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World Teachers'Day 2017: Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers


World Teachers’ Day (WTD), held annually on 5 October, is an important event for the entire educational community. It is a day that commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the 1996 UNESCO/ILO recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. The 1996 recommendation constitutes the main reference framework for addressing teachers’ rights. This year, on World Teachers’ Day in 2017, the 20th anniversary of the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel, is also commemorated.

The theme for this year’s World Teachers’ Day is: “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers”. This year’s theme echoes the theme of the 2015 WTD -“Empowering Teachers, Building Sustainable Societies” and slogans such as “If you can read this, thank a teacher”, “Every child is shaped by the mind of the teachers” and “Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world”- Nelson Mandela. In 2015 World leaders at the UN convention reaffirmed the importance of teachers’ empowerment as a top priority in all education and development strategies.

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the 1997 recommendation, an international conference will take place at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris. At this conference teachers, trainers, policy-makers, as well as researchers and other education stakeholders, will celebrate teaching, academic freedom, and discuss what is needed to ensure quality higher education and a sustainable future for the teaching profession.

NAPTOSA urges its members to celebrate this WTD by reflecting on their role in contributing towards achieving United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Goal 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all in South Africa.

Amongst other issues equity has been identified as constituting a major challenge in education, according to a recent studies. In South Africa data indicates that children from the wealthiest 20 percent of households achieved greater proficiency in reading at the end of their primary and lower secondary education than children from the poorest 20 percent of households. NAPTOSA encourages its members use education – (‘our weapon of transformation’), as an equaliser.

The lack of trained teachers and the poor condition of schools in many parts of South Africa are jeopardizing prospects for quality education for all children. NAPTOSA calls on all its members and all South African teachers to embrace continued teacher professional development by ensuring that they attend professional development courses offered by SACE-accredited institutions and register their CPTD points. Continuous professional development will enhance classroom practice and benefit the children in our care.

NAPTOSA calls on all stakeholders to also appreciate the admirable work done by the teachers especially in the light of the recent disciplinary and safety challenges in schools.




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