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More Incentives Needed For Teachers Worldwide

More incentives needed to attract qualified teachers worldwide, UN says

5 October 2008 – Low salaries, lack of job security, inadequate training and overcrowded classrooms have combined to deter many willing and eligible people from becoming teachers, the United Nations warned today as it marked World Teachers' Day with a call to improve the recruitment of candidates.

An estimated 18 million teachers are needed worldwide to achieve universal primary education, one of the ambitious Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which world leaders agreed to try to reach by 2015, according to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The shortage is especially acute in some sub-Saharan African countries: in Rwanda and Mozambique, for example, classes can often have as many as 60 pupils because of a lack of qualified teachers.

In a joint message, UNESCO, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Education International said the emphasis of the Day this year was on developing teacher policies so as to ensure a foundation for sustainable and high-quality recruitment.

“Even when the overall supply of teachers is sufficient, remote and disadvantaged areas across the globe may suffer persistent problems in recruitment and retention,” the joint message stated. “The shortage of qualified teachers is one of the biggest challenges to achieving the Education for All goals.”

Insufficient training is also a problem, UNESCO reported, with many teachers in developing countries having no advanced education themselves. Under an initiative organized by the UN agency, the Republic of Congo has improved the number and quality of its teachers.

ENDS

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