World Teachers’ Day, celebrated on October 5th, is an opportunity to pay tribute to the key role of this profession throughout the world. Yet, many challenges remain and the educational future of the younger generations is far from guaranteed.
For several years now, the key role of teachers has been recognized in the achievement of the 2030 Education Agenda and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each year, the world day dedicated to them, celebrates the teaching profession around the world and honors those who practice it. But the theme of this 2019 edition is not chosen at random: “Young teachers: the future of the profession”; the occasion, as UNESCO recalls, “to take stock of the progress made and to focus on central issues to attract and retain the brightest minds and young talents in the profession.”
A severe shortage with heavy consequences
Indeed, the profession is no longer dream and the candidates are fewer and fewer. According to UNESCO, more than 69 million teachers will need to be recruited by 2030 to enable primary and secondary education to meet the education targets of SDG 4 (Quality Education). Faced with this shortage, in many countries the level of qualification of teachers has been revised downwards in order to recruit more. Unfortunately, this method lowers the skills of teachers, even though they are the ones who most influence the acquisition of knowledge at the school level.
A status questioned
In 14 sub-Saharan African countries, the average sixth-grade teacher is no better at reading tests than the brightest students at the same level. In many developing countries, a considerable part of the learning time is lost because school hours are spent on other activities or because of teacher absenteeism. Moreover, teachers who were once respected and considered today are too easily used as scapegoats for the failures of education systems. There is no doubt that the professional, social and legal status of the teaching profession is widely questioned around the world.
A revaluation of the profession is essential
UNESCO says: “These challenges and transformations in the 21st century are very real. As we celebrate World Teachers’ Day 2019, we must take the time to reflect on the future of the profession and the role that young teachers will play in it – by 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, states have the need to massively increase the budgets allocated each year to education but this investment will have no effect without a better consideration of the needs and demands of teachers. A revaluation of the profession is essential, as is the need to free teachers from any worries related to their working and living conditions so that they focus solely on their role with younger generations.
Aide et Action campaigns in particular for a redesign of teacher training so that it includes a more important theoretical and practical part and especially that it is part of a continuous process in order to train the teachers on the length to the new challenges that they meet daily.