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As World Teacher’s Day Approaches, Take a Look at the International Standards Designed to Empower Teachers Globally


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared October 5 as World Teachers’ Day in 1994 to raise awareness to the importance of the teaching profession on an international level and on an annual basis.

Ever since, over 100 countries demonstrate appreciation for teachers through cultural celebrations year after year.

More than just a day, World Teachers’ Day represents a historic moment on October 5, 1966, that UNESCO defined the Status of Teachers, a definition that represents an international standard of the importance of teachers to the global community.

Here are some highlights from the recommendation that also remind us of the continuous work that needs to be done to strengthen the teaching profession here in the U.S.:


"Since the teacher is a valuable specialist, his work should be so organized and assisted as to avoid waste of his time and energy.”


Teacher Salaries


  • ”Teacher salaries should . . . reflect the importance to society of the teaching function and hence the importance of teachers as well as the responsibilities of all kinds which fall upon them from the time of their entry into the service.”


  • Teacher salaries should also "provide teachers with the means to ensure a reasonable standard of living for themselves and their families as well as to invest in further education or in the pursuit of cultural activities, thus enhancing their professional qualification.”


Teacher Preparation and Continuing Education


  • "The purpose of a teacher-preparation [program] should be to develop in each student his general education and personal culture, his ability to teach and educate others, an awareness of the principles which underlie good human relations, within and across national boundaries, and a sense of responsibility to contribute both by teaching and by example to social, cultural and economic progress."


  • "Authorities, in consultation with teachers' organizations, should promote the establishment of a wide system of in-service education, available free to all teachers. Such a system should provide a variety of arrangements and should involve the participation of teacher-preparation institutions, scientific and cultural institutions, and teachers' organizations. Refresher courses should be provided, especially for teachers returning to teaching after a break in service.”


Fixing the Teacher Shortage


  • "Authorities should recognize that improvements in the social and economic status of teachers, their living and working conditions, their terms of employment and their career prospects are the best means of overcoming any existing shortage of competent and experienced teachers, and of attracting to and retaining in they teaching profession substantial numbers of fully qualified persons.“


This World’s Teacher Day, let us remember these decades-old principles as we acknowledge the plight of many teachers across the world and within our own country.


Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor





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