World Teachers’ Day, also known as International Teachers Day, is an international day held annually on October 5. Established in 1994, it commemorates the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, which is a standard-setting instrument that addresses the status and situations of teachers around the world. This recommendation outlines standards relating to education personnel policy, recruitment, and initial training as well as the continuing education of teachers, their employment, and working conditions. World Teachers’ Day aims to focus on “appreciating, assessing and improving the educators of the world” and to provide an opportunity to consider issues related to teachers and teaching.
To celebrate World Teachers’ Day, the UNESCO and Education International (EI) mounts a campaign each year to help give the world better understanding of teachers and the role they play in the development of students and society. They partner with the private sector such as media organizations to achieve this purpose. The campaign focus on different themes for every year. For instance, “Empowering Teachers” is the theme for 2017. This was the year World Teachers’ Day commemorated the 20th anniversary of the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel, bringing the sometimes-neglected area of teaching personnel at Higher Education institutions into the conversation about the status of teachers.
For 2018, the UNESCO adopted the theme: “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher.” It commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and serves as a reminder that the right to education cannot be realized without trained and qualified teachers.
The UNESCO cites that everyone can help by celebrating the profession, by generating awareness about teacher issues and by ensuring that teacher respect is part of the natural order of things. Schools and students, for instance, prepare an occasion for teachers during this day. More than 100 countries commemorate World Teachers’ Day and each holds its own celebrations such as the case of India, which has been commemorating Teachers’ Day every 5th September.
As the day usually falls during Australian school holidays, Australian states and territories celebrate on the last Friday of October each year instead. In 2020, it will be celebrated on Friday 30 October.