Teachers Without Borders: update

Thought this might be a useful point at which to update progress on my ‘Teachers Without Borders’ campaign. It’s the Liberal Democrat proposal to make education to part of the humanitarian response to disasters and crises – and something that Save the Children have put at the forefront of their campaigning this year.

Affectionately now called the ‘Ed Cross’ – as it is to some extent an education version of the Red Cross – I have had a pretty good response from people emailing in via the website.

Basically there was a real welcome for the idea. There was some debate about whether it needed teachers and teaching skills as opposed to other sorts of skills. Some concerns were raised about the importance of having sustainable solutions – and just a short burst of teaching – and also not being colonial in our approach.

I have to say that the whole idea is to form part of the humanitarian response and is about filling the gap while local services are put (back) in place with local personnel. Many like the idea of this being an international force, where member states can supply volunteers to be deployed. Some suggestions were made that it would work best via the big five NGOs, who already coordinate their own humanitarian responses well when they need to spring into action. I’ve lobbied Hilary Benn (the minister) on this and got positive responses. Also pleasantly surprised by how many teachers said they would wish to go. All in all, a very good start and more consultation with NGOs to come.