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World Teachers Day

Guy Ryder: Teaching is a profession under siege

The ILO Director-General calls for urgent action to make teaching an attractive career once again.

News | 03 October 2012
GENEVA (ILO News) – The economic crisis has strongly affected working conditions and salaries for many teachers, said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in a statement issued ahead of World Teachers Day.

Ryder said the lack of teachers has been leading to an increase in the number of students in each classroom, as funding for support services and materials for schools has dropped.

Urgent action is needed to improve the status of teachers and come up with policies ... that motivate people to become teachers."
“All this has resulted in a decline in the status of teachers,” he said. “Sadly, it is a profession under siege.”

Ryder also denounced the recruitment of “uncertified or poorly qualified teachers to fill the gap”. He called for “high initial and on-going training standards”, to ensure that teachers were adequately prepared for their demanding profession.

“People don’t see teaching as an attractive profession, and some teachers actually leave the profession,” he said.

Need for urgent action

Ryder insisted that “urgent action” is needed to promote sound social dialogue, improve the status of teachers and come up with policies and strategies that attract and motivate people to become teachers.

He also added that freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining remained limited for teachers in many countries.

Another priority he mentioned is the need to “promote gender equality”, not only to ensure equal opportunities and treatment for teachers but also to provide “appropriate role models” for students.

Ryder underlined that education is “one of the pillars of sustainable economic growth and social development”.

“Children who are in school have a better chance of avoiding the trap of child labour. And when they grow up and have their own children, children of educated parents have better nutrition and care,” he concluded.

'Take a Stand for Teachers' - Video statement by the ILO's Director-General

World Teachers Day is marked on October 5, in commemoration of the adoption of the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, 1966. The slogan for this year is, “Take a stand for teachers”.