Celebrating 50 Years of the IL0/UNESCO Recommendation on Teachers
Teachers make education happen - support them, urged UNESCO Director-General at an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the joint UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers at the New York Public Library, on September 20, 2016.
“Nothing can substitute a good teacher. Teachers are frontline change-makers, for human rights and dignity, for crafting new ways of living together in societies that are transforming and are increasingly diverse,” said Ms Bokova. “For this they deserve respect and support, the right training and conditions, the appropriate status and qualifications. This is why the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation on the Status of Teachers is so important.”
Adopted by over 75 countries, the Recommendation sets out the rights and responsibilities of teachers, and continues to remain the backbone of the UN approach to the teaching profession. It encompasses issues related to qualifications, status, teachers’ rights and working conditions, the purpose of education and government responsibilities.
“The world has changed since 1966 but more than ever we must remain true to the spirit of the 1966 Recommendation,” she said.
The Director-General pointed to enduring challenges at two levels: first, demand for teachers in low and lower-middle income countries is projected to rise by 60 percent between 2015 and 2030; second, quality must be enhanced through effective and consistent training, sharper teaching methods and more gender-sensitive approaches. Ms Bokova also drew attention to the new focus on education for human rights and global citizenship.
Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization, applauded the recognition of teachers in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda but also focused on the challenges ahead. “How can we expect so much from teachers when their labour conditions remain so difficult in so many parts of the world How will we do things differently in the framework of the 2030 Agenda to ensure that teachers receive the status and standing they deserve?”
He underlined the critical importance of involving teachers at all levels of policy and decision-making that affect them. “We firmly believe that sound social dialogue is the surest way forward to sustainable education reform and effective teachers.”
Susan Hopgood, President of Education International, stressed the importance of setting international quality standards for the profession, one of the Organization’s key areas of work. “Teacher training and professional development should be at the center of efforts to achieve quality education for all,” she said.
The event, held in the margins of the 71st UN General Assembly, was hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative and the Varkey Foundation, in partnership with Education International and the Brookings Institution.
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