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UN warns of global teacher shortage

10/10/2011 Joanna
A global shortage of people qualified to fill teaching jobs means that by 2015 more then 8 million teachers will be needed worldwide, according to estimates in a United Nations report.

Some 2 million new positions will have to be filled by 2015 with another 6.2 million teachers needed to replace existing teachers who will be no longer be in classrooms by then, the Guardian reports.

The shortages could threaten efforts that are being made to create universal access to primary education.

Top of the list are African nations including Burkina Faso, Eritrea and Central African Republic with the UK sitting in the middle of the table needing some 238,700 new teachers by 2015.

The newspaper quoted the report as saying: "An acute shortage of primary teachers represents one of the biggest hurdles to achieving the goal of universal primary education.

"Policies that effectively address teacher training and retention should be at the core of national education policies."

In Burkina Faso the teaching workforce will have to increase by 14 per cent year-on-year to meet the shortages.

The figures were prepared by Unesco's Institute for Statistics, based in Montreal, Canada.

Although the projections are estimations, they are based on the number of teachers required to continue the current ratio of pupils to teachers while also taking the "attrition" of teachers leaving the profession each year into account.

Unesco's report also calls for an increase in the number of female teachers, highlighting concerns that as the ratio of female teachers declines, in many parts of the world this could lead to a reduction in the number of girls receiving primary education.

In a statement last week, Unesco's director general, Irina Bokova, said: "In many regions a low proportion of female teachers will mean fewer girls at school and consequently even fewer women teachers in the future," the Guardian quoted.

Posted by Charlotte MichaelsADNFCR-2164-ID-800753382-ADNFCR
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