UNESCO takes a stand for teachers

A teacher during a math class in Dili, East Timor. October 5 is World Teacher's Day. Photo by: Martine Perret / U.N.

UNESCO marks World Teachers’ Day 2012 (Oct. 5) with a new strategy that will guide the agency’s efforts to improve the quality of teaching around the world.

This year’s celebration focuses on the slogan “Take a stand for teachers.” This was chosen, according to UNESCO, to raise the profile of the teaching profession and encourage more people to teach.

UNESCO’s strategy, which covers the period 2012-2015, aims to contribute to this goal through three priorities: address shortage, improve quality and inform the debate about teachers.

To address the shortage of teachers, UNESCO will focus on developing the capacity of institutions tasked to recruit and manage teachers.  Planned activities include support for teacher training institutions and policy formation as well as helping create feedback mechanisms. These activities are to be funded by resources from China and two UNESCO mechanisms: the Capacity Development for Education for All and International Task Force on Teachers for Education for All.

The strategy says the focus of activities in this area is the sub-Saharan African region, where some 1.8 million teachers are needed by 2015, according to UNESCO statistics.

For the second priority area, UNESCO will promote and help implement technology-supported solutions for professional development. The strategy also urges the agency to strengthen its role in the exchange of information, best practices and evaluation schemes.

Activities to meet the second goal will be funded by China, CapEFA, GEMS Education and Nokia.

To inform the international debate on the state of teachers and education, UNESCO will spend a portion of its regular budget on creating and promoting teachers’ standards as well on the monitoring and evaluation of existing professional guidelines.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.