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Press releases > Paris 02/10/2000
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(5 OCTOBER 2000)
Paris, 2 October 2000 - On the occasion of World Teachers' Day, celebrated October 5, UNESCO Director-General Ko´chiro Matsuura; International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General Juan SomavÝa; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Mark Malloch Brown; and UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy launched a joint message entitled World Teachers' Day 2000: Expanding Horizons.
  On World Teachers' Day 2000, we wish to pay homage to the role of teachers in expanding the learner's horizons and also to put the spotlight on the expanding horizons for teachers in the new knowledge society of the 21st century.

Before undertaking any type of learning, no matter how early or late in life, the student almost always has an idea of where the process will lead. But it is only after a person's education is underway that new vistas of activity, ability and understanding start coming into view. Time and time again, this expanding horizon is thanks to an experienced teacher. Most people have areas of interest or skills that became central to their lives after a teacher introduced them to a subject they may otherwise never have encountered.

Today's rapidly changing world requires people to draw increasingly upon their education, not only in terms of their level of knowledge, but also in terms of the skills that allow them to adapt to change. This redefines education to mean learning throughout life rather than a single experience in school. Accordingly, lifelong learning must be available to all. Around the world, teachers are already helping students to acquire the education and training for shaping and managing their lives, to learn how to become successful life-long learners, always able to broaden their horizons.
A changing world environment that puts new emphasis on knowledge and learning skills also expands the horizons of the teaching profession. Information and communications technologies have made information more easily available. Teachers are exploring the best pedagogic use of these new tools, more learner-centred teaching practices, and new forms of open and distance learning. Indeed the transmission of information alone cannot lead to a knowledge society without the involvement of devoted teachers, adopting more than ever new methods to bring the learning process beyond rote memorization. This task enhances teacher professionalism, and depends on teachers themselves as lifelong learners, expanding their own learning horizons.
At the same time, teachers are educating a diversifying range of learners from increasingly varied backgrounds, of different ages and with more varied needs - individual, workplace, informal and adult. Teachers can act as catalysts for change by encouraging families and communities to ensure access to quality education, particularly for girls. The teaching and learning horizon is also expanding significantly in the area of values education - such as environmental education, human rights and peace education, health education - which contributes to a broader notion of the fundamental aims of education.
Today we pay homage to the professional commitment of teachers who, despite sometimes poor working conditions, limited resources and inadequate remuneration, help learners and learning move forward. To continue to innovate in favour of expanding horizons, teachers need the active support of the communities and societies that they serve, and they need to be fully involved in educational reform decisions. In this way they can help to ensure rights-based, child-friendly learning environments, which are inclusive of children, effective with children, healthy and protective of children, and gender-sensitive.
On the occasion of World Teachers' Day, we appeal to the world community, to governments, parliamentarians, parents, community leaders, the media, non-governmental organizations, civil society institutions, the private sector, educational institutions, teachers' unions and associations to renew their commitment of support to teachers. We call for the implementation of the guidelines on good practices contained in the ILO-UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers and in the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel. We also ask governments to find specific ways of honouring the pledge made at the World Education Forum held in Dakar, Senegal, in April, 2000 and endorsed in the Dakar Framework for Action to enhance the status, morale and professionalism of teachers. This is the best way of showing support for teachers, who are and will remain in this new century the core of the education system.

Ko´chiro Matsuura: Director-General United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Juan Somavia : Director-General International Labour Office (ILO)

Mark Malloch Brown : Administrator United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Programme

Carol Bellamy : Executive-Director United Nations Children's Fund(UNICEF)

For more information:
contact the World Education Forum media co-ordination office
at tel (221) 826 80 52 or (221) 641 8281
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