World Teachers’ Day, held annually on October 5th since 1994 – when it was created by UNESCO – celebrates teachers worldwide. Its aim is to mobilise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.
Having been a teacher at pre-primary, primary, secondary, tertiary and university levels I can understand the highs and lows of being a teacher. Witnessing teachers in Colombia who were risking their lives, being between the FARC and the Military, who were carrying on ‘because they love the children” makes you humble as well as proud of being part of that profession.
Having facilitated training in countries coming out of conflict such as Timor Leste, Chad, Azerbaijan and Mozambique you are again reminded of the difficult contexts in which teachers have to work each day, often not being paid (such as in Comoros) and realise that the money that is wasted on military hardware could be far better spent. I could go on….but let’s celebrate!
“Take a stand for teachers!” is the 2012 motto for World Teachers’ Day. Celebrations are being organized around the world. ”Teachers… ultimately determine our collective ability to innovate, to invent, to find solutions for tomorrow. Nothing will ever replace a good teacher. Nothing is more important than supporting them.” (Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General). World Teachers’ Day is held annually on 5 October to celebrate the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels. It also commemorates the anniversary of the 1966 signature of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers.
Taking a stand for the teaching profession means providing adequate training, ongoing professional development, and protection for teachers’ rights.
All over the world, a quality education offers hope and the promise of a better standard of living. However, there can be no quality education without competent and motivated teachers.
On this day, we call for teachers to receive supportive environments, adequate quality training as well as ‘safeguards’ for teachers’ rights and responsibilities…We expect a lot from teachers – they, in turn, are right to expect as much from us. This World Teachers’ Day is an opportunity for all to take a stand.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General
Teachers are among the many factors that keep children in school and influence learning. They help students think critically, process information from several sources, work cooperatively, tackle problems and make informed choices.
Why take a stand for teachers? Because the profession is losing status in many parts of the world. World Teachers’ Day calls attention the need to raise the status of the profession – not only for the benefit of teachers and students, but for society as a whole, to acknowledge the crucial role teachers play in building the future.
An estimated 1.7 million more teachers are required to reach Universal Primary Education by 2015. While recruiting new teachers, the quality of teaching and learning must also be improved and schools should be supported in their efforts to attract qualified teachers. The challenge of quantity must be met head-on,while ensuring quality and equity.
As an example of what teachers have to do in conflict and post conflict contexts, read on….