Incentives needed to lure qualified teachers, UN says

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United Nations, Oct 6 (UNI) Low salaries, lack of job security, inadequate training and overcrowded classrooms have deterred many willing and eligible people from becoming teachers, according to the UN, which marked yesterday as World Teachers' Day.

In India also, every year September 5 is celebrated as Teachers' Day to mark the birth anniversary of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a one-time president of India, a renowned scholar and teacher.

On the occasion, the global body gave a call to improve the recruitment of candidates for teaching posts.

An estimated 18 million teachers are needed worldwide to achieve universal primary education, one of the ambitious Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which world leaders agreed to try to reach by 2015, according to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a UN agency based in Paris.

The shortage is especially acute in some sub-Saharan African countries: in Rwanda and Mozambique, for example, classes can often have as many as 60 pupils because of a shortage of qualified teachers.

UNESCO, the International Labour Organization, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Programme and Education International said in a joint message that the emphasis of the day this year was on developing teacher policies so as to ensure a foundation for sustainable and high-quality recruitment.

Even when the overall supply of teachers is sufficient, remote and disadvantaged areas across the globe may suffer persistent problems in recruitment and retention, the message stated. The shortage of qualified teachers is one of the biggest challenges to achieve the Education for All goals.

Insufficient training is also a problem, UNESCO reported, with many teachers in developing countries having no advanced education themselves. Under an initiative organised by the UN agency, the Republic of Congo has improved the number and quality of its teachers.

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