Wanted urgently: adequately trained teachers so all children can go to school by 2030

By Aaron Benavot, director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report and Albert Motivans, head of Education Statistics at the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. 

A new paper jointly released by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Education for All Global Monitoring Report today puts a spotlight on the global teacher shortage while identifying those countries facing the greatest needs. Under pressure to fill the gap, many countries are hiring teachers who have little or no training. Without immediate action, the shortage of teachers, especially trained teachers, will jeopardize wider efforts to ensure that all children not only go to school but also learn.Capture

How many teachers do we need? The year 2015 is just around the corner, and yet UIS data show that  countries will need to recruit about 4 million more teachers to achieve universal primary education by the deadline. Of the total number, 2.6 million would be needed to replace teachers who leave the profession, while the remaining 1.4 million must fill new positions to ensure that there are not more than 40 pupils per teacher. At least 27 million teachers would need to be recruited even if the deadline is extended to 2030, as is currently being proposed.

Some regions and countries need many more teachers than others. This interactive e-Atlas by the UIS shows which countries have teacher shortages and when they might close their gaps if current trends continue. By far, the greatest challenge is in sub-Saharan Africa. The region accounts for more than one-half (63%) of the additional teachers needed by 2015 or two-thirds (67%) by 2030.

Can countries recruit enough teachers? It is unlikely that countries with the most severe shortages can recruit enough teachers by 2015. Among 93 countries with data, only 29 countries will be able to bridge the gap by 2015, leaving 64 countries with a shortfall. It is even more worrying that 28 countries will be unable to fill the gap until after 2030, if current trends continue.

Are the costs of hiring more teachers affordable? The good news is that, if education budgets continue to grow at present rates, 23 out of the 27 sub-Saharan African countries will be able to cover the salaries of the extra teachers needed. Yet, for the Central African Republic, Chad, Malawi and Mali, bridging the gap would require a considerable increase in the education budget, according to UIS projections.

What aboCaptureut quality? Hiring more teachers is only a part of the solution. In the race to keep up with expanding school populations, many countries have expanded teacher numbers rapidly by hiring people with very little training. This may help get more children into school, lack of training jeopardizes education quality. In one-third of countries with recent data, less than 75% of primary school teachers were trained More than half the teachers were untrained in Angola, Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and South Sudan.

Many poor countries do not have enough upper secondary school graduates, making it Capturedifficult to recruit enough teachers with even basic knowledge of subject matter. The constraint is most severe in sub-Saharan Africa, where the chances of even completing primary school remain low. At least 10% of all upper secondary school graduates would have to join the profession to produce enough teachers in Burkina Faso, Mali and Mozambique by 2020 with the share rising to almost 30% in Niger.

The new paper explains that, in one-third of countries across the region, the challenge of training teachers that are already in classrooms is just as large as that of recruiting new teachers to the profession. In Ghana, for example, the percentage of trained teachers fell from 72% in 1999 to 53% in 2013. The number of trained teachers would need to grow by almost 10% per year for Ghana to ensure that there will be 40 pupils per trained teacher in 2020, down from 59 pupils per teacher in 2013. This is well above the 2% average growth rate of trained teachers since 1999.

The EFA Global Monitoring Report’s interactive website, the World Inequality Database on Education (WIDE), highlights that children are learning least in remote areas. The challenge is that higher-quality trained teachers are also often less inclined to teach in remote or rural areas without incentives. In Ethiopia, for example, the percentage of lower primary teachers who were trained was as low as 1% in the Somali region and 4% in Afar, the two most remote rural regions, as compared with 43% in Addis Ababa.

Providing a good quality education for all requires working together on all fronts. This is why the EFA Global Monitoring Report has also launched an Advocacy Toolkit for Teachers along with the new policy paper, in partnership with UNESCO’s Teacher Taskforce for EFA and Education International.

The UN General Assembly is formulating a new set of sustainable development goals post-2015. In particular, Goal 4 would aim to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.” To make this goal a reality, UNESCO and the EFA GMR is advocating for a clear set of targets that can be monitored. To facilitate this process, the UIS is leading a technical advisory group to recommend a range of indicators that could be used to monitor the post-2015 goals identified by the international education community. While discussions continue, we must ensure that the training and recruitment of teachers remain high on the agenda to finally deliver on our promise to have every child in school and learning.

