World Teachers’ Day 2023: Rising Above the Teacher Shortage Crisis



In India, we pay homage to our teachers every year on September 5th. But the world celebrates a group of unsung heroes who wield pens and knowledge rather than capes and superpowers on 5th October every year as World Teachers’ Day. It is a day dedicated to recognizing and honoring the pivotal role educators play in shaping the future of our society. This year’s theme, “The Teachers We Need for the Education We Want: The Global Imperative to Reverse the Teacher Shortage,” calls attention to a critical issue facing not only India but the entire world – the scarcity of teachers.

However, beyond this day of homage lies a stark reality. According to recent research, India faces a daunting shortage of over one million school teachers, both in traditional classrooms and the increasingly important digital realm. The ‘2021 State of the Education Report for India: No Teacher, No Class’ by UNESCO paints a grim picture, revealing that approximately 1.1 lakh schools in India are single-teacher entities, and a staggering 19% of teaching positions, totaling 11.16 lakh, remain vacant nationwide. These numbers not only highlight the shortage but also underscore the rural-urban disparity, gender imbalance, and the myriad challenges that teachers face. But India is not alone in this crisis. Globally, the shortage of teachers is a critical issue, particularly in low and middle-income countries. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics warns that nearly 69 million new teachers are needed to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030.

In the realm of education, there exists a fine line that separates teachers from real-life educators. While teachers impart knowledge within the confines of a classroom, educators transcend these boundaries, touching lives and breaking barriers. On this World Teachers’ Day, here are some real-life heroes who don’t wear capes but wield pens and paper, proving that it only takes one educator to change a million lives.

Dr. Bharat Saran: A Doctor of Dreams


Dr. Bharat Saran’s journey began in the challenging landscape of Rajasthan’s Barmer district. Born into a world where resources were scarce, he faced an education system devoid of teachers and devoid of guidance. Despite these odds, he held an unshakable dream of becoming a doctor, a dream that would lead to profound change.

Completing his 12th grade in a government school in 2003, Dr. Saran’s path was marked by economic hardships. Yet, undeterred, he joined a coaching institute in Kota, Rajasthan, while simultaneously tutoring financially disadvantaged students. Years of unwavering dedication bore fruit when he secured admission to a government medical college in Kota to pursue MBBS. However, his mission went beyond personal success; it led to the establishment of the ‘Fifty Villagers Seva Sansthan’ in Barmer, dedicated to providing free hostel facilities and educational support to orphaned students who had completed their secondary education.

Dr. Lalita Sharma: Fostering Excellence through Diversity

Dr. Lalita Sharma, within the Abhakunj Welfare Society, has woven a diverse team of teachers and volunteers who selflessly dedicate their time and skills. This organization thrives on the contributions of retired professionals, homemakers, working professionals, and interns, with Dr. Lalita herself mentoring teachers, including retired professionals and engineers. Their collective mission is to shape the lives of underprivileged children, with a team of trained volunteers and interns from universities and colleges making valuable contributions.

Aarti Naik: Breaking the Chains of Slum-based Girls’ Education Challenges


Aarti Naik’s story unfolds in Mumbai’s sprawling slums. Despite adversity and a substandard education system, she pursued her dream after failing her 10th grade, defying her parents’ wishes. Her determination revealed the urgent need to transform the outlook on girls’ education in her community. Aarti launched an initiative to reshape mindsets and break the cycle of poverty ensnaring many young girls in Indian slums.

Aditya Kumar aka ‘Cycle Wale Guruji’: Pedaling Towards Education

Aditya Kumar from Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, embarked on an extraordinary mission – providing quality education to underprivileged children while cycling across India. As ‘Cycle Wale Guruji,’ he made every place he stopped a classroom for the day, symbolizing the extraordinary efforts some educators make to bring quality education to those in need.

Keshav Datta: Creating Scalable Models for Social Welfare through Education

Keshav Datta recognized the transformative power of education from a young age and established the Sarvahitey NGO to create scalable models for positive change. His unwavering belief in the potential of education is inspiring a movement where everyone can contribute in their unique way, forging a better tomorrow for all in India.


On this World Teachers’ Day, let our hearts unite in celebration. We honor not only the heroes of yesteryears but also stand in solidarity with every educator shaping the future. They blur the lines between the roles we assign and showcase the limitless possibilities when we embrace the spirit of true education. Their tireless dedication and boundless passion illuminate the path of knowledge for generations to come. Together, we can uplift these unsung champions and ensure that the beacon of education continues to shine brightly, lighting the way for a brighter tomorrow.

To know more about such Educators, read our special issue dedicated to “Teacher Warriors” Read Here


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