Empowering Educators: Reflections from the 14th ISTP

Tuesday, 02 July 2024 |

Empowering Educators: Reflections from the 14th ISTP


On 22-24 April 2024, the Singapore’s Ministry of Education hosted the 14th International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP). Co-organised with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Education International (EI), the summit focused on bringing together global education leaders, policymakers, and teacher unions and associations from high-performing and rapidly improving education systems to engage in conversations on how best to strengthen the teaching profession and improve learning outcomes.

The summit, centred on three sub-themes: the Future of Learning and its Implications for Teaching, the Role of Technology in Transforming Education and Vocational Training, and Partnerships to Support Learning for Life, was structured to two parts: school visits and discussion sessions. Participants visited and observed schools in Singapore during the morning and have discussions in the afternoon.

SEAMEO Secretariat had the opportunity to join the summit and we have come up with some key reflection points for Southeast Asia from the three-day event:

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  1. In preparation for future developments and challenges, teachers need to be supported through deepening our understanding of teaching and learning processes

The first sub-theme discussed is on the future of learning and its implications for teaching.

As the world continues to evolve, in a faster pace especially with technological advances, so too must our education systems. Keeping the teachers at the heart of the conversation is significant as they play a crucial role in ensuring that the teaching, learning, and assessment processes enable our learners to further develop and thrive holistically, from academics to their socio-emotional well-being.

There are two things to note here: First is understanding the real-time changes in education while anticipating the future. Understanding this allows us to strategically upskill and reskill the teaching workforce. Teachers need ongoing professional development to explore and enact new pedagogies that prepare students for future challenges.

Second is continuously engaging our teachers. Understanding teachers' motivations, needs, and well-being is crucial for developing appropriate support mechanisms. The dynamic changes in society means that it is necessary for governments and teacher organisations to collaborate in supporting teachers through innovative pedagogies and conducive learning environments.

  1. Include teachers in the discussions on education technology and artificial intelligence (AI) in education

While the second sub-theme explored the transformative role of technology in education, AI in education specifically has been in the forefront of discussions. The focus is on providing guidance on the utilisation of AI in education, particularly on possible ethics ramifications for example.

The 2023 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report on Technology in Southeast Asia found out that teachers are rarely or not at all consulted on matters regarding the introduction of technology in schools. Including teachers in these discussions is key to understanding the different contexts of classrooms and for deciding on the appropriateness and relevance of these new technologies. We need clearer, context-specific standards and guidelines for technology and AI that will ensure effective and safe use of AI, to enable teachers in harnessing its full potential.

  1. Meaningful partnerships in education puts the learner at the centre

The third sub-theme focused on the importance of partnerships in supporting lifelong learning. We need schools to actively foster partnerships with various stakeholders which can provide students with authentic learning experiences that deepen their interests and values. These partnerships should empower our teachers in the process, by equipping them with necessary skills to establish new partnerships and sustain existing ones.

In his concluding remarks, His Excellency Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education of Singapore, emphasised that improvements in education cannot be done alone but together – with families, communities, schools, and stakeholders working together for learners to reach their full potential.

The 14th ISTP provided a platform for education leaders to reflect on the future of learning, the transformative role of technology, fostering partnerships, and their implications to the teaching profession.

The insights gained from this summit will help us further these conversations especially in Southeast Asia, where we can also learn from one another to strengthen our teaching workforce. By empowering teachers, leveraging technology, and building strong partnerships, we can foster education systems that not only meet the needs of today but also prepare learners for the challenges of tomorrow.