The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) commemorates October 5 as World Teachers’ Day. Today, AIPG reaffirms our commitment to supporting, honoring, and defending the essential work carried out by educators around the world.
In 1994, UNESCO designated October 5 as World Teachers’ Day to recognize the critical role educators play in shaping our societies. Education is an essential tool for democracy and citizenship: teachers help millions of students in different parts of the world access possibilities through learning using imagination, critical questioning, and dialogue. Through their work, teachers can make a fundamental right to an education a reality for everyone, and can help build more respectful, inclusive, and resilient societies.
The Warren Educational Policies Program (WEPP) of the Auschwitz Institute is privileged to work daily with education professionals from around the world, supporting their individual efforts for their students’ human and civic development.
Teachers face numerous challenges daily, and the Democratic Education Needs Imagination (DENI) report explores and analyzes some of these challenges. DENI is the result of an international conference organized by WEPP and Protection Approaches, which brought together experts from different countries to explore and reimagine how education can be a tool that contributes to building more inclusive societies.
Regardless of contextual differences, many educators around the world face poor working conditions, lack of investment in training, threats to their autonomy, lack of adequate pay, exclusion from decision-making processes, as well as tense and unequal social contexts reflected in the classroom.
Recognizing these challenges, WEPP is dedicated to directly supporting teachers through educational tools that contribute to generating significant changes in students. As a result of these efforts, the program has created a network of 2,500 teachers in Brazil and El Salvador.
In order to create space for positive and close dialogue for educators, WEPP is currently working on creating a collaborative network with teachers who are part of the Citizenship and Democracy in Schools project, which launched in Brazil in 2018. This initiative supports educators’ work, considering the challenges they face and following up on the projects they develop in schools. At the same time and in a broader sense, the program aims to strengthen the community of Brazilian Public Basic Education professionals committed to human rights and democratic education.
In July and September 2022, WEPP conducted consultations with partner teachers in Brazil to understand how this network can be a tool to support them in their daily work.
The results of these consultations show that:
- 95% of the educators lack support tools for daily work, such as educational materials and training, and 96% believe the network will favor and enrich their work.
- 79% of the teachers would like to have spaces for exchange with other teachers
- 66% of the educators would like to access new trainings related to human rights and democratic citizenship.
The teachers’ network is an additional tool to assist the implementation of projects and the much-needed discussion of human rights.
The teachers’ network should be created because it will be a tool that will enable the training and performance of teachers all over the country. I am very excited about the implementation of this project.
Motivated by these results, AIPG’s Warren Educational Policies Program is using World Teachers’ Day to reaffirm its commitment to supporting, honoring, and defending the essential work developed by educators around the world, such as Odemir Silva (Brazil) and Karen Córdova (El Salvador).