» Close to 69 million new teachers needed to reach 2030 education goals
05.10.2016 - UNESCOPRESS

Close to 69 million new teachers needed to reach 2030 education goals

© Ignacio MarinLamu Island, Kenya

As UNESCO celebrates World Teachers’ Day on 5 October, new figures show that close to 69 million new teachers are needed to provide quality universal primary and secondary education by 2030, the deadline of the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the UN General Assembly late last yea

Under the banner Valuing Teachers, Improving their Status, events at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris and around the world,will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers and highlight the critical importance of the profession for global development and the need for urgent action to address the shortage of teachers. 

In the next 14 years, 24.4 million primary school teachers and 44.4 million secondary school teachers are required, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).

Sub-Saharan Africa faces the largest teacher gap: it will need a total of 17 million primary and secondary teachers by 2030. It is also the region with the fastest growing school-age population. It is already struggling to keep up with demand: more than 70 per cent of the region’s countries face acute shortages of primary school teachers, 90 per cent of them face serious shortages in secondary education, according to UIS data.

A joint message from UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and Education International General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen, stresses the “limitless contributions made by teachers around the world” and highlights the need for urgent action:

“Teachers not only help shape the individual futures of millions of children; they also help shape a better world for all. 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?”  Sustainable

Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) demands inclusive and equitable quality education for all by 2030. The needs are urgent, with an estimated 263 million children and youth still out of primary and secondary school globally, according to a recent UIS paper. SDG 4 includes a specific call for more qualified teachers, and more support from the international community for teacher training in developing countries.

Entire education systems are gearing up for the big push to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 by 2030,” says UIS Director, Silvia Montoya. “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 60, 70 or even more pupils. We also need training, resources and support for teachers to do their job.”

Southern Asia has the second-largest teacher gap, especially at the secondary level. Only 65 per cent of youth across the region are enrolled in secondary education, with the pupil-teacher ratio at 29:1 (2014 estimates) – far higher than the global average of 18:1. Southern Asia needs another 15 million teachers by 2030, the vast majority (11 million) at secondary level. 

Other parts of the world face their own grave challenges. War in Syria and Iraq has destroyed large parts of their education systems and has had a severe knock-on effect on neighbouring ones trying to cope with an influx of refugee children and youth in need of learning opportunities and teachers

The event at UNESCO Headquarters will include a ceremony to award the laureates of the UNESCO-Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Prize for Distinguished Academic Performance which this year goes to See Beyond Borders, Cambodia, and the University of Malaya (Malaysia), panel discussions and a poster exhibition.

Download the UIS paper at learn more about teacher data

Get interactive maps and charts from the eAtlas of Teachers

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