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UN says 18 mn new primary teachers needed

Written by: Staff

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 26: More than 18 million new teachers will be needed over the next nine years to meet a UN goal of providing primary education to all the world's children by 2015, a UN agency said.

Developing nations have the greatest needs but are poorly equipped to fulfill them because of lack of money and qualified personnel, UNESCO's Montreal-based Institute for Statistics yesterday said in a report.

UNESCO, headquartered in Paris, is the UN system's educational scientific and cultural arm.

The goal of universal primary education by 2015 is one of the main global development goals set by a UN Millennium Summit in New York in 2000.

Among other top U.N. goals are halving the number of people living in extreme poverty and stemming the spread of AIDS.

Sub-Saharan Africa, the world's most impoverished region, needs to more teachers than any other part of the globe, requiring an additional 1.6 million teachers to ensure a primary education for all by the target date, the institute said. That is a 68-percent increase, from 2.4 million to 4 million teachers.

Among those nations facing the greatest challenge are Chad, which will need nearly four times as many primary teachers as it has now, and Ethiopia, which will have to double the number of teachers.

Arab states will need to create 450,000 new teaching posts, mainly in Egypt, Iraq, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, the institute said, while another 325,000 teachers will be required in southern and western Asia, primarily in Afghanistan.

In some countries, however, the school-age population is expected to shrink, meaning fewer teachers will be needed.

China, for example, is projected to need 1.8 million fewer teachers, Brazil 146,000 and India 50,000 by 2015.

''This provides an opportunity to improve education quality by investing more resources per teacher and pupil,'' the institute said.

It noted that the poorest countries may have no choice but to turn to untrained instructors and parents to meet their teaching needs, but advised them to try to improve instructors' skills and compensation rather than lower standards.


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