04.10.2011 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Sub-Saharan Africa needs more than one million teachers

At least two additional million teachers are needed to meet the internationally agreed goal of universal primary education by 2015. More than half of the demand is in sub-Saharan Africa.

New data from UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics shows that 1,115,000 teachers are needed in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015.

The data is published ahead of World Teachers’ Day, 5 October, celebrated in countries across the world. Other regions also face teacher shortage. For example, the Arab States require 243,000 teachers, South and West Asia 292,000 and North America and Western Europe.

Six million teachers missing

These figures, however, do not take into account the number of teachers leaving the profession for a variety of reasons such as retirement, illness, or career change.

To meet the total shortage, 6.1 million teachers will be needed between 2009 and 2015.

“Teachers for gender equality” is the theme of World Teachers’ Day 2011, which celebrates a profession in which women outnumber men in primary schools, accounting for 62 % of teachers worldwide.

In some countries they account for 90 % of primary school teachers. But their working conditions, pay, and status are deteriorating.

Motivate women to teach

“If we want to give equal opportunities to our daughters and sons to realize their full potential and claim their rights, we must devise policies and strategies that attract and motivate capable women and men to teach, while also enabling them to create gender-equal learning environments,” states a message co-signed by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the heads of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Labour Organization (ILO), and Education International (EI), the international federation of education trade unions.

The Day will also be the occasion to present a new publication, Women and the Teaching Profession: Exploring the “Feminization” Debate in Selected Commonwealth Countries.

The publication features case studies on the role of teachers in the expansion of the educational systems of countries such as Dominica, India, Lesotho, Samoa or Sri Lanka.

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