World Teachers’ Day

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On October 5, 1966, the Special Intergovernmental Conference on the Status of Teachers in Paris, France, was closed and the “Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers” was signed by representatives of UNESCO and International Labour Organization. On October 12, 1997, the 29th session of UNESCO’s General Conference was opened. During this conference, on November 11, 1997, the “Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel” was adopted.

Teaching plays a pivotal role in ensuring delivery of the internationally recognized 4th Sustainable Development Goal to ensure quality education for all by 2030. This goal cannot be achieved without teachers. The profession needs to recruit 69 million new teachers to meet the 2030 deadline. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the shortage of teachers affects 70% of countries overall and 90% of countries at the secondary level.

In a joint message for the Day, the heads of UNESCO, the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNICEF, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Education International, caution that, “without a new generation of motivated teachers, millions of learners will miss out, or continue to miss out, on their right to a quality education. With teachers being underpaid and undervalued, attracting and retaining talent is a challenge. Attrition rates are rising rapidly worldwide, due in part to precarious employment and scarce opportunities for continuous professional development. Furthermore, there is a lack of resources for children with special education needs and disabilities, refugees and multilingual pupils.”

After the launch by UNESCO’s Futures of Education initiative at the United Nations General Assembly in New-York in September to engage a global re-thinking of education, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay is calling on governments to ensure that teaching can become a profession of choice for young people, dedicating World Teacher’s Day 2019 to Young teachers: the future of the profession.