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In Honor of World Teachers Day, Share Your Views On Global Literacy

By James O’Meara, Ed.D.

On Oct. 5, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) celebrated the 20th anniversary of World Teachers’ Day, a day commemorating the adoption of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendations concerning the Status of Teachers in 1966.

The Chicago Declaration, shown in draft form below, represents a call for governments and multilateral agencies around the world to invest in the future of countries by building teacher capacity to meet the diverse learning needs of every girl and boy.

We invite you to share your views on the current contents of the draft declaration, along with any additional points you wish to make on the type of teacher education and professional learning needed for educators in the post 2015 era. Your comments along with the views of delegates attending the Chicago Dialogue (November 21-22) will be personally presented to key UNESCO officials during the pan-European and North-American States Conference on education post-2015 scheduled at UNESCO Headquarters Paris, from 3 -4 December 2014.


Following is the text of the Chicago Declaration. You are invited to share your views in the comments section.

LiteracyRecognizing, on the eve of the 2015 deadline, despite promising progress in many parts of the world, 774 million adults including 493 million women (15 years and older) still cannot read or write, 58 million children roughly between the ages of 6 and 11 years are out of school and 15 million girls along with 10 million boys – will probably never set foot in a classroom unless things change.

Acknowledging that no system is better than its teachers, we recognize the world will need an extra 3.3 million primary teachers and 5.1 million lower secondary teachers in classrooms to reverse the trend of low literacy levels among adults and provide universal access to a quality education systems by 2030. We request educators contributing to this goal within and outside of classrooms be awarded the status commensurate with this responsibility.

Concerned that severe teacher shortages may in some instances result in short-term local responses, we continue to support the views of UNESCO and the ILO and demand that long term solutions do not detract from or endanger in any way professional standards already established or to be established to promote access and success through quality learning environments and experiences.

Recalling the 1966 recommendation on the Status of Teachers that those preparing to become primary and secondary teachers need to receive some form of basic training, we reinforce the expectation for teacher-preparation programs to include

  • the development of general and cultural knowledge,
  • pedagogical skills for promoting gender equality and supporting the marginalized,
  • opportunities for technical and vocational education specializations, and
  • dispositional expectations for contributing to the sustainable social, cultural and economic development of local and wider communities

Accepting lifelong learning in all levels and in all settings is central to the post-2015 education agenda; we challenge all educators and teacher educators to promote quality learning outcomes for of all ages via flexible lifelong and life-wide learning opportunities through formal and non-formal pathways. We also challenge members of our profession to prepare for this important task by actively engaging in professional learning linked to global citizenship education and education for sustainable development including:

  • discovering others , promoting peace, tolerance, and respect for diversity.
  • cultivating a sense of community and fostering active participation in giving back to society
  • developing the critical thinking, enterprise and career readiness skills required for sustainable living and livelihoods
  • enhancing information, media as well as information and communication technologies skills
  • building capacity to conduct and disseminate research on effective approaches to improving the quality of learning

Recalling the need for focused collaboration, we the assembled for the Chicago Dialogue of 2014, challenge the members, influencers and supporters of the global education agenda, to improve the quality of learning outcomes for adults and/ or accelerate progress towards universal access to quality education systems by supporting of one or more of the following priorities over the next 2 years:

  • Contribute to the goal that every learner is taught by qualified, professionally-trained, motivated and well-supported teachers
  • Work with adult learners to extend careers of productive employment via flexible, lifelong and life-wide learning opportunities involving formal and non-formal pathways.
  • Share research-informed practices for improving the quality of learning outcomes in global citizenship education and education for sustainable development.

We, therefore, as delegates signing this declaration, pledge our support for the priorities and intentions of the Chicago Declaration.

Sign the 2014 Chicago Declaration below, under “Leave a Reply — Enter Your Comment Here.”