28.11.2013 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Interview: The challenge of teachers in Africa

© UNESCO/Maelle Ba

All parts of the world are affected by the lack of teachers, but it is in sub-Saharan Africa that the situation is the most worrying.

The teacher shortage in Africa represents nearly half (46%) of the demand of teachers at the global level. In other words, Africa needs another 1.6 million teachers by 2015, according to the Institute of Statistics of UNESCO.

“Much also remains to be done in terms of quality and we need to consider the training, recruitment and retention of teachers and the status and working conditions of teachers," said Jean Adotevi, senior programme specialist on teacher issues at the UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar (Senegal). He was interviewed on the occasion of the Regional Forum for Policy Dialogue on Teachers, organized in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) from 25 to 29 November 2013 .

Why is this Forum important?

The Forum will table all the challenges related to teachers so that we look at these issues in a holistic manner and consider how best to develop coherent and effective policies. To this end, a diagnosis is key to understanding the issues and needs of teaches in a specific country. Such analysis is the prerequisite for developing well-adapted policies.

Have African countries already engaged in such diagnosis?

African countries such as Benin have already completed comprehensive diagnosis of teacher issues and it is now time to explore the post-diagnostic prospects for establishing efficient teacher policies that will improve the quantity and quality of teachers.

The Forum in Kinshasa will in fact analyze and discuss specific policy guidance to countries, as well as funding mechanisms. Partners will discuss the findings of the Forum to see how best to provide support for follow-up actions.

What will be the main outcome of the meeting?

The Forum will make recommendations on the efficient management of teacher training especially for disadvantaged groups.

The improvement of teacher policies in sub-Saharan Africa is a major concern and UNESCO with its partners have been providing support to countries in this area for many years.

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