...It calls for everyone to answer!
Believe it or not, 114 countries out of 208 countries need to increase their teaching faculty by 2015 in order to afford basic primary education. And the most saddening fact is that every year many teachers are leaving for greener pastures due to multitude of reasons. UNESCO figures predict that 5.1 million current teachers would leave the profession by 2015, owing to many causes. This invites yet another challenge of attracting, developing and retaining qualified teachers. Teacher gender is another global concern and a study proved that enrollment of girls is high in secondary schools where female teacher proportions were adequate in primary schools. A statement on EFA even stated that the best teachers should teach in early grades. The importance of good primary education is always prominent. There is more in the arsenal of concerns and facts. It is also vital for teachers to be trained to respond to the 21st century challenges. Teachers are great agents of social change. The GCE believes that teachers need to be supported and respected in the society. There is a dire need to improve and protect the working conditions of teachers. The sub Saharan region is the worst affected area under teacher gap.
Teachers… and yes qualified gender sensitive teachers are key factors to get children into schools and keeping them in schools. According to UNESCO statistics, 61 million school going aged children are denied their right to education due to the huge deficit of teachers. Girls account to the higher ratio. Worst, it is disheartening to learn that some children in the poorest countries spend many years in school but not being able to read or write a single word. This issue brings us to the training of teachers. We got to have qualified teachers in the field. Overcrowded classrooms, poor equipped classrooms, social outlook, salary and hundreds of other reasons all pull us down from achieving a universal goal. Surveys revealed that teachers take up extra jobs to supplement their salary.
Bhutan is not an alien to these problems. Many school going age children are not in schools, especially in rural areas. The shortage of teachers is also visible in Bhutanese classrooms. We are also experiencing teachers leaving the profession based on many reasons. Our teaching society is under threat. There is a talk in town on decline in quality of education, be it real or rumored. The outlook on education has improved in the recent years but we still have many hurdles to cross. Our education system is proactive yet there are multitudes of issues ranging from teacher distribution to curriculum implementation. Graduates take up teaching as their last option in terms of career choice. Professional development of teachers is another area of concern. In the recent transition to democracy, we saw many teachers leaving their schools. Every year we lose many teachers, trained and qualified ones. So the global concern is directly a local hurdle too. Schools are constructed across the nation but Bhutan is facing an immense challenge of providing basic education. The Bhutanese populace is fortunate as the government provides free education to every citizen, with the highest priority. This is always a green signal and we can achieve EFA one day in the near future. All we need is the common understanding amongst people from all walks of life.
The great shortage of teachers and the global scenario of children who are denied their basic right is a global challenge. Therefore the wise GAW is on the go to create awareness so that we fight a common test. GAW is bringing the world together to show the importance of a qualified teacher to provide primary education and the various issues faced by teachers and children across the globe to achieve one common goal of Education for All. Let us take some time and offer our modest efforts to overcome these challenges- to make the world a better place… after all Education is the only tool we have- to create a healthy world.
In the words of the campaign: “Without teachers a school is just a building”.