IB Director General Dr Siva Kumari speaks about the importance of supporting teachers

During the IB Global Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the IB's Director General Dr Siva Kumari spoke to Tes about the importance of inspiring teachers to stay in the field.

A common problem that schools face is a shortage of teachers, and every year schools are impacted as teachers quit their job to pursue other professions. This has led to what some call a teacher recruitment crisis, and Dr Siva Kumari believes that all schools need to understand this common problem: "Is the profession inspiring teachers to stay in the field? Are we treating them with respect and are we paying them enough?".

Dr Kumari views the teacher recruitment crisis as a relevant problem that need to be discussed: "It is worrisome to me that society hasn’t stopped and thought about the teacher recruitment crisis. It seems like a very fundamental question to stop and ask. Policymakers, politicians, and frankly everyone needs to think about it".

One way of supporting and inspiring teachers is to provide them with opportunities for professional development. "In its small way, the IB is financing 20 scholarships for teachers to take a master’s in education at an online institution called the University of People" says Siva. However, despite all the technological advancements taking place in education including artificial intelligence (AI), Dr Kumari firmly believes that teachers will never be on the list of professionals at risk of being replaced by AI.

"A lot of people say teachers will be out of business because we are going to be learning from machines, but the role of a teacher and the connection a teacher develops in the classroom is central and unique" says Siva.

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