Held annually on October 5 since 1994, World Teachers’ Day commemorates the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO recommendation concerning the status of teachers that 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.
These days, WTD is co-convened in partnership with UNICEF, the International Labor Organization, and Education International and has become an occasion to mark progress and reflect on the ways to counter the remaining challenges for the promotion of the teaching profession.
This year’s theme for World Teachers’ Day “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future” recognizes the role of teachers who are at the heart of efforts to attain the global education target of leaving no one behind. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly added to the challenges faced by the already over-extended education systems throughout the world. It is no exaggeration to say that the world is at a crossroads and we must work with teachers to protect the right to education and guide it through the unfolding landscape brought about by the unprecedented pandemic.
In the Philippines, WTD coincides with the reopening of public schools, further highlighting the value of Filipino teachers and the challenges they will be facing in the coming days, weeks or months as they attempt to oversee the education of schoolchildren while a pandemic continues to rage throughout most parts of the country.
Filipino teachers have faced challenges in the past, from overcrowded classrooms to the lack of learning materials, and have always found creative ways to get the job done as best they can. This year, they will need all the support and appreciation they can get as COVID-19 forces them to grapple with a new system. As we hope for them to have been given adequate training and equipment for the upcoming school year, let us also extend as much support, patience and understanding to our country’s teachers not only today, but throughout the rest of the academic year that is likely to be fraught with challenges that will test their resolve to fulfill their noble mission during these difficult times.*