World Teachers’ Day 2021 – Paying tribute to the educators we lost

From Education International


Dear colleagues,

World Teachers’ Day is only weeks away. After one of the most difficult years of our lives, this October 5th we will take the time to come together and recognise the enormous toll that the pandemic has taken on educators everywhere. We have all lost colleagues, friends, and fellow unionists.

In addition to participating in the annual commemorations with UNESCO and ILO and launching the 2021 Global Status of Teachers and the Teaching Profession report, we will pay tribute to our members.

Global tribute event to the educators we lost

This World Teachers’ Day, Education International will host a virtual, global tribute event in memory of all the educators who passed away during the pandemic. On October 5th we will come together to remember and honour those we lost and who are forever present in our minds.

The event will take place on October 5th from 1 pm CEST. You can register at Please share this link widely among your membership so that teachers and education support personnel around the world can join us.

Memorial website

In addition to the tribute event, we are also launching a memorial website to honour and remember the colleagues we have lost -

Please use the website to share their stories and distribute it widely among your members, so that they have the opportunity to pay tribute to their colleagues.  

A global moment of silence

We invite each and every one of you to organise a moment of silence on October 5th at 12 pm, local time. Please encourage school communities across your country to take a minute to honour the teachers and education workers who have passed away.

This is a moment to reflect on the legacy of our colleagues and to call for better working conditions for educators everywhere and for vaccine equity around the world.

To increase the visibility of this action, please post videos and photos on social media using #TeacherTribute. We will amplify on the EI social media platforms.

Communication toolkit

We have prepared a toolkit to help you promote the memorial website and tribute event among your members and to provide a few ideas of actions you can organise at the national and local levels. Please click here to download the toolkit.

World Teachers’ Day theme

Like every year, we have also been working with UNESCO, the ILO and other partners to develop a broader theme for this year’s World Teachers’ Day. The theme/slogan for 2021 is “Teachers at the heart of education recovery”.

The theme/slogan highlights that the world desperately needs teachers. In the wake of the pandemic, the global teacher shortage is likely to skyrocket as many have been lost to the virus while others have left or are planning on leaving the profession. Teachers cannot continue to be overworked, undervalued and underpaid. If the world is to build back better, teachers must be supported and empowered to lead the recovery in education. 

We will use this opportunity to call on governments to invest in teachers and work to improve their status and working conditions. Vaccine equity and the urgent need to prioritise educators everywhere for vaccination is another critical message we will deliver.

Colleagues, after such a challenging period, I hope this World Teachers’ Day will help us find comfort and strength in each other and our global community. Together we can continue to effect the change our members need and deserve.

In solidarity,

David Edwards
General Secretary
Education International