Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wanted: 4 million teachers to achieve global primary education by 2015

There are at present there are 29 million primary teachers working in classrooms around the world. Still in order to achieve universal primary education by 2015, another four million teachers will be needed. And the present rate, if the goal is extended to 2030, there will be a need of 27.3 million more teachers.

Amidst this grim scenario where of the 650 million primary school age children in the world, 250 million are not learning the basics, in order to fill the chronic global shortage of teachers many countries are sacrificing standards and undermining progress by hiring people with little or no training. In fact in one-third of the countries less than 75% of the teachers are trained, thereby contributing little to the cause of quality primary education.

As per a new The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) policy paper prepared by Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the EFA Global Monitoring Report (GMR), it shows that at least 93 countries have an acute teacher shortage, and need to recruit some four million teachers to achieve universal primary education by 2015.

According to UNESCO data, India alone would need around 3 million primary teachers to achieve the universal primary education by 2015, second only to Nigeria.

If the deadline is extended to 2030, more than 27 million teachers need to be hired, 24 million of whom will be required to compensate for attrition, according to UIS data. At present rates, however, 28 (or 30%) of these 93 countries will not meet these needs. Sub-Saharan Africa faces the greatest teacher shortage, accounting for two-thirds of the new teachers needed by 2030. The problem is exacerbated by a steadily growing school-age population.

"A quality universal primary education will remain a distant dream for millions of children living in countries without enough trained teachers in classrooms," said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, "Teachers are the core of any education system. Hiring and training new and already established teachers is fundamental to protecting children's ability to learn in school."

"Putting well-intentioned instructors in front of huge classrooms and calling them teachers will not deliver our ambitions to have every child in school and learning," said Aaron Benavot, Director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report.

Among the Asian countries, the situation is alarming in India as per the UNESCO data. While by 2015 Pakistan needs 1.56 million teachers, Bangladesh needs around three lakh teachers. According to the policy paper, countries must ensure that all new teacher candidates have completed at least secondary education. Yet the GMR shows that the numbers of those with this qualification in many countries are in short supply: eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa would have to recruit at least 5% of their secondary school graduates into the teaching force by 2020. Niger would need to recruit up to 30%.

Source: The Times of India, October 25, 2014

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