Every Child Needs a Teacher

Without teachers, a school is just a building.

Without trained teachers, schooling is not education.

Without trained teachers for all, education for all will never be a reality.

ECNAT Purple

Since 2000, the world has made good progress in getting tens of millions of children into school – but in 2008, that progress stopped. Today, 132 million children remain out of primary and lower secondary school, with little or no hope of ever learning how to read or write, with little or no hope of breaking the cycle of poverty.

The single biggest thing we can do to give these children a chance to realise their right to education is make sure each and every one of them has access to a trained teacher. However, there is an acute shortage of teachers. To get every child into primary school, we need 1.7 million more teachers – 1 million more in Africa alone.

In addition, we must ensure that each new teacher – and each existing teacher – has quality initial and ongoing training. Training of teachers is absolutely vital to ensure that being ‘in school’ also means ‘learning’, but right now many of the children who have made it into a classroom may well be there with poorly-trained teachers – and could well leave primary education barely able to read or write.

  • Chad has just one pre-primary teacher for every 1,815 children of this age group
  • Niger reports just 1,059 trained lower secondary school teachers in 2010 – compared to 1.4 million children of lower secondary school age – meaning only one trained teacher for every 1,318 children.
  • In Mali, only half of all primary school teachers are trained – and only a quarter of these have had training lasting six months or longer
  • Some countries count those who have completed primary school and a one-month training course as trained
  • Thirty one countries report that fewer than three quarters of teachers are trained (to any accepted national standard).

We need to make sure that all teachers – new recruits as well as those already in classrooms – are well-trained, have access to ongoing training and are treated as professionals – with decent pay and conditions. If governments truly value learning, then they must value teachers. The Global Campaign for Education wants world leaders to acknowledge that Every Child Needs a Teacher, and to take firm action to make this a reality.

Read the report

Every Child Needs a Teacher: Closing the Trained Teacher Gap is a report jointly produced by the Global Campaign for Education and Education International to identify the severity of the trained teacher gap, its impact on education systems and to make recommendations for closing this gap.

Other resources

The UNESCO Institute of Statistics has developed an eAtlas of Teachers which lets you visualise the gaps in the supply and demand for teachers at national and global levels. Through maps, charts and ranking tables, you can explore the data to answer questions such as: how many new teachers are needed to respond to the demand for primary education? How do working conditions for teachers compare across countries and regions? To what extent are women represented in the teaching workforce?

View UIS Visualisations

Visit the UNESCO eAtlas of Teachers in English | French | Spanish

The most recent briefing on teacher projections, produced by UIS and EFA GMR, can be viewed here in English or in French

Download Teachers Report below:

Download UNESCO eAtlas of Teachers below:

Campaign demands

National governments should

  • Develop costed workforce plans, agreed with parliaments and civil society, to meet the full gap in trained teachers and deploy those teachers equitably. (In emergency or post-conflict situations, develop transition plans to move towards these targets, in agreement with national stakeholders.)
  • By 2014, measure and publish the Pupil-to-Trained-Teacher ratio, overall and in the public sector, (according to standards of training as indicated above), including regional variations. This should be included in reports to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
  • Undertake a gender review of national Education Sector Plans, and develop long-term strategies to recruit, train, support and compensate women teachers.
  • Develop and enforce high national standards of training, developed with the teaching profession and in reference to international standards.
  • Ensure initial pre-service training for all new recruits to teaching that covers subject knowledge, pedagogy and training in diagnosis of students’ learning needs, with sufficient time to develop these skills; raise the ISCED level of teacher training by at least one level over the next three years.
  • Provide ongoing in-service training and professional development for all teachers, making use of communities of practice and following up on training given.
  • Ensure that all teachers are being paid a decent, professional wage; negotiate and agree pay scales with teacher unions; do not use pay as a system of individualised punishment and reward based on high-stakes testing or other “merit” pay.
  • Strengthen school leadership and promote the establishment of school management committees that include students, teachers, parents and local community members.
  • Promote adult literacy programmes that also empower newly-literate parents to take part in school management and support teachers.
  • Support the establishment of Teaching Councils to develop and enforce professional standards and ethics
  • Allocate a minimum of 20 percent of national budgets, or 6 percent of GDP, to education, and ensure that at least 50 percent of this is dedicated to basic education, with a much higher percentage where necessary.
  • Focus a considerable proportion of financing for post-secondary education on the development of high quality teacher training programmes.
  • Progressively expand the domestic tax base, for example through setting a fair rate of corporation tax and not offering unnecessary tax holidays.
  • Pursue expansionary macro-economic policies which allow greater investment in quality public services, resisting the imposition of austerity policies by the IMF or other advisers.
  • Open planning and budgeting processes to civil society organisations, including teachers’ unions, for example through participation in official government-partner groups in the education sector (e.g. Local Education Groups).
  • Report regularly and transparently on budgets and spending in education, making clear the allocations to district/province and local level, so that spending can be tracked by communities and civil society organisations.

Bilateral donors should

  • Meet their commitment to spend at least 0.7 percent of GNI on aid.
  • Realign ODA to commit at least 10% to basic education, including contributions to the GPE and a proportion of budget support.
  • Provide a greater proportion of ODA as general or sectoral budget support.
  • Ensure all aid for education is aligned with national education plans by providing financing through a pooled fund that supports the national education plan.
  • Develop and publish a plan setting out contribution to tackling the teacher crisis and lowering Pupil-to-Trained-Teacher ratios, and report annually on progress against this plan.
  • Engage with and support the International Task Force on Teachers for EFA.

The GPE should

  • Provide coordinated financing and other support to the expansion of a well-trained, professional teacher workforce, explicitly recognizing the significance of this for learning outcomes and quality education.

The World Bank should

  • Meet its original 2010 pledge of additional funding for basic education, by providing at least $6.8 billion for basic education in IDA countries between 2011 and 2015, and an increase in funding for sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Refrain from providing advice or conditionality that limits the professional status, training, pay or unionisation of teachers, or that encourages high-stakes testing.
  • Publish its intended contribution to tackling the teacher crisis and lowering Pupil-to-Trained-Teacher ratios, and report annually on progress against this plan.

The IMF should

  • Work with governments and other key education stakeholders such as teacher organisations and other civil society groups to develop macro-economic frameworks that support the significant expansion of investment in teachers.
  • Expand its work on social spending floors to include support for governments on tracking investment in teachers.

Private donors should

  • Support national strategies to develop the professional teacher workforce for public education by, for instance, contributing to pooled funds that support national education sector plans.

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that aims to end exclusion in education. Education is a basic human right, and our mission is to make sure that governments act now to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education.