Education International calls on the ILO to ensure UN recommendations on the teaching profession are implemented

published 11 June 2024 updated 14 June 2024

At the 112th session of the International Labour Conference, Education International Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst called for better salaries and working conditions to address the global teacher shortage. She further called for the implementation of the landmark recommendations of the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession, as she addressed the tripartite delegations of Member States of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on 10 June 2024.

“Education is a key tool to promote peace, equality, prosperity, and sustainability. Education transforms lives. But without teachers, education cannot live up to its promise, “, Holst stated. “Overworked and underpaid teachers are leaving the profession in droves, and young people are attracted to other professions with better salaries and working conditions,” she added.

Deploring the shortage of 44 million primary and secondary teachers globally and highlighting the importance of having qualified teachers, she welcomed the recent adoption of the recommendations of the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession: “The Panel calls on governments to invest in the profession. It stresses the need to invest in competitive salaries, secure employment, decent working conditions, inclusive and safe work environments, quality professional development opportunities and teacher support.”

While noting that the Recommendations insisted on the necessity of “coordinated and institutionalized” social and policy dialogue with education unions, she stressed the need to respect existing international standards: “The ILO convention on the right to organise and bargain collectively celebrates its 75 years, but unfortunately it is still far from globally respected. Many teacher unions are under attack, and many Government teachers do not enjoy the right to form a union or to bargain.”

Call for the implementation of the UN recommendations

Holst concluded her address with a clear call for the ILO to ensure that the High-Level Panel’s recommendations are implemented globally: “We call on the ILO to play a role in developing a new, up-to-date international instrument to monitor and push for implementation. Education International believes that an international convention would be most effective to uphold the status of the profession, as it is a legally binding mechanism.”

“The High-Level Panel’s recommendations provide an important roadmap to tackle the persistent and increasing teacher shortages around the world. We urge the ILO to hold countries to account to implement them. It is the only way to uphold every student’s right to a qualified teacher”, she added.

You can see the full address of Haldis Holst to the ILO here.

The teachers’ voice at the International Labour Organization

From 3-14 June, an Education International delegation composed of 69 teachers and education professionals from 35 countries are present at the annual conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) to ensure the voice of the teaching profession is heard. Held under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, this global event brings together representatives of governments and of workers’ and employers’ organisations. It is the place where new policy priorities are discussed, where international labour standards are adopted, and their implementation supervised.