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Experts Meet and Advance the International Dialogue on Teachers

On 8-12 October 2012 at the headquarters of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, the 11th Session of the Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendation concerning Teachers (CEART) was held.

The CEART is a joint committee of UNESCO and the ILO which is charged with monitoring the implementation of the two international normative instruments on teachers, notably the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (1966) and the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel (1997).  The committee of 12 independent experts appointed by either the Director-General of UNESCO or the Director General of ILO meets every three years in order to monitor and promote the 1996 and 1997 Recommendations. 

Charged also with making recommendations to both UNESCO and ILO on major points of concern regarding teaching and education, mediating between Member States and teacher organizations to resolve disputes, providing a means for teacher organizations to lodge appeals in defense of their rights and defending the rights and responsibilities of teachers, the CEART tackles a wide range of issues. These include: teacher working conditions, academic freedom, violence affecting teachers, teacher migration and mobility and institutional independence. 

During its 11th Session, two overriding themes dominated the discussions of the CEART: the deprofessionalization of the teaching profession and the effects of the current global financial crisis on education personnel. The discussion on deprofessionalization stemmed from the 1966 and 1997 Recommendations’ key affirmation of teaching as a profession based on expert knowledge and specialized skills acquired through rigorous and continuing study. Current efforts in some parts of the world to lower the standards for entry into the profession or to hire teachers with few, if any, professional and educational qualifications, were noted as a cause for alarm by the Committee. 

In regard to the financial crisis, the Committee noted that the momentum of enhancing educational opportunities should not be sacrificed by cuts in public expenditures generated by the slowing of economic growth in many regions of the world.  The Committee called the attention of UNESCO and the ILO to these developments and encouraged both organizations to work to address them.

Three out of the 12 members of the CEART are from the Asia-Pacific region and bring the perspectives of the region to the CEART proceedings: Professor Konai Helu-Thaman (University of the South Pacific, Fiji), Mr. Masaaki Katsuno (Graduate School of Education, University of Tokyo, Japan) and Dr. Manawar Sultana Mirza (University of Education, Lahore, Pakistan). 

For more information, please contact Mr. Lucio Sia [l.sia(at)], the Section for Teacher Development and Education Policies, UNESCO Paris. 

Written by Ramya Vivekanandan [r.vivekanandan(at)].  

 Related Links:

•  ILO

•  ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (1966)  and the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel (1997

•  Report of the 10th Session of CEART