World Teachers' Day—held to commemorate the 1966 joint signing of the UNESCO/International Labour Organisation recommendation concerning the status of teachers—is being celebrated across the nation today, October 28.
Internationally, World Teachers' Day is celebrated on the first Friday in October. However, as this is usually during Australian school holidays, Australia celebrates the day on the last Friday in October of each year.
The recommendation outlines the rights and responsibilities of teachers as well as international standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions. The UNESCO website states: "Since its adoption, the recommendation has been considered an important set of guidelines to promote teachers’ status in the interest of quality education."
Federation President Maurie Mulheron said today was a good opportunity to reflect on a quote from former NSW education director-general and Gonski review panel member Ken Boston: “The teachers in our most disadvantaged schools are at least as good as those in our most advantaged schools. The issue is not their competence, skill or commitment. The issue is that their number, resources and support are unequal to the task” (NSW Teachers Federation’s 2014 Annual Conference).
“No profession is engaged in work more important than teaching in public schools," Mr Mulheron said.
"Public school teachers do more than educate an individual child; we accept children from a range of diverse backgrounds and create community. But we do more than this. Teachers strengthen the social, economic and cultural fabric of our nation. In short, teaching is profoundly transformative.”