Message for World Teachers’ Day 2018


Every year on October 5th, the Education community and vested partners celebrate World Teachers’ Day. The annual theme selected best describes the current situation teachers are in. This year the focus is on quality, with the theme “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher”.

Put teachers at the heart of the right to education

More than 60 years after the adoption of the joint Recommendation concerning the status of teachers by ILO and UNESCO, and 3 years after the adoption of SDG4, “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”, now more than ever, it is imperative to remind education stakeholders that a right remains empty rhetoric as long as the conditions of its implementation and its full realisation are not ensured.

Talking about education is meaningless if teachers are not at the centre of the requirements of this right; quality education, means first and foremost, qualified teachers. Unfortunately, the status of qualified teachers in the world and particularly in Africa show a major gap in most countries.


Massive recruitment of non-qualified teachers is not the solution

The existing ‘teacher gap’ has lead to exceptional measures taken in some countries to increase the number of teachers in schools. For example, in Burkina Faso, the Minister of Education decided to recruit 16,000 teachers (most of them under contracts and under-paid) over a 5-years recruitment programme to fill in the gap, especially in the sciences subjects. These kinds of measures have been replicated and implemented in other countries. Despite giving the impression of reducing teachers’ deficit, due to lack of proper training and qualification for the newly graduated recruits, it is clear that these temporary measures are not viable solutions to implement the right to quality education. In the case of Burkina Faso, the young teachers recruited are only given a short 2-3 months training before managing a classroom. This is of course not enough.

Challenges ahead

To achieve the objectives of quality, inclusive and equitable education for all, ensuring teachers’ basic training and lifelong learning after massive recruitment and investing in school, academic and educational infrastructures remains a challenge. Attaining the Education 2030 goal is possible, only if the problem of qualified teachers is solved and if inclusion and equity are placed at the very core of the solution to provide all children in the world access to public quality educational systems. On this 5th of October, a joint message from UNESCO, ILO, UNICEF, UNDP and Education International rightly reminds us of the key role governments and international organisations must play to reach these objectives and ensure the right to quality education for all.


By Samuel Dembélé, president of the board of African Network Campaign on Education for All (ANCEFA), president of the board of Coalition Nationale de l’éducation pour Tous du Burkina Faso (CN-ÉPT BF), secretary general of Syndicat national des enseignants du secondaire et du supérieur in Burkina Faso, member of the board of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) and teacher of philosophy at the Lycée Nelson Mandela in Ouagadougou;

And Monique Fouilhoux, Chairman of the Board of GCE, former Deputy Secretary General of Education International (EI). As an EI representative, Monique has been an active member of many international committees and work groups, and President of the UNESCO International NGOs Conference between 1998 and 2003.

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The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that aims to end exclusion in education. Education is a basic human right, and our mission is to make sure that governments act now to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education.