20 September, 2006
From: NZEI Te Riu Roa Media Release
World Teachers’ Day: 5 October 2006
World Teachers' Day was started by UNESCO and is celebrated in over 100 countries around the world each year. It represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development, locally and internationally.
“We strongly believe that New Zealand teachers are among the best in the world. From early childhood education teachers through to tertiary, our teachers are blazing new paths, creating innovative lessons and new ways of teaching,” says Irene Cooper, National President of NZEI Te Riu Roa, the country’s largest education union.
“Teachers touch lives. Teachers connect with thousands of New Zealand children every day to make a difference. We hope people will go back to school and say thank you to a teacher who helped them along the way.”
“We hope parents will also take time out to tell their children’s teachers what a difference they’ve made. The best gift a teacher can receive this World Teachers’ Day is praise for their work,” says Irene Cooper.
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers, on which World Teachers’ Day is founded.
“We hope the Government will take this important date to look at the UNESCO recommendations and ask: is New Zealand adhering to them? While in many ways we have a great system, we could certainly do better in other areas,” says Irene Cooper.
“The recommendations say that the State should provide free education, but as too many parents know, education often requires fees and fundraisers to run.”
“The recommendations say that ‘Working conditions for teachers should be such as will best promote effective learning and enable teachers to concentrate on their professional tasks,’ yet teachers are working longer and longer hours to finish all of the necessary paperwork,” says Irene Cooper.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Because schools close for term break this Friday, we recommend that you get in touch with your local school or early childhood education centre now for local World Teachers’ Day stories. NZEI is also holding its Annual Meeting from 24-27 September, during which media will be invited to see key education spokespeople, launches and events. See the attached page for details on these story options and other current issues in education, or see www.nzei.org.nz/worldteachersday.htm.