World Teachers’ Day: Quality education requires well-trained teachers

Overcrowded classrooms, inadequate teacher training, lack of professional development during their careers: all these factors have a negative effect on learning. World Teachers’ Day, celebrated annually on 5 October, focuses this year on the right to education, which means the right to qualified teachers. On this occasion, several events are being organized at UNESCO Headquarters on 4 and 5 October.

Well-trained teachers are essential for quality education. However, teachers who have not received the required pedagogical training to teach are teaching students today. According to 2017 data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 85% of primary school teachers worldwide have received teacher training. However, this figure masks significant regional disparities. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, only 64% of primary school teachers are trained. In South Asia, this rate reaches 71%.

This situation is even more worrisome as the lack of teacher qualifications is often combined with classroom overcrowding. Sub-Saharan Africa has a ratio of 38 pupils to one teacher in primary schools, compared to 35 in South Asia (Source: UIS).

Teacher training will be at the core of the events organized at UNESCO Headquarters on the occasion of the Day. On 4 October, a publication entitled “Improving the quality of teacher education in sub-Saharan Africa” will be launched (10:00-12:00, Room II).

On 5 October, a debate on teachers and the right to education (10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Room II) will be held prior to the official ceremony, to be opened by the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay (2 p.m., Room I). The ceremony will be followed by the awarding of the 5th UNESCO-Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize to the selected laureates. This award recognizes projects that have made an outstanding contribution to improving the quality of teaching and Celebrated annually since 1994, World Teachers’ Day commemorates the signing of the 1966 International Labour Organization (ILO)/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. It is organized in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Education International.

Since the adoption of Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education and achieving it by 2030, World Teachers’ Day has also been an opportunity to take stock of achievements and promote the teaching profession. It is marked by an international event at UNESCO Headquarters and by many events in the rest of the world.


See the programme

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Laureates of the UNESCO Hamdan Prize

Media Contact Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Press Service. Tel : +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 64,

Accreditations: Djibril Kébé, UNESCO Press Service. Tel : +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 41,