New York, NY (BBN)- Low salaries, lack of job security, inadequate training and overcrowded classrooms have combined to deter many willing and eligible people from becoming teachers, the United Nations warned on Sunday as it marked World Teachers’ Day with a call to improve the recruitment of candidates.

An estimated 18 million teachers are needed worldwide to achieve universal primary education, one of the ambitious Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which world leaders agreed to try to reach by 2015, according to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The shortage is especially acute in some sub-Saharan African countries: in Rwanda and Mozambique, for example, classes can often have as many as 60 pupils because of a lack of qualified teachers, a UN press statement said.

In a joint message, UNESCO, the International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Program (UNDP) and Education International said the emphasis of the Day this year was on developing teacher policies so as to ensure a foundation for sustainable and high-quality recruitment.

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