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Sat 5 Apr 2014 03:31 PM

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Middle East teacher shortage "critical"

Shortage threatens to overshadow the region's educational gains and must be addressed urgently, says education advisory company Pearson

Middle East teacher shortage "critical"
(Photo for illustrative purpose only)

The Arab world's growing teacher shortage threatens to overshadow the region's educational gains and needs to be addressed urgently, according to education advisory company, Pearson.

Pearson managing director Karim Daoud said reducing the teacher shortage would be "critical" to improving the region's performance in educational rankings.

According to a recent report by Deloitte, the UAE needs to hire 75,000 new educators by 2015.

Pearson said the outlook was "even more worrying" for the region as a whole. UNESCO's Institute for Statistics predicted last year that the Arab world would need to create 1.6 million new teaching posts by 2015 if universal education is to be achieved.

That figure is likely to increase to 3.3 million by 2030 if drastic measures are not taken, according to Pearson.

Daoud said teacher shortages were a global problem but it was more acute in the Arab world because of a rapidly growing school age population, expected to soon reach 9.5 million.

Demand for secondary teachers in the Middle East is greater than primary teachers, due to more subject-specific instruction and longer teaching hours.

Daoud said that achieving education targets set by governments in the Arab world will be in large part dependent on those countries' education systems attracting and retaining sufficient teaching talent.

"Teachers have a profound influence - and having a better one is statistically linked to not only a higher income later on in life, but a range of improved social results. The world's most successful systems have a number of things in common, including the ability to find ways to attract the best people to the teaching profession and the ability to provide relevant, ongoing training to teachers throughout their careers," he said.

Amanda Collins, Pearson's professional development director in the Middle East, said the region could not simply hire more teachers, they needed to be rigorously trained, well-qualified and undergo regular professional development.

She said there was no "silver-bullet solution" to the problem, which would require a concerted effort from policy makers, teacher training institutions and the education system itself.

Collins said the UAE Government's Ministry of Education was working well to improve the standard of teaching in the country and keep the best teachers in the system.

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Laxman Nepali 5 years ago

Better to hire teachers from south Asia. there are many graduated youths looking opportunity.