Setting the Stage for Improved Learning

This post is also available in: Español 

In Central America and the Dominican Republic there is growing concern about the quality of education. Schools do not teach children and youths the skills they need to successfully enter the labor market and contribute to society.

Despite the importance of teachers in the learning process, in most countries of the region the systems for recruiting, selecting, training, retaining and supporting teachers remain deficient. Moreover, the groups that should be most engaged with governments to demand improvements in teaching and students’ learning—parents, business people, and society in general—are often on the margins of the debate.

PREAL’s Teacher Policy Monitoring Reports seek to nurture informed debate about teacher policies through systematic studies of the state and progress of such policies in the schools of each country studied. This regional report summarizes the main findings and recommendations of monitoring reports for Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in 2015. Those reports, the fruit of a collaborative effort by the Inter-American Dialogue, EDUCA (Dominican Republic), FUSADES (El Salvador), CIEN (Guatemala), and FEREMA (Honduras) offer a common analytical framework for monitoring the key elements of good teacher policy.

In each of the four countries, the collaborating organizations analyzed the state of teacher policies across nine common dimensions, grouped into three categories:

  1. Preparing the way for effective teaching. This category explores whether basic preconditions exist to allow for quality instruction, including clear expectations, sufficient class time, and solid teacher training.
  1. Recruiting, hiring, and retaining talented teachers. This category explores whether the current systems manage to select and retain the best candidates for teaching positions, and whether teachers are given support to improve their teaching practices.
  1. Managing for good performance. This category explores whether teachers are regularly assessed; whether good performance is recognized and continual poor performance penalized; and whether human and material resources are allocated to provide quality education for the most vulnerable children and youths.

The teams used a common methodology devised by the Inter-American Dialogue. The findings, based on the best available information and validated by a panel of national experts, were discussed in a seminar on March 4, 2015 in Panama. The teams that produced the reports, along with representatives of the education sector in seven Central American countries, and officials of the Inter-American Development Bank, CECC-SICA, the Inter-American Dialogue and OREALC/UNESCO participated. The seminar and country studies comprised the starting point for this regional report.

The report highlights the most significant trends and findings at the regional level, supported by examples from each country. It also recaps the main recommendations of the national reports and proposes areas for improvement in teacher policy. By focusing on the areas in which progress has been made and those in which it has been absent, the report seeks to raise the profile of teacher policy, stimulate debate, foster consensus on common goals and activities, and lay the groundwork for change.

Download the complete report below


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