News - Country: Global - Theme: Status of Teachers
On 5 October, World Teachers’ Day, Education International, with its affiliates and partners worldwide, will highlight the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, and the crucial role teachers will play in ensuring it is implemented.
“Every year on World Teachers’ Day, we celebrate educators and the central role they play in providing children everywhere with a quality education,” says a Joint Message on the occasion of the World Teachers’ Day (WTD) signed by UNESCO, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), UNICEF, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Education International (EI).
“Today, as the global community comes together to support the new 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, that central role has never been more significant”, according to the global organisations.
The new global education goal, SDG 4, which is at the heart of the Education 2030 Agenda, calls for inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all.
The global organisations underline the fact that “realising this goal is critical to achieving all our global development targets … for strong societies depend on well-educated citizens and a well-trained workforce”.
This agenda can only be realised if society will “invest in recruiting, supporting, and empowering teachers”, they add. But around the world today, “far too many teachers are undervalued and disempowered”.
The UNESCO Institute for Statistics further estimates that countries will need to recruit 12.5 million primary teachers to achieve the goal of universal primary education by 2020. Over four million new lower secondary teacher positions also need to be created to achieve universal lower secondary education by 2020.
Now, by committing to the Education 2030 agenda, the UN Member States agree to substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers. This will be done through various measures including international cooperation around teacher training in developing countries, especially the least developed countries and small island developing states. This is an important step and, now, “we must live up to these commitments”.
Governments should “redouble efforts to engage in dialogue with teachers and their organisations”, and “intensify efforts to provide sufficiently qualified, well deployed, motivated and supported teachers to every school, every community, and every child”, the organisations declare.
The global organisations also insist that teachers should be empowered through the provision of decent working conditions, well-resourced, safe and healthy working environments, trust, professional autonomy, and academic freedom.
The organisations reiterate that the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (1966), the UNESCO Recommendation concerning on the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel (1997), and the ILO Policy Guidelines on the Promotion of Decent Work for Early Childhood Education Personnel (2014) are essential international standards and benchmarks for the teaching profession.
That is why, on the first WTD of a new education agenda for global development, the organisations appeal to the international community to value, support, and empower teachers globally: “For it is they who will educate a new generation of children who, in turn, will carry forward all our goals to build a better world for all”.
EI affiliates’ celebrate WTD
This year’s WTD in the context of SDG 4 will be celebrated in diverse ways by EI’s many affiliates across the world. Below are a few examples.
In Africa, the Somalia National Union of Teachers will organise WTD celebrations in the capital city, Mogadishu, organising a capacity building seminar for teachers and school administrators from selected areas of Mogadishu and elsewhere in Somalia. Teacher unionists will also set up activities involving art, such as poetry, storytelling, drama, music, painting or drawing, to be performed by school children.
In Mali, the Syndicat National de l’Education et de la Culture explained that WTD will be under the auspices of the Education Minister. National teacher trade unions will participate in a major conference-debate to discuss teachers’ involvement in the education policymaking process. A joint advocacy document on how to involve teacher unions in the elaboration of education policies and curricula, targeting education authorities, will also be published.
In the Bamako district (Mali’s capital city), a debate about the promotion of quality education and a sustainable society for all, involving all actors in the education system, will be broadcast on the radio and TV. In addition, information and awareness-raising meetings about the impact of teachers and education personnel for quality education and sustainable societies for all will be organised in the six communes of the Bamako district.
In Asia, the Central Organisation of Teachers in Pakistan will organise a big rally in collaboration with civil society and other teachers’ organisations. It will also arrange a one-day seminar in the province of Sindh on ‘Empowering teachers-building sustainable societies’.
In Sri Lanka, the All Ceylon Union of Teachers has already been holding awareness-raising activities in the island’s five districts on the need to empower teachers for quality education for all, and to build sustainable societies. At the end of September, the education union organised a media conference focusing on the 2015 WTD theme. They are lobbying politicians and education authorities, and will hand over a memorandum on the need to empower teachers and procedures to be adopted to reach that goal. Finally, later in October, national events highlighting WTD will be held in the country’s Western and Eastern provinces.
In Europe, the Latvian Educational and Scientific Workers’ Trade Union (LIZDA) will survey three key parties in education – municipality officials, teachers, school administrations. The findings will be summarised, and the union will highlight the main differences, and perceived problems, in the collected opinions. LIZDA will seek solutions and initiate steps in the near future to improve the daily workload of teachers, motivating them to grow in their profession.
LIZDA will also organise discussions in five regions of Latvia, in which deputies, teachers, representatives of school administrations, LIZDA representatives, and parents’ representatives will participate. They will record municipality officials visiting schools, answering the survey, and then use the video material to promote WTD on the LIZDA website, social networks, and other media.
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Independent Trade Union of Primary School Education of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ITUPSEBH) and the Trade Union of Secondary and Higher Education (TUSHENSC BiH) distributed WTD posters and promotional materials and will send congratulatory letters to teachers to mark WTD. A ceremony to be attended by representatives of government and non-government organisations, like UNESCO and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, will be jointly organised by the trade unions and the Federal Ministry of Education and Sciences. During this event, the most prominent national teachers will be given awards for outstanding commitment to the teaching profession.
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