Attracting and retaining young teachers: World Teachers’ Day 2019 Asia-Pacific Regional Forum

7-8 October 2019, Bangkok: While the world is short of qualified teachers, most of today’s young people do not want to enter the profession. Moreover, many countries have seen frequent attrition among early-career teachers.

Addressing these challenges on the occasion of this year’s World Teachers’ Day themed “Young Teachers, the Future of the Profession”, the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education is organizing a Forum on 7-8 October 2019 in Bangkok, focused on attraction and retention of young talent to the teaching profession. The event will be held under the theme “Attracting and Retaining Youth to the Teaching Profession: the Role of Professional Development”.

The event will gather prospective, junior and senior teachers, university and school leaders, teacher trainers, and teacher policy-makers from different sub-regions in Asia-Pacific, as well as representatives from international organizations that are UNESCO’s global partners for education. Participants will jointly map the status of young teachers in the region and underlying factors, exchange experiences in tackling the challenges in attracting and retaining young teachers, and share good practices in Continuing Professional Development for teachers, which is an important means to empower and motivate young educators.

This Regional Forum is taking place in the global context of a teacher shortage in terms of both quantity and quality. By 2030, 68.8 million teachers need be recruited to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Among them, nearly 48.6 million are needed to replace teachers leaving the profession for various reasons. The Asia-Pacific region alone needs to hire about 10.8 million teachers to achieve universal primary education. Meanwhile, the proportion of qualified teachers has decreased considerably, which directly affects students’ learning outcomes.

The attractiveness of the teaching profession depends on improvements in the social and economic status of teachers, their living and working conditions, terms of employment and career prospects. This was made clear in the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers adopted on 5 October 1966. Over half a century later, this document remains highly relevant and its creation has been commemorated by the World Teachers’ Day since 1994.