The global education system runs on a cooperative system between teachers, students, and administrators. However, schools and academies worldwide currently find themselves in dire need of teachers, creating a global shortage of an important position.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institutes for Statistics, for every student to be in a classroom learning valuable material, the world will need to train and produce a total of 68.8 million teachers. Unfortunately, with over half (44.4%) of those teachers needing to be secondary school teachers, many of the upper-level students may miss out on critical experiences and lessons that can propel their lives forward.
Many studies will use a “teacher-to-pupil” ratio to measure the lack of teachers, displaying how many students one teacher may cover in a given classroom. According to World Atlas, in 2019, Tanzania had the most prominent teacher-to-pupil ratio at 1:217.78. That means that one teacher is responsible for approximately 218 students; additionally, some primary schools have reported having more than 180 students crammed into one classroom. No matter the attention-grabbing classes or levels of experience that a teacher may have at a primary or secondary level, those classrooms are not going to be able to meet educational standards. In comparison, the United States has a 1:16 teacher-to-pupil ratio, according to Statista.
The lack of teachers can be attributed to a multitude of factors, but mainly the economic status of teachers and the undervaluing of their position by superiors. According to a 2020 Educators For Excellence survey, 67% of U.S. teachers had to find a second source of income to “make ends meet.” Furthermore, those who took the survey believed financial incentives should be rewarded to those who work in hard-to-staff schools or specialize in hard-to-fill subjects.
More than ever, teachers aren’t receiving those financial rewards, nor are they receiving the respect they deserve. This leads to drastic turnover rates in school districts, resulting in chaos. Class sizes are being raised, programs are being cut, and many inexperienced teachers are being forced to take on too much too soon, creating a vicious cycle where teachers are in and out of schools in a few years. Data from the Schools and Staffing Survey shows that teachers with little to no training leave two to three times faster than those who have gone through a program.
With fewer and fewer college students pursuing a degree in education, the teaching profession could be in for a lackluster future without a significant change.
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