World Teachers’ Day

Held annually since 1994 on 5th October, World Teachers’ Day, also known as International Teachers’ Day, commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the ILO/UNESCO Teachers’ Status Recommendation of 1966. It is a standard-setting mechanism that discusses teachers’ status and conditions around the world. This recommendation outlines requirements relating to the policies of education workers, recruiting and initial training, as well as continuing education, jobs, and working conditions for teachers. World Teachers’ Day (WTD) is not a public holiday but a worldwide observance. To supplement the 1966 Recommendation by covering teaching and research staff in higher education, the Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Workers was adopted in 1997. The goal of World Teachers’ Day is to “appreciating, assessing and improving the educators of the world” and to provide an opportunity to discuss teacher-related and teaching issues. In several countries around the world, on or around October 5, numerous activities are organized. These include events in general to celebrate teachers or others who have made a special contribution to a specific culture. Conferences highlighting the value of teachers and learning, additional teacher training sessions, recruitment drives for the teaching profession among university students or other suitably trained professionals, and events to enhance the profile of teachers and their role in the media may also mark the day.

With the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education and the committed objective (SDG 4.c) to identify teachers as crucial to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Education, WTD has become an opportunity to make progress and focus on how to overcome the remaining challenges of promoting the teaching profession. UNESCO and Education International (EI) are organizing an annual campaign to celebrate World Teachers’ Day to help give the world a greater understanding of teachers and the role they play in the advancement of students and society. In organizing World Teachers’ Day activities in many countries, trade unions or other professional organizations that serve teachers play an important role. These include:

  • The Australian Education Union.
  • The Canadian Teachers’ Federation.
  • The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (Canada).
  • The All India Secondary Teachers’ Federation.
  • The Japan Teachers’ Union.
  • The Teachers Council (New Zealand).
  • The National Union of Teachers (United Kingdom).
  • The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (United Kingdom).
  • The National Education Association (United States).

UNESCO notes that everybody can benefit by celebrating the profession, by raising awareness of the problems of teachers, and by ensuring that respect for teachers is part of the normal order of things. During this day, schools and students, for example, plan an occasion for teachers. In cooperation with UNICEF, the International Labor Organization, and Education International, World Teachers’ Day is being co-convened. In addition, foreign, national, and local activities are coordinated by international organizations such as TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Education International. Posters are displayed in some places and pupils and former students are encouraged to give e-cards or letters of gratitude to educators who have made a remarkable or unforgettable contribution to their education.