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Global Teacher Shortage: A Concerning Trend in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Global Teacher Shortage
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A recent report by UNESCO highlights concerning findings regarding the achievement of the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) on quality education by 2030, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Let’s delve into the key takeaways from the report:

Global Teacher Recruitment Challenge

  • 44 Million Teachers Needed: Globally, an additional 44 million teachers are required by 2030 to achieve universal primary and secondary enrollment.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa’s Share: Alarmingly, of every three teachers needed globally, one is required in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Lowest Teacher Numbers: Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest number of teachers globally, with only nine out of 46 countries projected to meet the target for universal primary education by 2030.

Regional Challenges and Targets

  • Primary Education Challenges: Several countries in the region, including Angola, Benin, Burundi, Chad, Guinea, Mali, and Niger, need to increase primary teacher numbers by more than 10 per cent annually to meet targets.
  • Declining Teacher Numbers: Angola and Ethiopia face particular challenges as their teacher numbers have been declining over the past decade.
  • Secondary Education: Globally, only 30 out of 187 countries are expected to meet teacher recruitment targets at the secondary level by 2030, with just four out of 44 sub-Saharan African countries projected to achieve this goal.

Optimism Amidst Challenges

  • Positive Projections: Despite the challenges, there are reasons for optimism. Countries like Kenya and Congo are projected to best meet the demand for primary teachers by 2030.
  • Possible Scenarios: Achieving these goals is feasible either through steady growth in the teacher workforce or a combination of strong recruitment and a decrease in the school-age population.
  • Growth in Secondary Education: Kenya leads in meeting the demand for secondary teachers, followed by the Central African Republic, Congo, and the Gambia.

Qualifications and Representation

  • Qualification Disparities: While 86 per cent of teachers worldwide possess minimum required qualifications at the primary level, this figure drops to 69 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Underrepresentation of Women: In many Central and West African countries, women are least represented in primary education, highlighting gender disparities in the teaching profession.

Call for Action

  • Support for Teachers: UN Chief Antonio Guterres emphasizes the need to support teachers by providing them with the recognition, resources, and support necessary to deliver quality education.
  • Global Solidarity: The report reflects growing global solidarity with teachers, advocating for the implementation of guidelines aimed at elevating their status, working conditions, and professional development.

The UNESCO report underscores the urgent need for concerted efforts to address the global teacher shortage, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, to ensure equitable access to quality education for all.

Source: Down to Earth

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