In any schooling system, the people that learners interact with the most are teachers. Not the minister of education, not even the president but the teachers. Therefore, their presence is like diamond, it’s very precious.
According to the study titled Facing Forward: Schooling for Learning in Africa published in 2018, over the past 15 years, the size of the teacher workforce in Sub-Saharan Africa has expanded rapidly, growing by an average of 4.1 percent a year in primary education and by 6.6 percent a year at the secondary level, much faster than the corresponding global averages of 1.4 percent and 1.7 percent a year, respectively.
The report also states that;
“Sub-Saharan Africa’s teacher workforce grew rapidly between 1999 and 2014, at rates far exceeding those of other regions of low- and middle-income countries. The region’s staffing ratios, reflected in the average student-teacher ratio, remain the least generous among world regions—an unsurprising characteristic in a context of high poverty and budget constraints on recruitment.”
In Sub-Saharan, the growth also presents challenges. More teachers means more funds for education ministries and more effort into managerial activities. This is not so easy in low income countries were budgets are often tight and corruptions looms.
As the economic crisis of the 1990s deepened in Cameroon, the government reduced the state budget and limited teacher recruitment. This move caused the student-teacher ratio to rise sharply. An increase in teacher recruitment would have been a disaster. However, the government later on responded and to the matter by implementing a program targeted at towards making things right.
Learner-teacher ratio is the reason we need more teachers, yet again, the increase of teachers seems to be a challenge too, resulting in managerial difficulties and tight budgets.
Mduduzi Mbiza is a writer, content strategist, researcher, consultant, speaker and author of the book, ‘Human Education: The Voyage of Discovery’. He has contributed his articles on education to Daily Maverick, The South African, Voice360 and EduOne.