Teacher shortages mean 'global learning crisis'

'We believe it takes a team to educate a child', says Education Commission which warns of slow progress on global education goal

empty classroom

The world needs 69 million teachers to be recruited, if it is to achieve the education goals it has set for 2030, a new report says today.

The report, from the Education Commission - an organisation chaired by former UK prime minister Gordon Brown, says that there is a serious risk the goals will not be met - leaving more than 800 million children without the skills they need for work.


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Four years ago, the UN set out its Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, which included a goal to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

But today's report says that currently 260 million children are not in school and more than 600 million children in school are not learning the basics fast enough.

"With millions of precious young minds at stake, the harsh reality of the global learning crisis stands in stark opposition to the ‘progress’ promised by the Fourth Industrial Revolution," the report states. "We are running out of time to respond to one of the world’s most fundamental needs: ensuring inclusive, equitable, quality education for all our children."

The report, Transforming the Education Workforce: Learning Teams for a Learning Generation, estimates to meet the goal, 69 million teachers must be recruited globally, with more than 76 per cent of these in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

It adds that in some countries, even where there are teachers, many are poorly trained or work in relative isolation and it calls for a team approach to improving education.

“As the African proverb says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ When this ethos of collaboration and care is applied to the learning process, we believe it takes a team to educate a child,” the report states.

Collaborative teams focused on improving education outcomes in the classroom, within school and at all levels in the system would result in more effective teaching and better support for inclusion, on-the-job learning, and motivation, it suggests.

And it points out that this would not necessarily involve hiring new staff – but diagnosing the challenges, understanding existing skills and enabling more teamwork.

The report concludes: “With only 10 years left until 2030, this must be the decade of delivery. We have no time to waste. Now is the time for all actors – and most importantly policymakers and members of the education workforce themselves – to be open to new ways of working and learning together. It takes a team to educate a child.”

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