Addis Ababa (ET), February 2014 -The funding gap in education is creating a global shortage of teachers, according to the new Education for All Global Monitoring Report (GMR), with 1.6 million teachers needed to achieve universal primary education by 2015. This number is even greater in secondary education, outlines the GMR, an authoritative reference published every year by UNESCO to monitor the progress of the global Education for All movement.
The 2013/14 GMR, Teaching and Learning: Achieving Quality for All, launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has chosen to focus on teachers and the extent to which policies implemented by national governments support them in their work.
After extensive research, the report concludes that many governments worldwide have failed in their primary responsibility to ensure that high-quality public education systems are in place and provide appropriate conditions and support for teachers.
Insufficient domestic investment and a steady decline of development aid since the global economic downturn are causing a global learning crisis. "Had the rate of decline of out-of-school children between 1999 and 2008 been maintained, universal primary education could almost have been achieved by 2015," the GMR notes.
Quality teachers are a significant key to improving the learning outcomes for children in school and reducing the rates of out-of-school children. Without attracting, training, and retaining enough quality teachers, the learning crisis will last for several generations and hit the disadvantaged hardest, warns the report.
However, only two per cent of the global education aid budget was spent on pre-service and in-service teacher training programmes between 2008 and 2011. As a result, many of the poorest countries have not received the necessary financial support to train, recruit, and retain qualified teachers.
National education plans must include an explicit commitment to ensure quality teachers reach the learners who need them most, states the GMR. They must also allow teachers and their unions to participate in formulating and monitoring comprehensive teacher policies, as they have a unique insight of the classroom reality.
"As the GMR shows, an education system is only as good as its teachers," said EI’s General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen. "New goals after 2015 must ensure that every child is at school; is taught by a qualified and well-supported teacher; and can learn in safe educational institutions with adequate infrastructure, facilities, and resources."
"The GMR offers strong evidence that teachers are the most important educational resource and a critical determinant of quality", said EI’s Deputy General Secretary, David Edwards. "This is one of the key messages EI is delivering through the Unite for Quality Education global initiative, to raise awareness of the major role quality education plays in the development of the individual and society. "