UNESCO proclaimed 5 October to be World Teachers’ Day in 1994. In 1966 a special intergovernmental conference was held in Paris and UNESCO adopted the recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, in cooperation with the ILO.
This recommendation sets forth the rights and responsibilities of teachers as well as international standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions.
Teachers' Day is a special day for the appreciation of teachers, and may include celebrations to honour them for their special contributions in a particular field, or the community in general.
Since 1994, the world has commemorated teacher organisations worldwide to mobilise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by them. The World Teachers’ Day is celebrated globally in recognition of the important role that teachers play in society. The day is generally marked by expressions of appreciation of the work of teachers in various schools and communities. Students, parents, proprietors of schools, organisations and governmental bodies shower gifts and goodwill messages to honour teachers on this occasion.
In Nigeria, teachers are among the least paid workers in the formal sector. In the current recession, there is concern that public servants are being owed several months’ arrears of salaries in the states. What is not often emphasised is the fact that the majority of the so-called public servants are teachers in primary and post primary educational institutions.
The situation is so severe that people take up teaching appointments only when other jobs are not available.
It is time for politicians and policy makers to review the status of the teachers in Nigeria. State governors must ensure that teachers are paid all the arrears of salaries this month as a mark of appreciation for their priceless work.
They should be encouraged, recognized and duly rewarded for their key contribution to national development.