Status of Teachers



As the global union federation representing teachers and education workers worldwide, Education International defends the rights and status of those in the teaching profession.  

The UNESCO-ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers adopted in 1966 has served as a standard for the teaching profession, their rights, and statusIts significance had been recognised by designating October 5th, the day of its signing, as World Teachers’ Day. The Recommendation on the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel adopted in 1997 made further commitments regarding college and university faculty. Because of the two Recommendations, most teachers, professors, and some other education workers at all levels of the education system have international instruments that define their responsibilities and rights as professionals and workers.  

In adopting the Recommendations, governments recognized the fundamental importance to society of having highly-qualified personnel who are equipped to prepare the next generation. Although  governments claim to support the values and principles in the Recommendations, in practice many do not demonstrate respect for the rights enshrined in them, nor do they implement policies that comply with them. It is therefore critically important that the UNESCO-ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendation on the Status of Teachers and the Recommendation on the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel (CEART) monitors the application of the Recommendations, and to rule on violations of teacher rights. EI reports on and evaluates the situation of teachers’ rights around the world and submits a detailed report to the CEART during its triennial meetings.  




EI policy on the status of teachers is mostly shaped by the ILO-UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers adopted in 1966, the Recommendation on the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel adopted in 1997, as well as various resolutions passed by the World Congresses since 1995. These policies stress the importance of  status and respect for the teaching profession, as well as the rights granted to them. ‘Status’ is a broad concept that requires high-quality training, professional autonomy, respect for and inclusion of their organisations is education policy and operational issues, working conditions, salaries and other professional groups. Teachers should be considered as professionals as are other, comparable professionals. Teaching   is a form of public service which requires expert knowledge and specialized skills, acquired and maintained through rigorous and continuing study.  

The EI World Congresses have passed the following resolutions regarding the Status of Teachers: “Resolution on Teacher Education” (1995), “Resolution on the Status of Teachers” (1995), “Resolution on Teacher Education” (1998), “Resolution on the Status of Teachers” (1998), “Resolution on "Globalization and the Rights and Employment Conditions of Teachers and Education Personnel" (2001), “Resolution on the Status of Higher Education Personnel” (2001), “Resolution on the Recruitment and Retention of Qualified Teachers” (2004), “Resolution on Enabling Retired Personnel to Live with Dignity” (2004), “Resolution on the Right to Teach: The Right to Learn” (2004), “Resolution on the Strategic Role of Educators (2007), “Resolution on the Future of the Teaching Profession” (2011), and “Resolution on Education Policy Paper ‘Building the Future through Quality Education” (2011). For more information about these resolutions, click here.  




Every three years, EI submits a detailed report to the UNESCO-ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendation on the Status of Teachers and the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel (CEART) about the implementation of the two recommendations around the world. It can and does also submit arguments that governments do not conform to the Recommendations.. If a government is found to violate the terms of the recommendations, CEART will consider the allegation and issue its findings and suggestions for resolution of the problem.  


World Teachers’ Day 


Each year on October 5, teachers’ organizations worldwide mobilize to ensure that the needs of future generations of teachers are taken into consideration. UNESCO named October 5 as World Teachers’ Day to commemorate the signing of the UNESCO-ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers on this day in 1966.  

World Teachers’ Day represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding, and appreciation for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development. Education International strongly believes that this day should be internationally recognized around the world.  

Every year, EI launches a public awareness campaign to highlight the contributions of the teaching profession. 

EI promotes the two recommendations. It organised a major celebration in New York in September of 2016 of the 50th anniversary of the 1966 recommendation. The EI Executive Committee reviewed options for updating the recommendation. It decided that the contents of the existing documents were so good that it should not be replaced. EI will, rather, seek to have further interpretations of its meaning from CEART and see if there were ways to associate other documents and agreements with the procedures to expand the reach of existing machinery. That was already done when the jurisprudence of CEART was extended to the 1976 UNESCO recommendation on higher education.

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