Across the Globe, You’re in Demand
By Emily Feistritzer
This is the first of two brief reports on teacher demand. In this piece, I highlight global demand for teachers. In the next, I’ll focus on demand in the U.S.
If you’ve been thinking of teaching—either in the U.S. or globally, your timing couldn’t be better. Demand for qualified teachers is soaring worldwide.
In addition to students from developed countries, second and third-world nations are rapidly enrolling more students, and demand isn’t catching up. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) focuses on bettering the economic, political, and social fabric of life in countries across the globe; increasing educational opportunities is central to that work. One of UNESCO’s top goals is universal primary (elementary) and secondary education by 2030. The goal calls for a marked increase in the number of qualified teachers through improved quality in teacher training. UNESCO reports a need for 69 million teachers to reach the 2030 target. There’s a huge gap between the reality and the goal. Six out of ten—or 617 million children—can’t meet basic levels in reading and mathematics, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. There aren’t enough well educated, qualified teachers to meet the need.
Where is the Need?
More than 60 percent of countries facing the biggest teacher gaps are in sub-Saharan Africa, including Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Mauritania, Malawi, Niger and Zambia. Southern Asia has the second-largest shortage of teachers; the countries with the biggest gaps include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, and Pakistan. In South-Eastern Asia, they include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam. In North Africa, the countries facing the biggest teacher shortages are Algeria and Egypt. Of course, Western Asia/the Middle East has a great need from the tide of refugees from Syria; more than three million Syrian refugees from Syria are living—many in tent camps. (More detail here.)
A Focus on Teacher Preparation and Qualifications
UNESCO looks not only at the numbers, but also at teacher qualifications and training. For example, in one-third of countries where primary schools have rapidly expanded, fewer than 80% of elementary teachers have met national standards for teachers in their countries; in 40 percent of countries with data, fewer than 80 percent of secondary school teachers met national standards for teacher training. In each case, about half of these countries were in sub-Saharan Africa.
A major UNESCO education project, the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030, tackles the issue of teacher qualifications and support as well as the “teacher gap.” The 2015 Incheon Declaration signals support for Education 2030 by recognizing education as a primary driver of economic development. It calls for members to “ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems.”
TEACH-NOW Helps Meet the Global Need
TEACH-NOW is already helping to meet the tremendous global need for qualified teachers. As a digital higher education institution, we’re the tide that’s helping to lift all ships—think level of education—in nations everywhere.
We have candidates and graduates from more than 80 countries and continents around the world, including those with the greatest needs. For example, some of our candidates and alumni hail from these high-need countries:
• Africa: Egypt, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Sierra Leone
• Southeast Asia: Bangladesh, Mongolia, Myanmar, Viet Nam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India
• Western Asia/Middle East: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and more.
Of course, we also have many more students in developed nations and continents including the U.S., Europe, Asia, and North and South America and Australia. Candidates and graduates from developed nations such as China, Japan, and other countries are often teaching at international or private schools and are eager to gain the imprimatur of an American teacher preparation program.
Why do students across the globe choose TEACH-NOW?
It’s no secret that standards for teacher qualifications can be vastly different among countries. In Malawi, a primary teacher may have completed just two years of high school plus a two-year Teachers Certificate. Kazakhstan, like some other countries, has no national standards for teacher training. (Of course, neither does the United States, but in the U.S., the profession has developed de facto national standards.) Teachers across the globe are hungry for high quality teacher education. With few if any resources available to them locally, teachers in these and many other nations can and do reach out to the digital world to develop their knowledge and skills. About 57 percent of graduates who completed the 2018 TEACH-NOW alumni survey had between one and five years of some type of teaching experience when they entered the program. They recognized a need for more advanced pedagogical training to improve student outcomes. As a digital program, TEACH-NOW is a high quality, convenient, and accessible option for teacher candidates and teachers who may have little or no exposure to previous teacher preparation.
Teaching English in Developed Countries
Some TEACH-NOW candidates and graduates are Americans and other English speakers who have gone overseas to teach English in non-English speaking countries. Opportunities abound. Developed nations such as China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Viet Nam, and the United Arab Emirates provide decent salaries, and in some instances, other perks. For example, in South Korea, employers will usually pay for a round-trip flight, apartment, insurance, and a monthly salary around $2,000 or $3,000, plus a month’s bonus. Middle Eastern countries also pay for living expenses and provide a generous salary. Teaching overseas can provide a rich, unforgettable life experience for those seeking to immerse themselves in a different culture. Some college graduates without teaching experience start teaching overseas, fall in love with teaching, and want to get certified back at home. They want to improve their teaching skills and acquire a solid foundation in teaching and learning, pedagogy, and TEACH-NOW is their program of choice.
Alumni Rate TEACH-NOW Highly
Ninety percent of graduates who responded to the 2018 TEACH-NOW alumni survey said they had achieved the goals they had when they started the program. Alumni rated the program as follows:
• “Excellent” — 41 percent
• “Very Good” — 38 percent
• “Good” — 15 percent
TEACH-NOW has over 1,200 graduates and about 1,000 candidates teaching in 80 countries. We’re truly a global digital teacher education program proud to help lead the way in preparing tomorrow’s teachers for tomorrow’s students on tomorrow’s leaning world all over the world.