5 October 2020

Educators, ‘Lifelines’ During Pandemic, Must Drive Efforts to Avert ‘Post-COVID-19 Learning Catastrophe’, Deputy Secretary-General Says on World Teachers’ Day

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary‑General Amina Mohammed’s video message to mark World Teachers’ Day, observed on 5 October:

It is my great pleasure to join you to celebrate World Teachers’ Day.  I am heartened to see so many partners working together to bring global attention to the world’s indispensable teachers, school leaders and education staff.  Each one of us remembers a teacher or teachers who influenced their lives.

I applaud the work of our convening partners:  Education International, International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  Such collaboration is more necessary than ever at a time when the COVID‑19 crisis has stalled our efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goals, and risks turning a pre‑COVID learning crisis into a post‑COVID learning catastrophe.

At the opening of the new session of the General Assembly, world leaders urged greater global solidarity to recover better from this crisis and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals with a decade of sustained and ambitious action.  Many called in particular for action on education – recognizing that it remains one of our greatest tools for advancing peace, human rights and all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Teachers are the backbone of all education systems, and the key to ensuring a quality and inclusive education for all.  As such, as we reimagine education, teachers must be at the centre of the process.

What the crisis has brought to light is that, for millions of learners, teachers are also a lifeline.  The support and solidarity of those teachers during COVID‑19 is the spirit of cooperation that we must all embrace and sacrifice.  We take this opportunity today to express our immense gratitude for their service and leadership across the globe.

The United Nations family, working with our partners, will continue to support teachers around the world, ensuring that their voices are heard and their skills are improved to leverage the latest technology for twenty‑first century learning and beyond.  Let us commit to leaving no teacher behind.

For information media. Not an official record.