Secondary School Teachers and Education Quality: A framework of policy options for teacher education and professional development

  • Juan Manuel Moreno Olmedilla


Qualified secondary school teachers are becoming a precious commodity in many developed and developing countries. They tend to be the hardest segment for the teaching profession to attract, the most expensive to educate and the most difficult to retain in schools. The numbers of unqualified teachers tend to be much higher for secondary than for primary education in almost every developing country. And the attrition rates of secondary education teachers are the highest in the teaching profession, especially for male teachers and for those in high-demand areas, such as mathematics, science and technology (OECD, 2004). In such a difficult context, this paper sets out with the assumption that there is a deep – and perhaps increasing – gap between the new key competencies which every secondary school graduate is supposed to master in the knowledge society and the teaching competencies with which teachers are “equipped” after they graduate from universities and/or teacher training institutions. In the current scenario of strong pressure for the democratization of secondary education all over the world, such a gap appears to be the most critical bottleneck for the expansion of quality secondary education. Based on the analysis of secondary school teacher training policies and practices in six developing countries (Chile, Mexico, Ghana, Senegal, Cambodia and Vietnam) (Moreno, 2005), the paper concludes proposing a policy framework and policy options for teacher training and teacher development which could also be useful for developed countries.


Bolívar, A. (2006). La identidad profesional del profesorado de secundaria: crisis y reconstrucción. Archidona (Málaga): Aljibe.

Darling-Hammond, Linda (2000). “Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: A Review of State Policy Evidence”. Education Policy Analysis Archives 8(1). Disponible en

Darling-Hammond, Linda, Ruth Chung y Fred Frelow (2002). “Variation in Teacher Preparation: How Well Do Different Pathways Prepare Teachers to Teach?” Journal of Teacher Education 53(4): 286–302. Disponible en

Hargreaves, Andy (2003). Teaching in the Knowledge Society: Education in the Age of Insecurity. Nueva York: Teachers College Press [edic. cast.: Enseñar en la sociedad del conocimiento. Barcelona: Octaedro, 2003].

Hiebert, J., R. Gallimore y J. Stigler (2002). “A Knowledge Base for the Teaching Profession: What Would It Look Like and How Can We Get One?” Educational Researcher 31(5): 3–15.

Lewin, Keith (2002). Options for Post-Primary Education and Training in Uganda: Increasing Access, Equity and Efficiency. Londres: Departamento de Desarrollo Internacional del Reino Unido (DFID) y Gobierno de Uganda.

Moreno, J.M. (Coord.) (2005). Learning to Teach in the Knowledge Society. World Bank and Department for International Development (DFID). Knowledge and Skills Trust Fund. Disponible en

Marcelo, C. (2002). “Aprender a enseñar para la sociedad del conocimiento.” Education Policy Analysis Archives 10(35). Disponible en

OCDE (2004). Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers. Final Summary Report. París. Edición final del Informe: Teachers Matter. Paris: OCDE, 2005.

Shulman, L.S. (1987). “Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform”, Harvard Educational Review, 57 (1), 1-22. Edición castellana: Conocimiento y enseñanza: fundamentos de la nueva reforma. Profesorado, Revista de Currículum y Formación del Profesorado, 9(2), 2005. Revista electrónica

World Bank (2005): Expanding opportunities and building competencies: A new agenda for Secondary Education. World Bank, Washington DC, Directions in Development Series.