Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future

Since 1994, World Teachers’ Day is held annually on 5 October to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (https://en.unesco.org/themes/teachers/ceart ), which sets benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions.

In 2020, World Teachers’ Day will be dedicated to the theme “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future”, providing the occasion to celebrate the teaching profession and draw attention to the voices of teachers worldwide. This is even more relevant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has significantly added to the challenges faced by already over-extended education systems throughout the world, and affecting in particular the most vulnerable populations.

In accordance with the recent adoption of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, and the dedicated target (SDG 4.c), over the years IIMA has highlighted the role of teachers as key to the full and effective implementation of the right to holistic, quality, and inclusive education.

Pope Francis remarked in his meeting with educators: “your task is more necessary now than ever. You must not only teach content, but the values and customs of life. There are three things that you must pass on. A computer can teach content, but to understand how to love, to understand values and customs which create harmony in society, it takes a good teacher.”[1] Young people, in fact, need a positive reference point in their school – a credible and life-giving teachers, educators, imbued with vision, passion, and a sense of mission, capable of leading, accompanying their students so that together with them they can be open to the future and re-imagine a more humane, just, and peaceful world.

For further information on the 2020 World Teachers’ Day, please consult the concept note (https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/wtd-2020-concept-note-en.pdf) and the agenda (https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/wtd-2020-agenda-summary.pdf) of this year celebrations taking place online.

[1] Pope Francis , Address to members of the Italian Union of Catholic school Teachers, Managers, Educators and Trainers (UCIIM), 14 March 2015.