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Held annually on 5 October since 1994, World Teachers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. This Recommendation sets benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions.
The Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel was adopted in 1997 to complement the 1966 Recommendation by covering teaching and research personnel in higher education.
With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, and the dedicated target (SDG 4.c) recognizing teachers as key to the achievement of the Education 2030 agenda, WTD has become the occasion to mark progress and reflect on ways to counter the remaining challenges for the promotion of the teaching profession.
World Teachers’ Day is co-convened in partnership with UNICEF, UNDP, the International Labour Organization, and Education International.
What UNESCO is doing for teachers
Teachers are one of the most influential and powerful forces for equity, access and quality in education and key to sustainable global development. However, their training, recruitment, retention, status and working conditions remain preoccupying.
Moreover, there is a worldwide shortage of well-trained teachers. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), 69 million teachers must be recruited to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030.
UNESCO has made the supply of well-trained, supported and qualified teachers one of its top priorities. This focus has been reinforced by Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education through the Education 2030 Framework for Action, which has a target calling for a substantial increase in qualified teachers through the betterment of their training, recruitment, retention, status, working conditions and motivation (target 4.c).
UNESCO hosts the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 and they work together to address the “teacher gap” as well as tackle the issues raised in target 4.c and in the Incheon Declaration, which specifically calls for Member States to “ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems”.
UNESCO’s work regarding the development of teachers mainly focuses on five areas:
1). Monitoring of international normative instruments regarding the teaching profession;
2). Supporting Member States in the development and review of teacher policies and strategies;
3). Developing capacities for enhancing the quality of teaching and learning;
4). Improving the knowledge and evidence base for the implementation and monitoring of the teacher target in Education 2030; and
5). Undertaking advocacy and knowledge sharing for the promotion of quality teaching and learning.