March 19, 2018

Global initiative to investigate how to recruit millions of teachers and ensure they have right skills

The world needs more teachers who are able to provide children and young people with the skills they need to succeed

Ewan Watt

Online Editor, Theirworld

With many developing countries facing serious teacher shortages, experts will examine what can be done to help young people succeed.

The world needs more teachers - tens of millions of them. 

Just to reach the target of getting every child school by 2030, UNESCO says we'll need 69 million additional qualified teachers. 

Across the globe, countries are facing teacher shortages – especially in remote or conflict areas – and in certain subject areas such as science and mathematics. 

But hiring huge numbers of teachers won't be enough on its own. They must have the skills needed to train children and young people for the new jobs of the future.

So it's time to rethink how qualified teachers are recruited, trained and supported. 

There are serious teacher shortages in many developing countries

Photo credit: World Bank

To tackle the global learning crisis, a new Education Workforce Initiative was launched yesterday. It will develop concrete options for policymakers to diversify, expand and strengthen the education workforce.

The initiative was launched by the Education Commission - the high-level group of world leaders and policymakers that produced the Learning Generation report in 2016 - in partnership with the United Kingdom Department for International Development. 

Education Commissioner and former South Korean education minister Ju-Ho Lee said: “We are facing a double challenge in which the world needs more teachers but also needs teachers better equipped to prepare students with the skills of the future.” 

By 2030, the demand for teachers in developing countries is projected to rise by 25% and to nearly double in some of the poorest nations.

New approaches for increasing the supply of qualified teachers are required but they won’t be enough. Young people need to leave school with the skills they need to succeed in the technological workforce.

Teachers need more training in order to support future generations

Photo credit: Education Commission

The Education Commission believes the roles of the teacher, school leaders and other members of the education workforce should evolve with these needs.

UK Minister of State for Africa Harriett Baldwin said: “Over the next decade a billion more young people across the world will be looking for jobs – and we know that the quality of teaching they receive now will directly impact their ability to make the most of their talents in the future.”

In the coming months, a group of international experts – from a range of sectors and including policymakers, implementers, researchers and teachers – will review the roles required within the education workforce to help young people succeed. 

An Education Workforce Report will be published in early 2019 to lay the groundwork for reform and share innovative approaches. The initiative will work with three countries to develop options to address their specific education workforce challenges.

Education Commission Director Liesbet Steer said: “We are thrilled that the recommendation the commission made in the Learning Generation report to strengthen and diversify the education workforce is being taken forward by the Education Workforce Initiative.”

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