Global March would like to remind members and partners that 5th October 2010 is World Teachers’ Day. World Teachers’ Day, held annually on October 5th since 1994 when it was created by UNESCO, celebrates teachers worldwide. Its aim is to mobilise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.
This year, the theme will be to pay homage to all teachers who have been directly or indirectly affected by a major crisis. Be it a humanitarian crisis, such as the earthquakes in Haiti and China or the floods in Pakistan, or the global economic crisis that has devastated many developed economies over the past couple of years, the role of teachers and other education personnel is vital to social, economic and intellectual rebuilding.
Global March Governing Board member Education International (EI) and its member organisations worldwide will be organising national and regional events to mark the Day. Indeed, EI has recently been informed by its affiliate member, the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU), that 5 October has been declared a national public holiday in Uganda in honour of World Teachers’ Day. UNATU General Secretary, Teopista Birungi Mayanja, explained that thanks to relentless efforts and a successful advocacy strategy by her union for the last 10 years, the President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, agreed to designate the day as a national holiday as a token of his government’s appreciation for the contribution of teachers to national development.
Although the decision will not take effect until October 2011, President Museveni will attend and oversee national celebrations organised by UNATU in October 2010. He will launch the UNATU Educators of Excellence Awards which will be given to outstanding performing teachers. To mark the occasion, the awards have been billed as the Presidential Educators of Excellence Awards.
All those who are working to provide quality education to children of the world can join teachers and their representative organisations to celebrate the profession and show them support and Global March encourages its members and partners to do so. To help in organising different activities, EI and UNESCO have jointly produced a poster available in a wide range of different languages which can be downloaded from the dedicated World Teachers’ Day web site: www.5oct.org. The web site is available in English, French and Spanish.
To mark World Teachers’ Day, UNESCO has also invited representatives of major international organisations and teachers from different part of the world to its headquarters in Paris, France, to speak about teachers’ role in recovery from conflicts, natural disasters, economic crises, HIV/AIDS and violence in schools.
A photographic exhibition, A Tribute to Teachers, has also been launched and will remain on view at UNESCO headquarters until 19 November 2010. The exhibition brings together portraits that embody the dedication of teachers around the globe in the most trying of circumstances.
“Teachers are the foundation of our education systems,” said Global March Chairperson Kailash Satyarthi. “They are central to the Education For All and MDG 2 efforts in ensuring access to good quality education for all children. We are all aware of the significant deficit in the numbers of teachers worldwide and yet they are central to national development. On behalf of Global March, we would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to teachers and their organisations worldwide for the crucial work they do in advancing the fight against child labour and driving forward the Education For All agenda.”