International Day of Education


Education is a human right, a public good, and a public responsibility – UNESCO

15 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly marked the 24th of January as the International Day of Education. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about the importance of inclusive and equitable quality education for all and taking the necessary steps to achieve this. This year’s theme is ‘to invest in people, prioritize education’. Let’s take a look at the facts from the UNESCO website.

There are currently 244 million children out of school, and 771 million adults that are illiterate. There are 617 million children and youth who are unable to read and complete basic math. We have a foundational learning, literacy, and numeracy skill crisis.

It’s time to transform education – UNESCO

8 years ago, a group of world leaders signed up for the Education 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which outlines a specific direction that needs to be taken to ensure education is made accessible to everyone. To achieve this, a total of 69 million teachers need to be recruited – 24.4 million for primary, and 44.4 million for secondary.

Within this primary figure, 21 million will replace those teachers that leave the workforce, with the remaining 3.4 million needed as additional teachers. For secondary, 27.6 million will replace those who leave, leaving a significant 16.7 million additional teachers needed.

Australia itself has a teacher crisis, with a large number of teachers leaving the profession largely due to extreme workloads and in some cases, insufficient pay. There is a National Teacher Workforce Action Plan in place which sets out a clear direction to address this teacher shortage issue. The five priority areas are:

  1. Improving teacher supply – to increase the number of people choosing teaching as a career
  2. Strengthening initial teacher education – to ensure initial teacher education supports teacher supple and delivers classroom-ready graduates
  3. Keeping the teachers we have – to improve retention by increasing support for teachers, enhancing career pathways, reducing unnecessary workload, and freeing up teachers to focus on core teaching tasks and collaboration
  4. Elevating the profession – to recognise the value teachers bring to students, communities, and the economy
  5. Better understanding future teacher workforce needs – to improve the information available for teacher workforce planning

The government is investing $328 million to implement initiatives to meet the needs of these areas within the action plan.



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