By design, the work of Teach For All network partners can only be done in collaboration with many other stakeholders — most significantly, their local and national governments. Partner staff and CEOs work closely with their governments to create the conditions for their participants to be placed in schools where they’re needed most and are reaching as many children as possible in under-resourced communities. In June, network partner CEOs and representatives of ministries of education participated together in a three-day learning trip hosted by the Israeli Ministry of Education, Teach First Israel, and Teach For All.
Held in Jerusalem, the event brought CEOs and staff from 12 network partners together with education officials from eight countries to learn from each other about how to develop stronger, more productive partnerships. Eyal Ram, the Deputy Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Education and Director of Teaching Personnel, Training, and Professional Development Administration, suggested the learning trip after attending the Teach For All Global Conference in Bulgaria last year with Teach First Israel's CEO, Asaf Banner. A long-time supporter of Teach First Israel and the network, he felt there could be great value in bringing together policy makers with leaders from across the network to discuss common challenges and strategies for innovation. Both Teach For All network partners and the global organization specialists who support their efforts to collaborate with the public sector were excited by the idea of inviting government partners into their discussions and creating an opportunity for everyone to gain a deeper understanding of each other’s work.
Highlights of the event included a discussion with Israel’s Minister of Education, Napthali Bennet, and visits to local schools — one in which Teach First Israel has been placing teachers and forging relationships for many years, and another where, unlike most schools in Israel, Jewish and Arab students learn side by side. A workshop on developing innovative solutions to education system challenges proved to be a powerful collective learning experience for partners and government attendees.
“This conference was the first time that we offered an open space to the government to show our work as a network,” shared Erik Ramírez-Ruiz, CEO of Enseña por México. “It offered an opportunity to think and reflect upon collective leadership and collective action for a systemic transformation. We, at Enseña por Mexico, believe that our alumni will make sustainable and meaningful changes once they experience the lack of opportunities and the many constraints that our students face every day. It is within our spirit to transform communities in collaboration. But the conference in Jerusalem was the first time I have stepped back to listen to the big dreams from an even bigger ally: our government.”
“In Israel, we know that it is possible to bring about tremendous impact in the field when an NGO and the government work together in true partnership,” explained Eyal Ram. “It was a privilege to host such a distinguished group of educators and government officials from around the world, all of whom are dedicated to advancing educational equity and opportunity. This conference gave us the opportunity to learn from each other, share experiences, and network to explore potential future collaborations.”