GCE Statement On The Occasion Of World Teachers’ Day.
On the occasion of World Teacher’s Day, the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) calls on the international community and all state parties to acknowledge the incredible leadership role provided by teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time to provide the teaching profession with the recognition and means to accomplish their crucial work in providing transformative education; now and in the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging education systems and the teaching profession like never before. According to UNESCO, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting school closures directly affected 1.5 billion students at all levels and 63 million primary and secondary teachers.
The teaching profession has been at the frontline of the response, leading the way to find and implement creative and innovative solutions and create new learning environments for their students. They have been vital in guiding students and communities through this unprecedented crisis.
However, the mobilisation of teachers to rise to the challenge at hand is in complete disconnect with the difficult working conditions, lack of means, support and recognition that teachers have experienced, even before the pandemic.
Around the world, teachers had to adapt and conduct online learning while often lacking basic ICT training and tools. Teachers found themselves confronted to the growing injustices and broadening inequalities brought about by the pandemic when many households lacked the technology and connectivity to allow students to learn online, and many students fell behind as a result. According to UNESCO, globally, approximately 50% and 43% of learners, respectively, lack computers or the internet in the home. And a recently global teacher survey undertaken by ActionAid showed that while most schools (81%) made some provision for distance learning, 76% of teachers said that less than half of their pupils were able to keep up with their lessons.
Teachers demonstrated extraordinary leadership, determination and creativity in finding ways to bridge the gaps where possible while being under significant strain themselves without any system of psychosocial support.
Today we ask governments, communities, parents and learners to come together and acknowledge and applaud the teaching’s profession and its incredible efforts and achievements in facing this crisis and ensuring that education continues for the world’s children and youth.
More than applause, however, teachers need their voices heard. Teachers are the foundation of quality, inclusive, public education systems. Their role at the core of our societies can no longer be underestimated, not just in terms of emergency preparedness, but in terms of leadership in transformative education for inclusive societies, climate action, global citizenship and achieving all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Global Campaign for Education urge all states parties to:
- Include teachers and their representative organisations in decision making structures at all levels, including on the design of emergency teaching and learning during school closures as well as arrangements for reopening schools safely.
- Ensure the health and safety of the education workforce as well as dedicated support for mental health and wellbeing amidst the pandemic.
- Ensure that teachers are trained as well as qualified and supported in the profession, including through continuous professional development.
- Ensure the professional autonomy of teachers and trust their professionalism and pedagogical practice.
- Maintain salaries and decent working conditions throughout and beyond the health crisis.
- Develop strong regulatory oversight over private education institutions to fully guarantee teachers’ rights and conditions.
The future of this generation of children and learners, and that of future generations, depends on your urgent and sustained determined action in reimagining and creating a better future for the teaching profession.