Webinar addressing the global emergency of teacher shortages

According to UNESCO estimates, an additional 24.4 million primary school teachers and approximately 44 million secondary school teachers will be needed to achieve the goal of universal basic education by 2030.

Sub-Saharan Africa, home to some of the world’s most overcrowded classrooms, is also the region with the heaviest teacher workload. The teacher shortage is also the most pronounced, with 90% of secondary schools suffering from severe staff shortages. Adding to this problem, the attractiveness of the teaching profession is exacerbating the teacher shortage and contributing to the learning crisis.

In response to these critical challenges, UNESCO Dakar celebrated World Teachers’ Day 2023 by highlighting teacher shortages and the attractiveness of the teaching profession, particularly in West Africa. The webinar was held on October 5, 2023 using the Zoom platform. More than 100 participants, including experts, education experts and teachers, gathered to discuss various aspects of the issue. These include teacher motivation, working conditions, teacher governance and management, use of information and communication technology, recruitment policies, etc.

The workshop began with a poem by Ms. Habibata Tienta, Head of the Teachings & Learning cluster. After expressing her gratitude to all her participants, she emphasized that, based on her own professional experience, her educational policy has a significant impact on teacher motivation and the quality of education. Her remarks highlighted the challenges faced by teachers, including overcrowded classrooms, long working hours, and declining student motivation, resulting in a decline in the quality of education. Some teachers quit teaching and take informal jobs to gain financial support. This situation results in a shortage of qualified teachers, and those still in the system often do not have sufficient training to ensure quality education.

UNESCO Director-General in Dakar, Dimitri Sangha, paid tribute to teachers, recognizing them as “spearheading national efforts to address the region’s learning crisis.” He “thanked (their) daily efforts to improve the education system” and emphasized their important role in an increasingly technology-driven world. According to him, teachers are “experts who can help individuals navigate and make sense of the ever-growing body of unidentified information, data, and knowledge.”

The success of the webinar is due to the high quality contribution of the expert speakers. Mr. Guillaume Husson, Director of Education, UNESCO Dakar Office, provided insight into the teacher shortage in West Africa and introduced the Office’s projects and programs related to teachers. Theme 1, “Teacher Motivation and Quality of Education,” was discussed by Mr. Banikoue David Bazongo, Senior Manager of the “Improving Education in the Sahel Region” project, and Mr. Asetou Fune Samake Migan, an expert in education science at the University. Mr. took the stage. A professor in Mali probes his teacher’s motives. Theme 2, “Quality and Relevance of Initial and Continuing Training,” was delivered by IICBA-UNESCO (International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa) Senior Project Coordinator Sario Sall and Program Manager Alan Patrick Nkenne Nkenne. did. and Senior Expert in Quality Control at UNESCO IIPE Dakar. Next, Mauritanian planning and education science experts Guillaume Husson and Nebugha Mohamed Val focused on theme 3: “Improving teacher management and governance.” Theme 4, “Teacher Recruitment Policy,” was handled by Mr. Mustafa Toure, an education science expert from Senegal, and Mr. Afsata Pare-Kabore, an expert and university professor from Burkina Faso. Finally, Abdullahi Barry, an expert in education science and quality of teaching and learning, summarized the main conclusions of the webinar and discussed strategies for implementing the recommendations.

The webinar ended with an opening speech by Mr. Guillaume Husson, representing Mr. Dimitri Sangha. He expressed his satisfaction and appreciation for the discussions, reactions and interactions during the event. Based on the discussion, he highlighted his three key recommendations for shaping teacher policy.

Consider focusing on teacher motivation as a common theme when developing teacher policies. Encourage effective teacher participation in these policies, strengthen context-based initial training, emphasize local practice, and use reliable statistical data.

He expressed his gratitude to all speakers, participants and the UNESCO team.

Session recording available here. Click to listen to podcasts from teachers and educators here.

UNESCO, Regional Office for West and Central Africa

Source: guardian.ng

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