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Since 2000, the world has made good progress in getting tens of millions of children into school – but in 2008, that progress stopped. Today, 132 million children remain out of primary and lower secondary school, with little or no hope of ever learning how to read or write, with little or no hope of breaking the cycle of poverty.

The single biggest thing we can do to give these children a chance to realise their right to education is make sure each and every one of them has access to a trained teacher.

However, there is an acute shortage of teachers. To get every child into primary school, we need 1.7 million more teachers – 1 million more in Africa alone.

In addition, we must ensure that each new teacher - and each existing teacher - has quality initial and ongoing training. Training of teachers is absolutely vital to ensure that being in school also means ‘learning’, but right now many of the children who have made it into a classroom may well be there with poorly-trained teachers – and could well leave primary education barely able to read or write.

  • Chad has just one pre-primary teacher for every 1,815 children of this age group Tweet this
  • Niger reports just 1,059 trained lower secondary school teachers in 2010 – compared to 1.4 million children of lower secondary school age – meaning only one trained teacher for every 1,318 children. Tweet this
  • In Mali, only half of all primary school teachers are trained – and only a quarter of these have had training lasting six months or longer
  • Some countries count those who have completed primary school and a one-month training course as trained
  • Thirty one countries report that fewer than three quarters of teachers are trained (to any accepted national standard).
We need to make sure that all teachers – new recruits as well as those already in classrooms – are well-trained, have access to ongoing training and are treated as professionals – with decent pay and conditions.

If governments truly value learning, then they must value teachers. The Global Campaign for Education wants world leaders to acknowledge that Every Child Needs a Teacher, and to take firm action to make this a reality.