World Teachers’ Day, held annually on October 5th since 1994, aims to mobilize support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers. Last month, iEARN-USA Director Emeritus Ed Gragert explained in the Huffington Post why global education initiatives from the United Nations, the Global Campaign for Education, and the World Bank are key to breaking the cycle of poverty:
… 61 million young people around the world of elementary school-age will not be going back to school because they face obstacles that prevent them from even getting into a school. …
A quality education is a basic human right. It is the key to development and a solution to critical global issues that affect us all. Through education, particularly of girls and women, families are healthier, smaller, more entrepreneurial and financially better off. Without investing in education, development aid and other interventions will only provide important short-term relief, but not systemic improvement to break the cycle of poverty.
To Dr. Gragert, a key strategy is professional development, which organizations like iEARN provide:
At the core of all these initiatives is the need for trained teachers to introduce both basic principles of literacy and numeracy, but also critical thinking and local/global citizenship skills. We need World-Class Teachers for world-class learning. Building schools and equipping them with materials and technology need to go hand-in-hand with hiring teachers in sufficient numbers and giving them the skills (technology, individualized and project-based learning, etc.) necessary to teach effectively so that students can learn the skills for success in our 21st century globalized world. This is not an easy or inexpensive challenge. We have seen in the U.S., for example, for every dollar spent on computer hardware, schools need to allocate considerably more for professional development for teachers to gain the skills needed to use them effectively in the classroom. Teachers, like all professionals, need on-going professional development to upgrade skills and methodologies.
As Dr. Gragert notes, both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, organizations representing the vast majority of educators in the U.S., are helping to revise a Lesson for All curriculum that will soon be mapped to the Common Core State Standards. This important initiative will support all U.S. teachers to use the international state of education as a curriculum focus, so the US students develop an understanding of the benefits of education, including their own.
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers writes:
Access to free, quality education is both a human right and part of the essential foundation for economic growth in every nation. With this toolkit, students and educators in the United States help give a voice—and hope—to the millions of children around the world who still seek access to quality education.
For iEARN, every day is a celebration of teachers from around the world working together to help their students make a meaningful contribution to the health and welfare of the planet and its people. This World Teachers’ Day, we celebrate new efforts to support millions more teachers and their students to learn with the world, not just about it.