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Nearly 69 million new teachers needed to achieve global education goals: UNESCO report

Nearly 69 million new teachers needed to achieve global education goals: UNESCO report

The United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 5 October 2016 released a report stating that nearly 69 million new teachers are needed to provide quality universal primary and secondary education by 2030, the deadline of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report was prepared by UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). It was released on the occasion of World Teacher’s Day, held under the theme Valuing Teachers, Improving their Status.

Highlights of the Report
• According to the UIS data, sub-Saharan Africa has the largest teacher gap and the region will need about 17 million primary and secondary teachers by 2030.
• More than 70 percent of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa region face acute shortages of primary school teachers, 90 percent of them face serious shortages in secondary education.
• Similarly, Southern Asia has the second-largest teacher gap, especially at the secondary level. Only 65 percent of youth across the region are enrolled in secondary education.
• The pupil-teacher ratio of Southern Asia is estimated at 29:1 (based on 2014 estimates), far higher than the global average of 18:1. The region needs another 15 million teachers by 2030.
• In Western Asia, persistent armed conflicts in a number of countries, including the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq, are causing chaos. Large parts of entire education systems have been destroyed.
• Number of pre-primary, primary and secondary schools in Syrian Arab Republic fell from 23000 to 15000 between 2012 and 2016, and the number of students from 5.6 million to 4.1 million.
• In Northern Africa, 0.2 million teachers are needed to fill new positions to achieve universal primary education by 2030. The countries facing the biggest teacher shortages in the region are: Algeria (0.2 million) for primary education and Egypt (1.1 million) for secondary education.
• India needs to recruit at least three million primary teachers and over eight million secondary teachers in next 14 years to ensure that every child is in school and learning well.

The Importance of Teacher Quality
• Improving education quality requires far more than just having enough teachers in the education system: teachers need to be trained, supported through professional development.
• Unfortunately, in many developing countries, reliable information on teacher qualifications and teacher training is hard to come by.
• Many teachers have been recruited where primary education systems have expanded rapidly, but they do not always meet national minimum qualifications and training standards.
• According to UIS data, in 31 of the 96 countries with data after 2012, less than 80 percent of primary school teachers were reportedly trained according to national standards in 2014.
• In 30 out of 73 countries, less than 80 percent of secondary school teachers were trained according to national standards in 2014. Most of these are in sub-Saharan Africa including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Congo, Niger, Benin, Madagascar.

Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) demands inclusive and equitable quality education for all by 2030. SDG 4 includes a specific call for more qualified teachers, and more support from the international community for teacher training in developing countries.

The needs are urgent as nearly 263 million children and youth are still out of primary and secondary school globally.


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