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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

The Director-General participates in ceremony devoted to World Teachers’ Day

The Director-General participates in ceremony devoted to World Teachers’ Day

On Friday, 5 October, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, delivered a message on the occasion of UNESCO’s celebration of World Teachers’ Day.

This Day, which is celebrated every year, commemorates the signing of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. This Recommendation and the subsequent 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel provide the basic guidelines for enhancing the position of teachers in the interests of providing quality education for all.

The message delivered by Mr Matsuura was co-signed by Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF, Kemal Dervis, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Thulas Nxesi, President of Education International.

In his address, Mr Matsuura underscored that this is an occasion to celebrate teachers and the central role they play in efforts to achieve quality education for all children. “Teachers are a crucial element in the achievement of the international education goals of Education for All (EFA) and of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These commit governments to providing a good quality education for all children by 2015.”

Mr Matsuura went on to note that “the growing shortage of qualified teachers is the main challenge to the realization of these goals. UNESCO estimates that by 2015, 18 million new teachers will be needed globally – 4 million in Africa alone.”

The Director-General underscored that “high rates of population growth, increasing enrolment rates and the impact of HIV and AIDS in some sub-Saharan African, Arab and South and East Asian countries, and large numbers of teachers leaving the profession combined with shortages in some subject areas in more developed countries, [also] seriously threaten these goals.”

“We must strive to work together to build systems and structures that will enable and support ongoing and efficient planning and management of this crucial element in achieving quality education for all – the teacher,” he concluded.

The ceremony was followed by a high-level panel discussion on the issues and challenges facing the teaching profession and on the achievement of Education for All. A workshop is also taking place around the celebration on how to improve comparative indicators on teachers and teaching. This is a key aspect of UNESCO’s Teacher Training Initiative for Sub-Saharan Africa (TTISSA), which aims over ten years to support Member States in building the teaching force they need to reach the EFA goals.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 129-2007
  • 05-10-2007
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