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A Guide to Developing a Support System for Rural Teachers

Section 1

Overview to the Guide

1. Rationale

The purpose of this Guide is to provide concepts, models, activities, steps and principles for those developing professional support systems for teachers in rural areas. This is in response to a piece of research done by the joint research project of UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (INRULED) and UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), which seeks to improve the quality of rural education.


This research looks at both issues and solutions for supporting teachers in rural and remote areas by researching and analysing support systems for teachers around the world. Successful models and approaches used in different countries were identified and analysed to identify interdisciplinary factors that led to their success.


The Research report published the findings on rural teacher support systems from five countries: Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Romania and discovered key aspects that need to be considered when designing and implementing a professional development support system for teachers.


This Guide uses the experiences of these case studies to provide step by step guidance for those wishing to develop support systems for teachers in rural contexts.


2. Who is this Guide for?

This guide should be used by anyone who is involved in education, specifically those educating and supporting teachers, because continuing professional development (CPD) should be integrated in the educational system and should be integral to the career pathways and progression for teachers.


It will help give guidance in setting up a teacher support system that provides CPD, which in turn should have a sustainable, qualitative impact on teaching and learning as well as on institutional development. It is particularly important for:

• Education policy makers, reformers and planners;
• Pre-service Training (PRESET) and In-service Training (INSET) providers;
• Teacher training colleges;
• Education departments at universities;

• Provincial and district education departments (Local Education Authorities);

• Teacher trainers/educators;

• Principals of schools;

• Inspectors/supervisors;

• Heads of departments in schools;

• Teachers.


Additionally, the wider community, specifically students and parents, should be made aware of the importance of supporting teachers in their professional development.


3. How to use this Guide

Given the diversity of contexts in rural and remote education, the Guide should be used in a way that:

• is supportive of and owned by all relevant groups;

• develops individual teacher’s practice but also assists the development of peers and teams;

• informs the development of good practice in a wider context through evaluation and is within normal expectations and responsibilities of the job. 

UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education