Education International
Education International

Unions prepare for World Teachers’ Day 2011

published 22 September 2011 updated 4 October 2011

World Teachers’ Day celebrations around the globe on 5 October will focus attention on the theme of ‘Teachers for Gender Equality’. Many education unions are already gearing up for the event by preparing actions that call for better and equitable working conditions, as well as demanding education systems that empower both girls and boys.

World Teachers’ Day commemorates the signing of the 1966 and 1997 UNESCO Recommendations on the Status of Teachers and Higher Education Teaching Personnel and EI invites everyone to join this celebration of millions of teachers who dedicate their time and energy to teaching children, youth and adults.

In partnership with UNESCO, EI selected the 2011 theme as ‘Teachers for Gender Equality’ in order to encompass equality between female and male teachers; demand access for girls to gender-sensitive and quality education, as well as to focus on the contribution of teachers and education in overcoming gender stereotypes.

The focus on gender equality rounds up a year of the global education movement’s intensive work in this area. For example, 2011 began with EI’s On the Move for Equality Conference in January (Bangkok, Thailand), and continued with the UN Commission on the Status of Women discussing women’s access to and participation in education, especially science and technology, for full employment and decent work in March (New York, USA). The Global Action Week for Education in May concentrated on girls’ right to quality education. This was followed by EI’s World Congress in July (Cape Town, South Africa) which adopted a landmark resolution on gender equality.

A core message throughout this year’s activities has been that equal rights are not realised without action. In many instances the commitment of unions and individuals has enabled the transformation of these rights into reality. World Teachers’ Day 2011 will be no different as many education unions, in all corners of the world, take actions that include:

  • In Algeria, the SATEF teachers’ union is organising a conference on ’Gender equality at the core of inclusive education for an inclusive society’;
  • In Latvia, the LIZDA union is encouraging leaders of the education administration to ‘shadow’ teachers for several hours to get a better understanding of their daily realities;
  • On the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, the SKTU is organising a march through the streets and a radio show to mark World Teachers’ Day; and
  • In Mongolia, the FMESU teachers’ union is planning a conference with 1,500 teachers and the education minister.

EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, said: “On this day we pay homage to teachers’ vital contribution to the intellectual, social and economic development of societies.

“High quality public education is the foundation for creating and sustaining socially just societies, and teachers stand at the centre of this process. On this World Teachers’ Day we will call on governments, parents, communities, national and international institutions to renew their commitment to teachers and teaching, and to commit to equality in education and society.”

Reports, photos, and stories about World Teachers’ Day activities can be emailed to: 5oct@ei-ie.org

The World Teachers’ Day website offers downloads of the official poster in a range of language, as well as the opportunity to send an e-card, or use the toolkit to advocate for better and equal working conditions of teachers: www.5oct.org