World Teachers’ Day

United States #1098 (1957) FDC

United States #1098 (1957)

Today is World Teachers’ Day, held annually in order to mobilize support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers. UNESCO proclaimed October 5 to be World Teachers’ Day in 1994, celebrating the great step made for teachers on October 5, 1966, when a special intergovernmental conference convened by UNESCO in Paris adopted the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, in cooperation with the ILO. This recommendation sets forth the rights and responsibilities of teachers as well as international standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions. Since its adoption, the Recommendation has been considered an important set of guidelines to promote teachers’ status in the interest of quality education. World Teachers’ Day also celebrates the adoption by the UNESCO General Conference in 1997 of the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel.

This year World Teachers’ Day marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 Recommendation and is also the first to be celebrated within the new Global Education 2030 Agenda adopted by the world community last year. This year’s theme, “Valuing Teachers, Improving their Status”, embodies the fundamental principles of the fifty-year-old Recommendation while shining a light on the need to support teachers. You can download a PDF version of the 2016 poster from UNESCO’s special webpage.

According to UNESCO, World Teachers’ Day represents “a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development.” Over one hundred countries currently observe this special day. Oddly, one of the most central, vital professionals to society does not receive the respect it deserves in some parts of the world. World Teachers’ Day is a natural extension of UNESCO’s all year round work of promoting teachers, ensuring that this profession, so vital to the healthy functioning of society, is itself “healthy”. Teachers are a normative indicator of social health.

Scott #1098 was issued by the United States Post Office Department on July 1, 1957, to honor the school teachers of America as well as to mark the centennial of the National Education Association (NEA), the largest labor union in the United States.  It represents public school teachers and other support personnel, faculty and staffers at colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers. The NEA was founded in Philadelphia in 1857 as the National Teachers Association (NTA). The NTA became the National Education Association in 1870 when it merged with the American Normal School Association, the National Association of School Superintendents, and the Central College Association. The union was chartered by Congress in 1906. Today, the NEA has just under 3 million members and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

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