A joint declaration has been issued by UNESCO together with the ILO, UNICEF, UNDP and Education International, which reads in part:
Today, on World Teachers’ Day, we celebrate teachers and the central role they play in efforts to achieve quality education for all children. However, in many countries not all children have the opportunity to enter a classroom or gain basic literacy or numeracy skills, as there are simply not enough qualified teachers. This has negative outcomes not only for the future of individual children, but also for the development of whole societies.
Teachers are a crucial element in the achievement of the international education goals of Education for All (EFA) and of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These commit governments to providing a good quality education for all children by 2015. The growing shortage of qualified teachers is the main challenge to the realization of these goals. UNESCO estimates that by 2015, 18 million new teachers will be needed globally – 4 million in Africa alone. High rates of population growth, increasing enrolment rates and the impact of HIV and AIDS in some sub-Saharan African, Arab and South and East Asian countries, and large numbers of teachers leaving the profession combined with shortages in some subject areas in more developed countries, seriously threaten these goals.