October 5 is World Teachers' Day, an annual event to celebrate and highlight the vital work that teachers across the globe carry out every day to inspire, empower and support children and young people to achieve their potential. To mark the day, NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates writes about why the public debate around education needs to start with a focus on meeting the needs of teachers.
Many of us, no matter how long ago our schooldays, will remember the teachers who helped them, whose passion for their subject inspired them, or whose support and care for their students made the difference.
These are just some of the reasons why, on October 5 each year, the planet celebrates World Teachers’ Day. Since its inception 25 years ago World Teachers Day has become a focus of the world’s attention on the importance of teachers, recognising that that those who teach build communities, society and are vital to our economic, environmental and democratic futures.
The theme for this year’s World Teachers’ Day is: “The Right to Education means the Right to a Qualified Teacher.” It recognises that the quality of a child’s education cannot exceed the quality of its teachers. More than 60 million children are denied the right to education every day. And, globally too, tackling the shortage of teachers has to be a key priority for governments and international institutions at home and abroad.
Putting the needs of teachers at the centre of policy debate and development is central to meeting the needs of all children and young people. That means the terms of debate have to change. That starts by valuing teachers, recognising and rewarding teachers as highly skilled professionals and ensuring that teachers have the time to dedicate to the education of their pupils.
High-quality teacher education, a requirement for qualified teacher status and leadership of schools by qualified teachers would further demonstrate a commitment to teachers which is vital to realising the potential of every child.
If politicians are serious about ensuring every child has access to a world class education, they have to realise this starts with creating the conditions for a high status profession where teachers have an entitlement to ongoing pedagogical development and working conditions which support them to focus on teaching and raising standards for every child.
Then we will ensure that every child will grow up helped, inspired and supported by their teachers.