Sub-Saharan Africa Will Need 15m More Teachers by 2030 – UN

In this photo taken on November 23, 2004 pupils of Nongana Fulfulde primary bilingual school read in peul next to their teacher in a village of Nongana of Ziniare in plateau central region, north of Ouagadougou, where lessons are held in French and peul. – In some parts of the North and East of Burkina Faso schools and school teachers are targets for Jihadists, AFP reports on November 16, 2018. (Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP)

Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to require an additional 15 million primary and secondary teachers by 2030 in order to recover from the region’s COVID pandemic.

On the eve of World Teachers’ Day, UN agency heads said that teachers were the driving force behind the “global education recovery” from COVID-19.

Every year on October 5, World Teachers’ Day is observed to honour all teachers around the world. It provides an important opportunity to call on governments and the international community to spotlight teachers and their challenges, and share effective and promising policy responses.

UNESCO head, Audrey Azoulay; UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) chief, Henrietta Fore; top International Labour Organisation (ILO) official, Guy Ryder; and Education International’s leader, David Edwards, in a joint statement, noted that for the education system to recover from the COVID pandemic, more investment in the well-being, training, professional development, and working conditions of the world’s 71 million educators is required.

The statement read, “Today we celebrate the exceptional dedication and courage of all teachers. We celebrate their capacity to adapt and to innovate under very challenging and uncertain conditions.”

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Continuing the statement added that teachers“are the principal actors of the global education recovery efforts and are key in accelerating progress towards inclusive and equitable quality education for every learner, in every circumstance,” the statement continued.

From using technology creatively to providing socio-emotional support to their students, and reaching those most at risk of falling behind, teachers have been at the heart of the educational response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“Now is the time to recognise the exceptional role teachers play and to empower them with the training, professional development, support and working conditions they need to deploy their talent. Education recovery will be successful if it is conducted hand-in-hand with teachers, giving them voice and space to participate in decision-making,” they said.

As of September 27, schools had reopened fully in 124 countries, partially in 44 others, and remained completely closed in 16.

These figures emphasize the importance of paying attention to teachers’ health and well-being as schools reopen, as well as continuing professional development in order to successfully integrate and deploy educational technology.

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According to UNESCO research, 71% of countries prioritized vaccinating teachers, but only 19 included them in the first round of immunizations, while 59 other countries did not prioritize them in roll-out plans.

More effort is required to support teachers in situations where remote and hybrid teaching are still required.

Conveners and partners, including the World Bank, the Global Education Coalition, and civil society organizations, will organize global and regional events, as well as an advocacy campaign, to commemorate World Teachers’ Day in 2021, with the participation of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities.

The five-day series of events will include panel discussions and online sessions to examine effective policies, evidence, and innovative practices to help teachers recover successfully, build resilience, and reimagine education in the post-pandemic world, and advance the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4) of inclusive and equitable education.

During the pandemic, only 40% of countries trained three-quarters or more of their teachers on distance learning technology.

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Only six out of ten countries provide professional development for teachers in psychosocial and emotional support.

According to the UN, 58% of countries provided teachers with content for remote learning, while 42% provided ICT tools and internet connectivity.

Despite the fact that nearly one-third of the 103 countries surveyed recruited additional teachers for school reopenings, the global gap remains large.

According to the world body, 69 million more teachers are needed globally to achieve SDG target 4 of universal primary and secondary education.

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