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Author: Geef les voor Zambia

Why Teaching is Management

Many scholars have defined teaching as the process of “imparting” knowledge. I want to go with Mark Smith’s 2016 definition, in their group’s article- definition of teaching. Teaching is the process of attending to people’s needs, experiences and feelings and intervening so that they learn particular things and go beyond the given expectations.

I want to delve into what other people have also defined management as. Indeed editorial team 2021 defines management as the administration and coordination of tasks to achieve a goal. Moreover, there are conventional additives to management like planning, organizing, directing, and controlling in order to tap into the physical, financial, human, and informational resources.

In view of these, teaching qualifies as the most honourable and ideal practice and administration of management where teachers are always planning for various learning activities, experiences, and knowledge for both the physical and mental needs of the children. All these plans are geared toward meeting specific outcomes in terms of knowledge, skill, and mindset crucial for the present and future generations. 

Teachers are organising tasks every day, group learners according to their abilities, interests, and beliefs, and organize mentorship/coaching programs for the learners. They are putting children on performance improvement plans through remedial-extra time lessons, they are organizing learning environments suitable for the learning goals. This is what managers are doing elsewhere.

It is in teaching where the teachers exercise the highest level of effective communication through giving clear instructions/directives and feedback to learners to perform given assignments which constitute learning. 

A positive classroom culture in teaching is where we “control”/facilitate the growth mindset, behavior, values, and skills of learners. We reward/motivate, correct/discipline insubordination. 

Teachers write ways of working with the children, mottos, mantras, chants, and anthems to build a culture of higher expectations and enthusiasm for the learning goals. This is similar to what the managers are doing in their organizations with their human resources. 

Teaching as management is, therefore, more sophisticated than management because it is dealing with unskilled human resources, unlike management. There’s a lot a manager needs to learn from classroom teachers in terms of management of human resources and organizations’ goals.

If there is anything plausible to do in this new milieu is to strengthen the Teaching as leadership fellowship programs such as one being offered by Teach for Zambia because of the prospective skilled human resource of fellows being churned out to the world of work.

International Day of Education

Education is a human right, a public good, and a public responsibility

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education(link is external), in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth, and adults behind.

Today, 258 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school, and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable.


“At the peak of the pandemic, schools were actually closed for 91% of learners, or 1.5 billion pupils and students. It then became apparent to everyone that education was a global public good and school was more than just a place of learning: it was also a place that provided protection, well-being, food, and freedom. (…) On this International Day of Education, UNESCO invites you to promote education as a fundamental right and the most powerful aid to development that we have. Defending the future of this right means defending the right to the future.” – Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, on the occasion of International Day of Education 2021.

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The third International Day of Education (January 24) will be marked on Monday 25 January 2021 under the theme ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’. Now is the time to power education by stepping up collaboration and international solidarity to place education and lifelong learning at the center of recovery.

The global event for the Day will be planned along with three main segments: learning heroes, innovations, and financing. It will be organized in partnership with the UNESCO New York Office, UNHQ, the Global Partnership for Education, and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies (CRI), and feature the participation of partners from the Global Education Coalition. Capturing the spirit of the International Day of Education, CRI and UNESCO have spearheaded a Learning Planet Festival to celebrate learning in all contexts and share innovations that fulfill the potential of every learner, no matter what their circumstances. The CRI will also be unveiling the winners of an essay contest of “Le Petit Prince”.

Local Leadership is Key to Gender Equity

Every day, thousands of teachers, social innovators, school leaders, and policymakers in the Teach For All network observe first-hand the particular challenges facing girls. As UNESCO’s recently released 2019 Gender Review of the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report makes clear, despite some progress, much work remains to ensure that girls and women receive the education and access to health, safety, and employment they deserve.

Access rightfully takes up a lot of space in the report and in girls’ education overall. Girls are disproportionately affected when beliefs about the role of girls and women in society lead to early marriage or unintended pregnancies; it is the girl who will be barred from school or who will potentially never enter the job market as a result of becoming a parent. Losing access to education and job readiness as an adolescent sets women up for a lifetime of dependence on men and vulnerability to poverty.

But equity remains a concern in wealthy and less-wealthy countries. In terms of providing role models for girls and boys around gender parity, primary school classrooms are predominantly led by women (94% of teachers), but that number is cut in half by secondary school. In high-income countries, men are often the ones leading schools despite their classrooms being fueled by the energy of women.

While much of this work must be done at the policy level — particularly around limitations on comprehensive sexuality education, policies that restrict pregnant girls and mothers’ access to school, and curricular and textbook reform — we also know that dedicated local action often leads to immediate and long-term impact for girls and women.

An example I think of often is that of Udeshya, an initiative started by Teach For Nepal alumni to introduce girls to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) concepts and support them to problem-solve challenges they observed in their communities. After only a week of the latest round of their boot camp program, the girls were able to submit designs and prototypes as impressive as hydraulic bridges and safety systems.

Udeshya’s example is so powerful because it highlights what happens when girls come up with their own solutions to the issues where they have the most at stake. Communities are being hit hard by challenges related to our increasingly uncertain world, including employment instability, climate change, unaffordable housing, etc. Since girls and women often bear the brunt of these challenges, it matters that they are equipped to be the engineers, teachers, and tech leaders who design solutions and platforms that solve them. In fact, STEM education is an area where beliefs about women are particularly harmful to girls’ ability to shape their own futures. Not only does being excluded from well-paying STEM jobs impact girls’ and women’s potential for financial security, but it also robs society of their ingenuity in the face of increasingly complex challenges.

When the people who are most impacted are enlisted and supported to design the solutions, everyone benefits. The question now is, how do we ensure that girls continuously receive the resources and support they need to design a better future for themselves and all of us?

The women behind Udeshya took part in Teach For All’s Global Girls’ Education Fellowship, where local education practitioners from nearly a dozen countries came together to learn best practices in girls’ education. Many fellows, including the boot camp team, launched projects that had an immediate impact on girls in their communities, potentially catalyzing lifelong changes for the girls who participated.

Because of their example and those of many others, we are launching a third Global Girls’ Education Fellowship to train members of our network on how to become advocates for girls, strengthen their role as practitioners, and work with girls (and boys) to increase their leadership and socioemotional development in ways that promote lifelong gender equity. Fellows will learn what approaches work and how they can adapt global and regional lessons to their local contexts. Importantly, they will explore issues of access and equity, looking deeply at the roots of gender inequity in education and beyond.

We owe it to girls to invest in their leadership, as well as the leadership of those who teach and support them. We invite members of the Teach For All network to consider joining the next cycle of our Girls’ Education Fellowship, which starts in September 2019. The application and more information can be found here.

Samantha Williams is the Global Director for Girls’ Education at Teach For All. Previously, she worked as Chief of Staff to the CEO, and before that spent five years in Johannesburg leading Teach For All’s external relations, growth strategy, and network partner support in Africa. Prior to joining Teach For All, Samantha focused on education in South Africa through roles at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and Harvard University.