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Sharma urges governments to address teacher salaries
"I urge that every effort is made to address teachers' salaries and their other conditions of service, to ensure that young and motivated people are attracted to the profession," he said.
Speaking at an event to mark World Teachers Day 2008, Mr Sharma said that as well as the financial, food and fuel crises facing the world today, there was another, equally important "silent crisis" not dominating the headlines - that of a shortage of teachers.
He explained that no less than 18 million teachers must be found if the Education for All Goals are to be achieved by 2015. Some 13 million of these teachers are needed in the Commonwealth, in the developing countries of Africa and Asia, and in Small States.
"The issues facing the teaching profession may not be as newsworthy as those in the financial sector, but they will impact on the quality of education - and thus on us all."
As well as concerns over a lack of new teachers in Commonwealth countries like India Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Mozambique, there is another important challenge in the diminishing stock of existing teachers, in part due to migration, the Secretary-General warned.
In response to this concern over teacher migration the Commonwealth Protocol on Teacher Recruitment was developed so that countries were protected from unmanaged migration and teachers were given rights if they decide to work abroad. As well as helping Commonwealth countries, this framework also impacts on other countries facing similar difficulties.
It is acknowledged by the African Union, the Organization of American States, UNESCO, the International Labour Organization and Education International as a best practice in Migration and Development.