Fair Trade for Teachers

Transferability of Teacher Qualifications in the Commonwealth

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International teacher migration poses a wide range of challenges to the recognition and transferability of teacher qualifications across borders. Of primary concern is ensuring that highly trained teachers are able to move freely between countries without their professional qualifications and skills being discounted.

This study aims to enhance recognition of teacher qualifications across borders and between the member countries of the Commonwealth. The comparability table developed for the study enables clear analysis of primary and secondary teacher qualifications offered in 35 Commonwealth countries, in an accessible and easy-to-read format. Country-by-country comparability tables are included as an annex to the study, and are also available separately (Commonwealth Teacher Qualifications Comparability Table; February 2010; 80pp; £10.00; ISBN 978-1-84929-015-9).

The study was prepared for the Commonwealth Secretariat by the South African Qualifications Authority.

Please note that Fair Trade for Teachers includes a copy of the Commonwealth Teacher Qualifications Comparability Table as an insert in the back pocket of the main book.



Re-thinking Comparability

What does it mean to compare? Is it possible at all to establish equivalence by comparing educational qualifications? Who does the comparing, and to which specific ends? What are the broader purposes of comparison? Is comparison even possible for qualifications obtained in vastly unequal resource contexts? What exactly is ‘being compared’? Is it possible to compare ‘things’ that are not accessible to standard instruments of assessment, such as complex teaching and learning processes focused on demonstrable ‘outcomes’? How are comparisons validated? How does one use the data derived from the comparisons? One of the most visible effects of globalisation has been the mobility of skilled professionals across national borders. With such increasingly rapid movement of skills-carrying people, come the inevitable questions about qualifications and readiness to labour within another national context. This is one of the driving forces behind the growing acceptance of qualifications frameworks that clarify the meaning of a particular qualification within a single country (hence national qualification frameworks, such as the South African National Qualifications Framework), but also among nation states (hence regional qualification frameworks, such as the European Qualifications Framework). By making explicit the learning outcomes achieved at the end of a programme of study leading to the award of a qualification, it is argued that such transparency enables judgements to be made about the levels of training that led to such an accomplishment.


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