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Press release

UNICEF: Good teachers are vital to reach education goals

NEW YORK, 26 April 2013 – In a week when education advocates shine a light on the importance of teachers, a UNICEF expert said today that teachers are keys to reaching education goals for all children, especially the poor and vulnerable.

“Every day teachers around the world bring education to life by imparting knowledge and equipping children with the right tools to learn and thrive,” said Jo Bourne, UNICEF’s Associate Director and Global Chief of Education. “Recruiting the right people, training them and supporting teachers lay a sound foundation to fulfill every child’s right to quality learning.”

There is a worldwide shortfall of 8 million teachers. Primary schools are hardest hit, which lowers the chances of reaching the goal of universal primary education by 2015.

This year’s Global Action Week on Education is themed “Every Child Needs a Teacher,” and calls for attention to ensure that every child has a well-trained and well-supported teacher.

An estimated 1 million new teachers will be needed over the next two years just to meet rising enrolment in sub-Saharan Africa, and 6.2 million teachers will be needed to make up for attrition. For example, to have enough teachers by 2015, Burkina Faso’s teacher corps will need to grow by almost 14 per cent, Eritrea’s by 18 per cent and Central African Republic’s by 21 per cent.

In the world’s newest country South Sudan, the ratio of qualified teacher to pupil is 1:117. Many untrained teachers don’t have a secondary level education and some just don’t show up to work.

UNICEF is on the ground and working with governments and other partners to train and recruit teachers that will give children, no matter where they live, a chance to reach their full potential.

UNICEF supports the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI), which aims to address urgent problems such as teacher shortages and start breaking down the barriers that keep children out of school.

“As we honour and recruit women and men who inspire and challenge our children, we also must continue to improve the quality of teaching and learning,” Bourne said.

UNICEF believes that supportive teaching environments, adequate teacher training and safeguards for the rights of teachers is as important as the responsibility of teachers to be accountable, and maintain the highest ethical and professional standards.

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UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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For further information, please contact:

Shimali Senanayake, UNICEF New York, Tel: + 1 917 265 4516, ssenanayake@unicef.org




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