United Nations High Level Panel forwards urgent solutions to address the global shortage of teachers

published 15 September 2023 updated 27 February 2024

Governments worldwide must act decisively to address the global education crisis by elevating and transforming the role, status, and future of the teaching profession according to recommendations from a United Nations High Level Panel.

The UN High-level Panel on the Teaching Profession moved on September 15th toward finalizing a set of more than 50 recommendations to be presented to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

“What we are seeing here today is historic,” said Education International President and UN panelist Susan Hopgood, “and that is an unprecedented agreement not only about the challenges facing education systems and the teaching profession, but about the specific steps all of us can take in concert to make real progress.”

Included in the draft recommendations are a series of urgent calls for government action, including ensuring that teachers and their organizations can engage in social dialogue with governments, including collective bargaining, and policy dialogue on all matters affecting their profession and that this same collaborative framework be the principle means for developing policies on education, teaching, and the teaching profession.

The Panel also called for governments to establish national commissions with relevant financial authorities, representatives of teachers’ organizations and others to immediately tackle shortages of adequately trained teachers.

The Panel also called on teachers’ organizations to develop, implement, and monitor professional standards for teachers to hold the profession accountable to the highest standards, while urging governments to begin phasing out the use of contract teachers and the hiring of unqualified teachers to fill teacher shortages.

Responding to growing global crises on education, the Panel called for the establishment of a Global Fund for Teachers in Emergencies to provide payment of salaries of teachers working in crisis-affected contexts and urged that international financial institutions end all public sector wage bill constraints and austerity measures that have severely depressed education spending globally.

One of the main outcomes of the United Nations Transforming Education Summit in 2022, the High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession, brings together key stakeholders in the education sector to help tackle the growing teacher shortage around the world.