About Aaron Benavot

Director EFA Global Monitoring Report, comparative education researcher, teacher and mentor
This entry was posted in Basic education, Developed countries, Developing countries, Literacy, Post-secondary education, Pre-primary education, Primary school, Rural areas, Teachers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Wanted urgently: adequately trained teachers so all children can go to school by 2030

  1. Pingback: Wanted urgently: adequately trained teachers so all children can go to school by 2030 - Mtemi Zombwe

  2. Prof. Peter Mittler says:

    This report, in parallel with the just published summary of the forthcoming 2015 EFA GMR report, reflects a welcome and long overdue degree of commitment to the inclusion of specific groups of marginalised children and young people in the collection of data to assess progress towards EFA and post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and indicators.

    Two major challenges now need to be faced:

    1 This information needs to be used by the UN Human Rights bodies to hold governments to account in respecting the right to Education for All, first laid down in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and later incorporated into international law by UN Conventions such as those on the Rights of the Child (1979) and on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008).

    Recent UNESCO reports show that 25 million of the world’s 58 million out of school childrent are stated by their governments as ‘unlikely ever to enter a classroom’. Who are these children who are being denied their right to education by their own governments? We know that most are children from very poor families in rural areas and that the majority are girls . But no information has been available so far on how many have disabilities or are members of ethnic, religious or indigeneous minorities.

    2 Entry to school is the right of every child world-wide but the schools they attend must be ready to receive them and to be staffed by teachers whose training has equipped them from the outset to work in inclusive schools where steps are taken to ensure that the curriculum is relevant and accessible to ALL pupils.

    This calls for changes in the design and delivery of initial and continuing training in ALL countries, starting with those with millions of out of school children. For this they will need professional and technical international assistance to enable them to profit from experience in inclusive education across the world (e.g. Rieser, 2012; UNICEF (2013); Mariga et al 2014; Booth (2013)*.

    Good data and international commitment are essential but only if they lead to action to make a reality of Education for All by 2030.

    *Booth, T. & Ainscow, M. (2011). Index for Inclusion: developing learning and participation in schools. (3rd edn.). Bristol: Centre for Studies in Inclusive Education. http://www.csie.org.uk and Amazon.
    Mariga, L., McConkey, R. & Myezwa, H. (2014).Introducing inclusive education in low income countries: a resource book for teacher educators, parent trainers and community development workers. Cape Town: Atlas Alliance and Disability Innovations Africa.
    Rieser, R. (2012). Implementing inclusive education: A Commonwealth guide to implementing Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. (2nd edn.). London: Commonwealth Secretariat.
    UNICEF (2013). Educating teachers for children with disabilities: mapping, scoping and best practices exercise in the context of developing inclusive education. UNICEF Rights, Education and Protection (Consultant: Richard Rieser). New York: UNICEF Working Paper.

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  3. Adam says:

    Dear Professor Mittler,
    In regards to your observation in reflection of this post that, “Entry to school is the right of every child world-wide but the schools they attend must be ready to receive them and to be staffed by teachers whose training has equipped them from the outset to work in inclusive schools where steps are taken to ensure that the curriculum is relevant and accessible to ALL pupils.” I agree completely that the universal human right of free and inclusive education guaranteed to all must provide an assessment of providing pedagogical inclusion to prevent linguiscism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination. This is crucial to understanding and enacting education as a human right. In your citation of Reiser’s Implementing inclusive education: A Commonwealth guide to implementing Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities you rightfully note that, “This calls for changes in the design and delivery of initial and continuing training in ALL countries, starting with those with millions of out of school children. For this they will need professional and technical international assistance to enable them to profit from experience in inclusive education across the world ”

    As a former United States Peace Corps Volunteer who taught for a few years in the developing world; I know that this can be achieved if people are inspired to proactively do it and spend the money necessary to facilitate human resources. I am not jaded and as such am curious as to how countries can inspire themselves to think beyond their borders and share these types of resources so desperately needed in countries where quality education, for many reasons, is not feasible. What are your suggestions?

    Like

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