UNESCO issues statement on World Teachers’ Day
October 5th is World Teachers’ Day and this year’s theme is “Teachers at the Heart of Restoring Education”. This day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO / UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers.
According to the United Nations, the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers “sets benchmarks for the rights and responsibilities of teachers, and standards for their initial preparation and in-service training, recruitment, employment and teaching conditions and learning ”.
UNESCO, ILO, UNICEF and Education International issued a joint declaration for World Teachers’ Day 2021:
“Almost two years after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many education systems are still facing significant disruption. Students and teachers in nearly 60 countries remain affected by full or partial school closures. But whether students learn in person or from a distance, teachers are at the heart of the process.
“The pandemic has highlighted the irreplaceable value of the teaching profession in society but also the difficult working conditions faced by many teachers. Teachers have been on the front line to ensure the continuity of learning when schools are closed and to provide socio-emotional support to their students, especially the most vulnerable. They had to adapt quickly to distance learning and manage new digital tools, often without training. Today, they must assess and manage learning losses in their students, address health and safety issues in the classroom, and take advantage of remote, hybrid and in-person methods to minimize disruption.
“Today we celebrate the exceptional dedication and courage of all teachers, and their ability to adapt and innovate under very difficult and uncertain conditions. They are at the heart of efforts to revive education around the world and are essential to accelerate progress towards inclusive, equitable and quality education for every learner, in all circumstances.
“Now is the time to recognize the exceptional role teachers play and give them the training, professional development, support and working conditions they need to deploy their talent. It is a time of challenges but also an opportunity for rapid transformation to meet the unmet needs that have been multiplied by the pandemic. Sub-Saharan Africa alone needs 15 million more teachers to meet education goals by 2030. Overcoming these challenges requires bold commitment, investment and innovation on a scale like never before.
“A successful resumption of education begins with ensuring teacher well-being, adequate compensation and safety, including their prioritization of immunization with other key workers.
“A successful recovery in education requires an investment in more teachers and in training and professional development opportunities, so that educators can enrich their practice and acquire the skills necessary to effectively integrate and use educational technologies to support learning and adapt to a variety of learner needs.
“The resumption of education will be successful if it is carried out hand in hand with teachers – giving them voice and space to participate in decision-making and respecting their pedagogical knowledge and expertise while we are reinventing the way out of the crisis and building more resilient education systems.
“On World Teachers’ Day, we don’t just celebrate every teacher. We call on countries to invest in them and prioritize them in efforts to revive education around the world so that every learner has access to a qualified and supported teacher. Let us show solidarity with our teachers!
To celebrate World Teachers’ Day, UNESCO and its co-organizing partners will organize a series of online events from October 4-8, 2021. To view the full program, please visit https://events.unesco.org/event?id=2479558071.