According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 258 million children and youth are not in school. More worrisome is that over 600 million children and adolescents who are enrolled in school are not learning the basics. In both cases, children are being denied their right to a quality education.
To remedy this learning crisis, the world needs new teachers - about 69 million more if we are to meet our commitments before 2030.
This is why the chosen theme for World Teachers’ Day 2019 is “Young teachers: the future of the profession”. Beyond being a celebration of those who have dedicated their lives to transmitting knowledge and shaping minds, World Teachers’ Day is also the occasion to shine a light on important issues that are affecting the profession and keep teachers at the forefront of the global education agenda.
Wanted: young teachers
The number of trained teachers has decreased since 2013. Using national definitions, the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report estimated that only 85% of teachers were trained in 2017. This represents a 1.5 percentage point decrease.
The OECD’s 2019 Education at a Glance report gives us a snapshot of the situation. Young teachers, defined as those under 30 years old, make up only 25% of the teaching workforce across all levels of education in OECD surveyed countries.
In France, the proportion of young teachers from primary to upper secondary was 11% in 2017. In the Republic of Korea, they represented 14% of the teaching workforce. Chile is one of the countries with the highest average of young teachers with them representing 21% of the workforce.
It gets even bleaker when we look at it by levels of education. In 2017, there were only 13% of teachers aged 30 and under in primary education and only 11% in lower secondary education. This proportion gets even lower in upper secondary education with 8% of teachers in that age group.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the percentage of newly recruited teachers is still low in most countries, especially for primary education, according to the latest available data. In Benin, the percentage of teachers who were newly recruited was 12% at primary level. Out of those newly recruited teachers, only half were trained according to nationally defined standards.
In South Africa the percentage of newly recruited teachers at primary level was 8%, and 91% of them were trained according to national standards. In Cote d’Ivoire, the percentage of newly recruited teachers for primary education was 13% and 99% of them were trained according to national standards.
More alarming is the low ratio of teacher training graduates to teachers in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, that ratio was 4.0, in Senegal it was 3.7, while in Tanzania it was 12.2.
What we can deduct from these numbers is that worldwide, young people are not joining the profession at high enough rates.