UNESCO report sheds light on the dire need of teachers globally

On the eve of World Teacher’s Day, the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO) has unveiled an ignominious revelation with respect to the standard of global education. According to the statistics, revealed by a report the UN News Centre, close to 69 million new teachers are required to attend to universal primary and secondary education by 2030. 2030 is the deadline of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

According to Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), the primary global source for statistics on education, “Entire education systems are gearing up for the big push to achieve [SDG 4] by 2030.”

In the same press release she further added, “But education systems are only as good as their teachers. Global progress will depend on whether there even is a teacher, or a classroom in which to teach with a manageable number of children instead of 60, 70 or even more pupils.” SDG, officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a set of seventeen aspirational Global Goals with 169 targets between them and spearheaded by the United Nations in collaboration with its 193 member states.

These goals demand not just an increase of faculty numbers and schools but a regard to quality as well. The need for teacher training in developing countries with the help of international community is also a part of the agendas. And if reports of UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) are to be believed, then these problems especially demand attention. According to the UIS report, Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from largest gap of students-teacher ratio. In order to catch up, the region would need 17 million primary and secondary teachers by 2030. More than 70 percent of the countries in the region face acute shortage of primary school teachers and 90 percent of them face such severity at secondary level as well.

South-Asia occupies the next spot with only 65 percent of its youth enrolled in secondary education and a student-teacher ration at, a staggeringly low 29:1 ratio and far higher then the global average of 18:1. Not surprisingly, the region too needs 15 million teachers by 2030 to achieve SDG 4 with majority of them (11 million) required at secondary level.

It must be noted that these problems fade to oblivion when parts of world such as Syria, Iraq, Somalia and other civil-war ridden countries are taken into account. The report, which coincided with the celebration of this years teacher’s day highlighted the importance of teaching and its concern were best expressed by Helen Clark, Director- General Guy Ryder, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)- “How can we recruit new teachers and attract them to the vital profession of teaching when around the world, so many are undertrained, underpaid and undervalued?” they added.

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