Why teacher policies matter: Strengthening systems to support teachers in Jordan
Everyone in the education sector — and everyone who has been to school — knows good teachers are essential for student success. Many factors contribute to academic performance but research suggests that teachers matter more to student achievement than any other aspect of schooling.
According to Economics in Education, teachers are one of the most important, if not the most important, input to improving student learning outcomes. However, many countries struggle with adequate institutional capacity and policies that support and strengthen the teaching profession. And while many countries have formulated teacher policies, operationalizing these policies and prioritizing what matters most to improve teacher effectiveness is a real challenge.
This is one of the main areas that the Jordan Technical Assistance Program (TAP), which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, has focused on for the past few years. TAP works with the Government of Jordan to improve effectiveness and organizational culture at the Ministries of Education and Youth and to promote innovation in the education and youth sectors.
Since launching in 2021, TAP has supported the Ministry of Education to update its teacher policy and build its capacity to implement and integrate these policies.
What is a teacher policy and why is it important?
Teacher policies are the regulations that shape the teaching force in terms of how teachers are trained, recruited, their career structures, incentives for advancement, and how they are evaluated and compensated.
The quality of an education system depends on the quality of its teachers. Teachers’ salaries and training are a significant share of expenditure for governments, so investing in teachers can have significant returns in student learning outcomes.
The Government of Jordan is investing in its teacher force by improving the quality of teachers’ pre-service programs and ensuring they have clear professional development tracks that are linked to incentives structures. Supporting teachers throughout their professional careers by equipping them with the adequate skills and resources will raise the qualifications, motivation, and well-being of teachers, which will in turn pay its dividends in improving the quality of the educational system.
How is TAP supporting the operationalization of the teacher policy in Jordan?
In 2011, the Government of Jordan put in place a National Teacher Policy and Strategic Framework and has since made laudable efforts in developing an implementation plan. However, the Ministry of Education lacked the capacity and support systems to effectively implement the policies and has only been able to carry out a few of its initiatives.
This has hindered the Ministry from attracting high‐performing candidates and to effectively manage teachers in improving their classroom practices.
With renewed political commitment and with TAP’s support, the Ministry of Education is working towards formalizing and implementing the National Teacher Policy and Strategic Framework. The Ministry is integrating its policies related to the teaching profession in a consistent vision that includes:
- the National Teacher Professional Standards
- the National Professional Development Framework
- a national teacher evaluation and appraisal framework, and
- a national teacher career path and ranking framework.
TAP worked with the Ministry to update the Teacher Policy Framework with an institutional reference for teacher preparation (pre-service, in-service, continuous professional development), teacher selection, performance, evaluation, licensing, and training management to set students up for success.
To ensure the institutionalization of the policy, TAP is working closely with the Ministry of Education departments to build capacity within the Ministry to implement and sustain these policies and practices.
In late April, TAP is launching a series of workshops with the Ministry to devise a detailed implementation plan. The workshops will raise awareness and buy-in within the Ministry about the teacher policy and translate it into an implementation roadmap. Putting the teacher policy into practice is a significant step to ensuring access to equitable opportunity and quality education for its main stakeholders: the teachers and students that the policy is in place to serve.