More than 58 million children of primary or elementary school age worldwide will not attend school today or this year and a new United Nations report details how a global teacher shortage plays a role.
According to the report, “Wanted: Trained Teachers to Ensure Every Child’s Right to Primary Education,” the world needs 4 million trained teachers to meet the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015. The United Nations established the Millennium Development Goals in 2000 as a blueprint among all of the world’s countries and leading development institutions to to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.
Reaching the target date of 2015 is highly unlikely for this goal, but the teacher shortage in 93 countries only worsens as the years go on. In order to achieve universal primary education by 2020, more than 12.6 million teachers need to be recruited and trained. About 10.2 million of those will replace retiring teachers and the remaining 2.4 million will come into new teaching positions.
The situation is most dire in sub-Saharan African, which accounts for 63 percent of additional teachers needed to achieve universal primary education by 2015 or 67 percent by 2030. This region will need to create 2.3 million new teaching positions and fill 3.9 million vacant positions.
The issue in many countries is not just quantity of teachers, but also quality. Countries who are rapidly expanding their education systems may put unqualified teachers into the classroom. Less than 50 percent of teachers in Angola, Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and South Sudan were trained according to national standards.