From Uganda to Canada, Spain to New Zealand, educators worldwide have celebrated their profession, asking for more freedom and autonomy to deliver quality education to all.
With academic freedom and empowerment the focus of this year’s World Teachers’ Day (WTD), educators around the world took advantage of their day to highlight the many challenges faced by the profession. From political persecution to precarious working conditions, poverty and harassment, teachers made their voices heard. As Education International (EI) Deputy General Secretary David Edwards put it a podcast released yesterday, “like many other risky and socially highly valuable professions, teachers everywhere should be protected, not persecuted”.
You can find here his speech at the WTD main event at the UNESCO's headquarters in Paris, France.
Statements, activities, support
Education International was joined by its affiliates and partners around the globe, both with actions on the ground as well as on social media. Many organisations published statements directed at policymakers with the most pressing demands to make quality teaching a reality.
To mark World Teachers' Day, UCU (UK) wrote to the universities minister Jo Johnson asking him to improve protections for academic freedom in higher education. In Spain, FECCOO adopted a resolution stressing the role of Teachers in the education of better citizens.
The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) awarded the Union Nationale des Normaliens/Normaliennes et Éducateurs/Éducatrices d’Haïti (UNNOEH) with the CTF Norm Goble World Teachers’ Day Award, in recognition for its WTD activities.
The Argentinian CTERA published a letter from its General Secretary Sonia Alesso, stressing the interconnection between education and politics: “an education project that wants to foster democracy and empowerment has to be reflected in politics, with the guarantee of free quality public education as a social and human right”. Alesso cited the late General Secretary of CTERA, Stella Maldonado, who said that “if you become a teacher it is because you do believe there is a future for the children you are teaching”.
John Bangs, senior consultant with EI, published an article in The Times Education supplement reminding that "on World Teachers' Day, we need to remember that bullied and demoralised students do not do well. Neither do teachers".
An opinion piece by EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen and GPE Chief Executive Officer Alice Albright looks into what teachers need to be more effective in the classroom
High impact on social media
Teachers were praised in TV shows, thanked by celebrities, applauded by their school communities, and many social media users who heard about WTD for the first time