Every year on 5 October, World Teachers' Day (WTD) provides the opportunity to increase public awareness of the role of teachers worldwide and their importance in society. In 2005 as in every other year, EI has sought, in 2005, the cooperation of its affiliates to build a world-wide campaign claiming the teachers' right to decent working conditions, including the need to be properly trained before and during service. Indeed, teacher training was the focus of this year's WTD: "Training for a Stronger Teaching Force!"
Throughout the world, from North America to the Pacific, a wide range of activities were undertaken both at local and national levels. Some affiliates like UtdanningsForbundet in Norway, SNEPPCI in Côte d'Ivoire, NUTP in Malaysia and TOPPS in Philippines organised forums and seminars, with the participation of teachers and politicians, around the main theme. It was also an opportunity for some affiliates to show their achievements or to help carry out programmes in less developed countries. In Canada, CTF organised an Open House at their offices in Ottawa where local teachers, federal politicians and NGOs were invited to examine their ongoing work on professional development in the Project Overseas in Africa, the Caribbean and other countries. The Danish Union of Teachers decided to sell mints in promotional tins to collect funds for teacher education programmes in Northern Ghana. The UK National Union of Teachers held a joint reception and photo exhibition with Education Action International (a UK-based charity) under the theme "Teachers in Adversity", to celebrate and recognise the invaluable contribution made by teachers across the world. The Australian Education Union celebrated WTD on the last Friday of October to avoid school holidays, and arranged interviews in the national press to publicise their event. ACT in the Philippines celebrated their 12th National Congress from 7-9th October with the theme “Quality Teachers for Quality Education”. Other organisations, like the GTU in Mauritius and the SEW/OGB in Luxemburg, included their current educational issues in their agendas for WTD, and took the opportunity to discuss their policies at symposiums and conferences attended by their Ministers of Education. ACT of the Philippines also lobbied the EFA national plans, as well as issues related to pre- and in-service education for teachers. CTERA in Argentina convened a two-day seminar to discuss the government education policy. In cases like Cyprus, where they held a football match involving Greek- and Turkish-speaking teachers, celebrations took into account the country’s conflict and promoted unity and equality in education. Others have opted for more colourful events, but not less politically involved, where either students or teachers' talents created something… The Cook Islands Teachers' Institute (CITI) planned a Poetry Writing competition based on the theme "Quality Teachers for Quality Education". In Slovenia, ESTUS organised concerts, performances, visits to museums and galleries, and even climbing! Furthermore, teachers received awards for their long-term efforts in Sri Lanka, Estonia and Algeria. UNESCO and other UN agencies, such as the ILO, UNDP and UNICEF, support WTD. Each year those four UN agencies issue a joint message on World Teachers’ Day. UNESCO shares the major concerns for teacher issues with EI, and also the need to recognise the importance of training quality teachers to achieve the six Education For All goals and the Millennium Development Goals. Therefore, the UNESCO field offices have supported teachers' unions activities in countries like Dominica, Estonia and India. Teachers’ voices were heard throughout the world on 5th October. Working together towards this goal made, once again, a success of World Teachers' Day. Check the WTD section of the EI website www.ei-ie.org/worldteachersday. Queries, requests and feedback concerning WTD activities can be addressed at firstname.lastname@example.org