Empower and value teachers to reach new global goals

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A girl stands next to a sign promoting girls education in the village of Kosiloko, Bombali district, Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF

Despite global recognition of their importance, teachers are too often undervalued and under-empowered, according to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The agency is using World Teachers' Day, observed this Monday (5 October), to highlight the role of teachers in achieving the new global development goals.

Dianne Penn has the story.

One of the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to provide free primary and secondary education for all children by the year 2030.

However, UNESCO reports that there is a growing worldwide shortage of quality teachers as well as inadequate professional training.

The agency says more than 10 million teachers will need to be recruited to achieve universal primary education over the next five years.

In South Sudan, education is "always the number one priority," says the UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator there, Sue Latze.

"The education priority for the people of South Sudan is always the number one priority. When we go around the country and we talk to people, we ask them what is their main concern, what is their main hope for the humanitarian or any community, they always say education. I think we know the future of this country is dependent upon an educated generation, and we have seen the impact that educated South Sudanese have in the country, in the region and in the world."

For UNESCO, empowering teachers means providing them with decent, safe and healthy working conditions.

They should also be given trust, professional autonomy and academic freedom.

The UN agency is part of a campaign to get teachers to lobby for progress on the SDGs.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’26″

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December 2017
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