Education International
Education International

Millions more teachers needed to achieve Education for All

published 19 December 2008 updated 19 December 2008

Education International is committed to achieving quality Education For All, both in word and deed, and helping to train more highly-qualified teachers is at the heart of that commitment.

Thulas Nxesi, President of EI, reminded participants at the 8th Education for All (EFA) High Level Group meeting that 18 million more teachers are needed by 2015 to meet the Dakar goals. That is why EI has joined with Oxfam-Novib in the Quality Educators for All Project, aimed at increasing the numbers of qualified teachers, and improving quality and equity in public education systems.

Nxesi was one of the senior officials representing governments, the labour movement and civil society who gathered in Oslo from 16 to 18 December. He explained that EI is taking action in three main areas:

• Working to stop the increasing trend towards recruitment of unqualified teachers • Striving to attract and retain qualified teachers and reduce the high level of attrition • Urging the international agencies and donor countries to plan longer-term aid programmes, paying special attention to increasing the capacity of countries to train, recruit and retain quality teachers

Nxesi noted that in some countries unqualified teachers, often with only a few weeks’ training, comprise more than half of the teaching force. These teachers face impossible challenges in their classroom conditions: pupil-teacher ratios as high as 150-1, lack of learning resources, poverty-level salaries. Little wonder recruitment into the profession becomes so difficult.

In response to suggestions that information technologies could solve the teacher shortage, Nxesi insisted that computers are tools that could be more widely used and better integrated into pedagogy, but that they will never replace highly-qualified, caring teachers.

In issuing their final statement, the Oslo Declaration, the participants noted that their discussions took place under the shadow of a global financial crisis that is unprecedented since the 1930s.

“It will be imperative to protect and insulate the world’s poorest children, youth and adults from the worst effects of the crisis, as they carry the least responsibility for these events. The crisis should not serve as justification for any reduction in national spending and international aid to education. Instead, steadfast support for achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the EFA and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), is more vital than it was before the crisis,” they declared.

The High Level Group members focused their declaration around four key themes:

• Reaffirming the centrality of education for development • Making equity a priority in education: why governance matters • Increasing financing and targeting the most in need • Recruiting, training, deploying and retaining teachers

To read the full text of the Declaration, visit: