Statement by Minister Paradis: World Teachers' Day

October 5, 2013

A good teacher can change the lives of hundreds of students. Teachers can help students develop critical thought, learn problem-solving, and make informed choices. They can also instil tolerance, respect and co-operation, thus bridging cultural gaps and fostering equality between women and men.

In developing countries, well-equipped teachers can do even more. They can give children and youth the means to break out of poverty and to substantially improve their health and quality of life.

Female students are especially likely to benefit: according to the World Bank, every extra year of schooling a girl receives boosts her future income by at least 10 percent and reduces the mortality rate of her future children by 5 percent.

This generation of children and youth is the largest ever seen in all of human history. Close to half of the world’s 7 billion people are under the age of 25, and more than 90 percent of them live in developing countries.

Worldwide, 127 million youth and 796 million adults are illiterate (two thirds of whom are women).

Teachers have a major role to play, and they need support and resources.

As stated in its Children and Youth Strategy, Canada continues to place a high value on education and to support assistance for teachers and teacher training. For example, Canada is providing support for

  • a project led by the University of Alberta, in collaboration with the University of Dodoma in Tanzania, which supports primary mathematics teachers' professional developmentin three rural regions of Tanzania; and
  • the Teacher Training in Afghanistan project, conducted by the organization Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, which aims to upgrade the skills of high school teachers in Laghman and Kabul provinces in learning methodology, pedagogy and teaching content.

While the Education for All initiative ends in 2015, Canada and other members of the United Nations are working with civil society groups, university networks, and the private sector to identify global education priorities for the coming years.

Children around the world have the right to a quality education so they can achieve their full potential, and their teachers have the right to sufficient resources to do their work.

Christian Paradis
Minister of International Development