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Minister Liina Kersna: Teachers must be supported throughout their careers

3. December 2021 - 16:27

At UNESCO high-level panel on innovation in teacher education held yesterday, Liina Kersna, Minister of Education and Research of Estonia, emphasised the need to support teachers throughout their careers.

“Compared to other OECD countries, our teachers have a lot of autonomy,” said Minister Liina Kersna. “In Estonia, teachers have a lot of freedom, but also responsibility, when it comes to organising classes and the development and implementation of the curriculum. However, this does not mean that the teachers alone should bear that responsibility. We must constantly support them in their work.”

According to the Minister, in addition to the usual in-service training, a 360-degree feedback method is used in Estonia, where managers, colleagues, students and parents can give feedback on the teacher's work. ''This feedback helps teachers understand how others view their work, and through that, better notice their own development," emphasised Liina Kersna.

In addition, the Minister pointed out the educational competence centres at universities, which provide information and training for working teachers on new science-based pedagogical approaches. ''We use technology in pedagogical education daily, but we must ensure that we do not become reliant on it,” said Minister Kersna.

The Minister also emphasised the importance of supporting new teachers during their first years of work.

The UNESCO panel on teacher policy was also attended by Maria Victoria Angulo, Minister of Education of Colombia, Gerald Letendre, Head of Education at the State University of Pennsylvania, Minxuan Zhang from Shanghai Normal University and Christine Safwat from Egypt’s Educate Me Foundation.

The panel recalled lessons learned from past experiences and discussed ways to support the innovation of pedagogical education to meet expectations now and in the future.

The UNESCO Teacher Task Force brings together representatives of national governments, local municipalities, teachers’ umbrella organisations and teachers themselves to contribute to the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Estonia joined the UNESCO Teacher Task Force in 2018, when we represented the European and North American region by presenting Estonia's vision for the future. At this year's meeting, Estonia will once again be the representative of the European and North American region.

In November, Riigikogu approved a new development plan in the education field, with one of its priorities preparing the future generations of educators.

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