The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme promotes international inter-university cooperation and networking to improve institutional capacities by way of knowledge sharing and collaborative work. The Programme upholds the establishment of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in key priority areas connected to UNESCO’s fields of competence – i.e. in education, the natural and social sciences, culture and communication. Through this network, higher education and research institutions all over the world combine their resources, both human and material, to address urgent challenges and contribute to the development of their societies. In many instances, the Networks and Chairs serve as think tanks and as bridge builders between academia, civil society, local communities, research and policy-making.
Teachers as Lifelong Learners
It is evident for all that current version of knowledge and updating our perceptions would positively influence the results and outcomes of almost any endeavor. Seeking new knowledge can be considered the number one reason for man’s development and such seeking is a never ending story and this notion can be seen in the words of great people, e.g. “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave” (Saddi – Persian poet), or “Learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it” (Albert Einstein). Recent economic, social and technological developments have highlighted the urgent need for lifelong learning. The fast changing technology-based economy requires from workers the flexibility to adjust to new demands and the ability to learn new skills. The increasing sophistication of modern societies demands constant updating of the knowledge and skills of their citizens. The escalating knowledge makes the “educated” obsolete unless they continuously upgrade their knowledge. Building and empowering the capacities of professional teacher through the exchange of and sharing of the best practices within the areas of educational and training disciplines is considered as the main priority of societies in the age of rapid science transformation. By definition, lifelong learning is the provision or use of both formal and informal learning opportunities throughout people's lives in order to foster the continuous development and improvement of the knowledge and skills needed for employment and personal fulfillment. Teachers as Lifelong Learners employ a variety of tools, techniques and resources to comprehend the opportunities and challenges that educational systems are encountering. In contrast to the passive role of the teacher in traditional professional development, teachers who are part of reform-oriented professional development are teaching, doing, researching, reflecting, discussing, producing, planning, learning, reading, writing, and designing.
UNESCO Chair on Teachers as Life Long Learners
Based on several years of experiences, studies and sound expertise concerning educational sciences, the Farhangian University of Iran came to the conclusion that there is a need for an integrated networking approach to teacher training. Accordingly, this reality necessitates the need for highly trained and scholarly equipped human resources. As a result, the Farhangian University of Iran by taking into consideration the aforementioned facts and by perceiving the important role that higher education plays in promotion and development of educational studies, proposed the establishment of Teacher Training Chair under UNESCO auspicious, built around an excellent learning environment, acclaimed research strengths, broad program choice and career preparation. The proposal was fortunately accepted and came to pass by the Chief of the Section for Higher Education and Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems in UNESCO (Paulina González-Pose). Considering the title of the Chair related to the multiple domains of the UNESCO’s priorities in the field of education, the significance of the Chair and its activities in professional development of teachers and teacher education becomes more vivid. However, the main focus of the Chair would be on inter-disciplinary research programs relating to train and empower human resources of educational systems, production and promotion of beneficial knowledge needed by educational systems, training-based professional competencies, new educational and training technologies according to universally accepted standards. The Chair strives to prepare teachers to live a life characterized by high moral character, and to experience a satisfying and rewarding career. The Chair tries to provide a high quality education at the undergraduate and graduate levels in order to prepare teachers to meet lifelong intellectual, ethical, social, and career challenges. The Chair would be a focal point for inserting the knowledge, skills and dispositions in the preparation program so that it will lead the way for increased student achievement in schools, and teacher candidates will possess a thorough understanding of the skills and attributes needed to help all students learn.
3- UNESCO Agreement Letter with Farhangian University ( 2013). The Establishment of a UNESCO Chair on Teachers as Lifelong Learners