World Teachers’ Day: why the 5 of October?
In 1994, UNESCO proclaimed 5 October World Teachers’ Day, in celebration of the great step made for teachers in 1966 when a special intergovernmental conference convened by UNESCO in Paris in cooperation with the ILO adopted the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers.
This recommendation sets forth the rights and responsibilities of teachers, and international standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions. It also contains many recommendations for teachers’ participation in educational decisions through consultation and negotiation with educational authorities. Since its adoption, the Recommendation has been considered an important set of guidelines to promote teachers’ status in the interest of quality education.
In addition 5 October celebrates the adoption by the UNESCO General Conference in 1997 of the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel.
Why a day for teachers?
World Teachers’ Day held annually on 5 October is a UNESCO initiative, a day devoted to appreciating, assessing, and improving the educators of the world. The real point is to provide a time to look at and address issues pertaining to teachers. Strangely one of the most central, vital professionals to society does not receive the respect it deserves in some parts of the world.
WTD is a natural extension of UNESCO's all year round work of promoting teachers, ensuring that this profession, so vital to the healthy functioning of society, is itself "healthy". Teachers are a normative indicator of social health.
Why an international day, doesn’t each country have very specific issues?
Teachers are producing global citizens, so they are global teachers, who need to situate their advances on a global level. WTD is an opportunity to rethink national issues facing teachers from an international perspective, to benchmark progress made by national teachers in a global context. UNESCO provides the best global context to address and exchange ideas across borders.
What can I do?
Everyone can help by celebrating the profession, by generating awareness about teacher issues, by ensuring that teacher respect is part of the natural order of things. Take the opportunity of the day to discuss, compare, learn, argue, share and improve.
Partners all over the world celebrate and organize events for WTD, you can contact UNESCO (wtd(at)unesco.org) to find out who may be organizing an event near you or organize your own local event next World Teachers’ Day 5 October.