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CAUT Statement on World Teachers’ Day: “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers”

(Ottawa – 5 October, 2017) Today, the Canadian Association of University Teachers celebrates UNESCO’s World Teachers’ Day. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher Education.

CAUT played a central role in the development and adoption of the Recommendation, which is a non-binding standard-setting instrument providing an international framework of recommended practices concerning the rights and responsibilities of higher education teachers.

The Recommendation provides international guidelines on academic freedom, collegial governance, trade union and collective bargaining rights, individual rights and freedoms, terms and conditions of employment, and other professional rights.

“The Recommendation is more relevant today than ever before,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “In Canada, we see growing challenges to secure employment and good working conditions in post-secondary education. In other parts of the world, many academic staff  risk their lives in  pursuing their research, teaching students, or by simply exercising their civil liberties.”

It was in 1994 that UNESCO first proclaimed October 5 to be World Teachers’ Day, and this year’s slogan of “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers” encompasses a special focus on institutional autonomy and academic freedom.