The report highlights the teaching gap in the developing world and points to the severe lack of well-trained, well-supported teachers as a fundamental reason for the low-quality education many of the world’s poorest children receive.
It’s well known that teachers are a crucial piece in the education puzzle. Quality teachers are a deciding factor in whether children will learn effectively. There’s a direct link between having enough teachers and children doing well at school. The OECD Programme of International Student Assessment clearly states that “in the highest-performing education systems…[t]here are no concessions on teacher quality”.
There has been enormous progress in the number of children in school since 2000 but progress has stalled. There remain 61 million children of primary school age not in school. Not only that, but learning outcomes and the quality of teaching for many children around the world hasn’t significantly improved much either. Going to school can only help people escape poverty if children are offered a quality education. The World Education Forum in 2000 suggested that a quality education “includes learning to know, to do, to live together and to be”.
Globally the figures make stark reading for anyone interested in ensuring that everyone has access to a quality education. Figures from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics state that at primary level 1.7 million additional teachers are needed to deliver universal primary education by 2015. In total, 114 countries have primary teacher gaps, and the gap in Africa is nearly 1 million teachers. That’s one million more teachers needed across Africa if we’re to reach the Millennium Development Goal target of universal basic education by the 2015 deadline. The picture isn’t brighter in secondary schools: seven African countries have just one lower secondary school teacher to more than 100 children.
In terms of training, it can be difficult to get accurate figures because each country has its own training requirements: some countries consider those with a primary school education who have completed a one-month training course as fully trained teachers; while others ask for a degree in education. But regardless of definitions, many countries report a massive gap in training: for example, 31 countries report that fewer than three quarters of teachers are trained.
It’s evident that without enough well-trained, supported, professional, and paid teachers, children across the world will continue to get a low-quality education that fails to equip them with the necessary skills for life outside the classroom. The report states:
“If we are genuinely serious about fulfilling the right to education for all, about ensuring that every child, youth or adult learner develops the skills that a good education brings – from literacy and numeracy to creative and critical thinking – then the only solution is to ensure that every student has a well-trained teacher. This means putting in place policies and financing to produce a sufficient, well-trained, well-supported, equitably distributed professional teacher workforce. If we value education, there is no alternative.”
The report makes recommendations to national governments, donor governments and donor agencies, and international institutions. The report calls on all countries to expand revenues through progressive taxation and asks donors to better prioritise aid to education and consider the importance of long-term, predictable budget support as the best means to support costs such as teacher training and salaries.
Next year RESULTS UK, as a member of GCE UK, will be part of a campaign to increase the number of quality teachers and improve teacher training and learning outcomes. Keep an eye on our blog for more news and updates on the global teacher gap.
You can read the report in full here: http://www.campaignforeducation.org/docs/reports/ECNAT%20Report_RGB.pdf