“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”.