Resolution on the Status of Teachers

published 22 July 1995 updated 31 March 2017

The Education International First World Congress meeting in Harare (Zimbabwe) from 19 to 23 July 1995:

1. Notes that teachers, in providing not only knowledge and qualifications, but also universal ethical principles of social justice, tolerance and peace, play an important role in the economic, social and cultural development of our societies;

2. Notes that the vast majority of teachers believe that they do not receive the moral and material recognition appropriate to their level of qualifications and responsibilities;

3. Notes the existence of economic, political and religious doctrines which in many countries hinder the recognition of rights as stated in ILO Conventions Nos. 87 and 98, as well as professional freedom as recognised in the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation on the Condition of Teachers;

4. Notes that the low salary of teachers in most countries and the non-payment of salaries during prolonged periods of time in some countries creates situations of low regard, demoralisation and even precariousness in developing countries, which affect teachers' morale and dignity;

5. Notes that all too often teachers are required to carry out their duties without proper or sufficient educational and psychological training, which makes it very difficult for them to provide quality education;

6. Further notes that all too often class sizes, which have reached ridiculous levels in developing countries, the insalubriouness of many school buildings, and the absence or lack of school materials all create conditions which are unacceptable and which disturb the mental well-being of teachers;

The Congress stresses:

7. That at this time of profound change facing every society, human resources must be valued in order for change to be successful, and that from this perspective the role of teachers must be reconsidered and strengthened in order to be able to fulfill the requirements of education and youth training;

8. That all teachers must receive initial higher education level training before starting to teach, as well as regular in-service training, which will allow teachers to incorporate all new developments into their teaching in order to be able to prepare young people better for societies undergoing change;

9. That the quality of teaching and its relevance to the real needs of young people also depends, to a great extent, on the working conditions of not only pupils and students, but also of teachers and educational personnel, conditions which are currently far from satisfactory;

10. That teachers and education personnel must be able to live with dignity from their work, without having to take on a second or third job to obtain a decent salary which would allow them to live with their families;

11. The need to give back value, both morally and materially, to the function of teacher and educator, to give them back status, recognition and dignity within their society, so that they can find the will, conviction and prestige, necessary conditions for quality education;

12. The importance of professional and academic freedom for teachers, with the result that teaching is independent from any political, economic, ideological or religious influence, in order to preserve young peoples' right to and democratic exercise of critical spirit and creativity;

Role of Education International

EI should:

13. Further promote the above-mentioned principles and objectives within intergovernmental organisations such as the ILO and UNESCO in particular, and favour the ratification and the adoption by governments of international legal instruments, which would improve the condition of teachers and education personnel;

14. Intervene with governments so that they take all appropriate measures for the implementation of the Recommendation;

15. Collect and publish existing studies which demonstrate the close relationship between the level of initial and in-service training and working conditions of education personnel on the one hand, and the quality of teaching given to young people on the other;

16. Reflect with members of the scientific, cultural and international community on the new role which teachers are called upon to play in society, with all its attendant implications, and publish the results of this work.