most fragile countries. Via quality training we can support local communities and create opportunities for a sustainable future. To reach this goal, the network offers Finnish teaching sector knowhow to countries and contexts that need it the most. For teachers, it offers volunteer work periods of three to twelve months. By working in this way, the network fills a clear need in the field of development cooperation.
Illiteracy is still a big problem in the world. There are still 774 millions of illiterate adults and 123 millions of illiterate young people. Two out of three illiterate people are girls and women. Without basic skills, such as reading and writing, the young cannot get a job. Quality education helps the future generations out of poverty and to work for their communities.
Finland’s official bilateral development cooperation and the development cooperation done by NGOs enable teachers to act as experts, consults, teacher trainers and developers of teaching methods and tools. This includes a broader support for education policy which aims at building education systems in different countries. In addition, teachers are needed in humanitarian work. Teachers should be actively involved during international catastrophes, e.g. at refugee camps, together with doctors and nurses. By activating schools quickly after catastrophes, the young start recovering from traumatic experiences. Most importantly, this builds a brighter future for individuals and minimizing the damages supports the reconstruction of societies.
Furthermore, the Teachers without Borders Finland network supports global citizenship education on many levels in Finland. Our goals and action can be seen as a part of Finnish education export. Many education experts in Finland have said that it is a great challenge to deal with global development questions. Global education aims at opening people’s eyes and minds to the diversity of the world and supports them to act for a more just and sustainable world that respects human rights (Maastricht 2002, Global Education).
Our goal is to support the students’ growth into active global citizens and to promote global shared responsibility and sustainability. Global citizenship education is a built-in core of the Finnish national curriculum.