Southern Asia Region has 2nd Largest Teacher Scarcity in the World: UN Report


A report put together by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), has provided the steps necessary to meet the Sustainable Development Goals 4 (SDG 4).  As per the SDG 4, the international education community aims to fulfil its goal of universal primary and secondary education by 2030. India makes up three quarters of its Southern Asia target and according to the report, the country needs to employ about three million teachers for primary schools and eight million more for secondary education within fourteen years to achieve this goal.

Southern Asia Teacher Gap

According to the report, Southern Asia has the second largest teacher gap in the world. This results in overcrowding of classrooms and the average ratio for student to teacher is 34:1 for Primary education and 29:1 for secondary education (as per 2014 statistics). The global average is 18:1. To reduce this teacher gap, southern Asia (which includes India) will require 15 million teachers before the year 2030. It has also been reported that the majority of these teachers (about 11 million) should be targeted toward the secondary level of education.

Factors for Global Progress

Progress on a global scale depends on three factors – 1) The presence of a teacher and/ a classroom to carry out lessons, 2) Whether the teacher has the training, support and adequate resources at his/her disposal in order to teach their students and 3) Whether they have a reasonable number of students in the classroom so they are able to manage their lessons.

According to Vikas Pota, CEO of the Varkey Foundation and co-author of the report, a ten percent increase in teachers’ pay results in a 5 -10% increase in the performance of a student. But because of the scarce finances at the disposal of governments in the developing world, the international community should help to fund this.

Second Largest Teacher Scarcity

On a global scale, 69 million teachers (24.4 million for primary education and 44.4 million for secondary education) need to be recruited to meet the goals set by the UN.

The Southern Asia region is second in line, in terms of scarcity of teachers, with the Sub-Sahara region being first. This region requires 17 million more teachers.

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