UNESCO says the world faces an 18 million teacher shortfall in coming

“There can be no viable long-term solution to our education challenges and teacher shortages without investment in training and measures to promote respect for the teaching profession,” said a statement, signed by UN agency heads, to mark World Teachers Day.Already, nearly 100 million children are missing out on primary education – mostly girls, many trapped in child labour – which will compound a current accumulation of 800 million illiterate adults, representing 20 per cent of the total adult population, added the statement. The statement was signed by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) director-general Koïchiro Matsuura, International Labour Organization (ILO) director-general Juan Somavia, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) executive director Ann M. Veneman, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) administrator Kemal Dervis.Arab states, mainly in Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, will need to create 450,000 new teaching posts during this period, while countries in South and West Asia will need an additional 325,000 teachers, data collected by UNESCO showed. Afghanistan’s teacher’s cadre will need to grow by almost nine per cent per year until 2015 to keep up with primary education demand, an agency statement added.In Western Europe and the U.S. older teachers are retiring without sufficient replacements, leading to an expected shortfall of 1.2 million teachers in the same period, likely to be most acute in the U.S., Spain and Ireland, UNESCO said.This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Joint ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, which is the only comprehensive international standard for the teaching profession, UNESCO noted in its release.

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