Analyzing Patterns of Qualified Teachers and the Impact of Teacher Education Requirements in Small Island Developing States
Keywords:qualified teachers, teacher education, Sustainable Development Goals
This paper analyzes existing patterns in the percentage of qualified teachers in primary school in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as well as patterns in the current required minimum level of education to teach primary school in those countries. Sustainable Development Goal Target 4.C aims to substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers by 2030, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and Small Island Developing States. Using data from the World Policy Centre and the World Bank, this study finds that in a sample of Small Island Developing States (N = 23) the percentage of teachers who are qualified is lower than the global average (78.1 percent compared to 85.6 percent). When looking at minimum teacher educational requirements for primary education, only 29.2 percent of countries require a Bachelor's degree with training (compared to 48.8 percent globally). This study further aimed to determine whether stricter educational requirements for primary school teachers in SIDS is related to higher literacy rates of ages 15-24 and GDP per capita. No significant relationship between educational requirements and either measure was found using a Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficient. However, in a global sample (N = 168), a significant positive correlation between teacher educational requirements and GDP was found. In addition, a marginally significant positive correlation between educational requirements and literacy rate ages 15-24 was found. The results suggest that having qualified teachers and stricter educational requirements may lead to economic and educational benefits, though the results from SIDS-only analyses were inconclusive. This paper also recommends for changes in policy in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4.C, including the development of a clearer universal definition of qualified teacher and the development of programs to help individuals attain teaching credentials and higher education.