Teachers: profession under threat, educational future at risk

Photo credit: Vincent Reynaud-Lacroze

World Teachers' Day, celebrated on 5 October, is an opportunity to pay tribute to the key role of this profession throughout the world. However, many challenges remain and the educational future of the younger generation is far from guaranteed.

For several years now, the key role of teachers has been recognised in the achievement of the Education 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Each year, the World Teachers' Day celebrates the teaching profession around the world and honours those who work in it. But the theme of this year's event is not chosen at random: "Young teachers: the future of the profession"; the opportunity, as theUNESCO of " to take stock of progress and address issues central to attracting and retaining the best and brightest minds and young talent in the profession. "

A shortage with serious consequences

Indeed, the profession is no longer a dream and there are fewer and fewer candidates. According to UNESCO, nearly 69 million teachers will have to be recruited by 2030 to enable primary and secondary education to meet theSDG 4 on education.

In response to this shortage, in many countries the qualification level of teachers has been lowered in order to recruit more teachers. Unfortunately, this method lowers teachers' skills, even though they are the ones who most influence the acquisition of knowledge at school level.

A questioned status

In 14 sub-Saharan African countries, the average teacher in the last grade of primary school does not do better on reading tests than the brightest pupils at the same level. In many developing countries, a considerable amount of learning time is lost because class time is spent on other activities or because of teacher absenteeism.

Moreover, teachers who were once respected and valued are now too easily scapegoated for the failures of education systems. There is no doubt that the professional, social and legal status of the teaching profession is being widely questioned around the world.

A revaluation of the profession is essential                     

UNESCO states: " These challenges and transformations in the 21st century are real. As we celebrate World Teachers' Day 2019, we need to take time to consider the future of the profession and the role young teachers will have to play in it - listening to the changing educational and school climate and the need to attract and retain a new generation of dedicated teachers..."

To solve the problem, governments need to massively increase the budgets allocated each year to education, but this investment will have no effect without taking better account of the needs and demands of teachers. It is essential that the profession be upgraded and that teachers be freed from any worries about their working and living conditions so that they can concentrate solely on their role with the younger generation.

Aide et Action has been advocating for a rethinking of teacher training to include more theoretical and practical components, and above all, for it to be part of a continuous process to train teachers to meet the new challenges they face daily.

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