26.09.2011 - Education Sector

World Teachers' Day (5 October): two million new teachers needed

©UNESCO Islamabad

As the world prepares to celebrate World Teachers’ Day on the theme of “Teachers for Gender Equality”, new figures indicate that two million new teaching positions will be needed in order to meet the goal of universal primary education by 2015.

Gender balance among staff is vital: countries with a higher proportion of female primary teachers are more likely to have higher enrolment rates for girls in secondary schools.  

In addition, the supply of primary teachers is simply not matching the demand -  particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, according to UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics.  

Held annually on 5 October to celebrate the central role of teachers in all countries, World Teachers’ Day 2011 events comprise:

  • An online discussion on “Teachers for Gender Equality” which has gathered views to feed into a debate in UNESCO Headquarters on World Teachers’ Day.
  • A Policy Forum (3-4 October) on promoting gender equality in education at school, classroom and institutional levels, organized by UNESCO’s International Institute for Education Planning
  • A message from UNESCO and its partners read by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO to open World Teachers’ Day celebrations.
  • Testimonies, debates and numerous side events

Gender equality in education is a major global concern, but despite commitments to international gender goals, the majority of out-of-school children, and two-thirds of illiterate adults are female. Women and girls thus form the largest single category of people deprived of full and equal opportunities for education.


More on World Teachers’ Day

Forum on Gender Equality in education

Key resources on gender and EFA

The global demand for primary teachers


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