World Teachers' Day 2020 on 5 October constituted an unprecedented moment for educators worldwide. Streaming live on YouTube for 24 hours, more than 500,000 people around the globe tuned in to follow the 100+ sessions, delivered in 7 languages, to reconnect about what educators have learned during the pandemic and what it will take to build back better.

The challenge

Held annually on 5 October since 1994, EI/UNESCO World Teachers' Day has been a landmark for the global education community ever since. In partnership with UNICEF and the International Labor Organization, Education International and its 384 member organizations have been celebrating the teaching profession worldwide and drawing attention to the global education target of leaving no one behind.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly added to the challenges faced by already over-extended education systems throughout the world. Adopting the possibilities of remote participation, as an opportunity rather than a challenge, World Teachers' Day 2020 followed the theme "Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future".

The approach

"Taking World Teachers' Day 2020 online has opened many doors in raising global awareness and spotlighting the importance of teachers and their unions in laying out a new, more just and sustainable vision for our schools and societies", says Timo Linsenmaier, Senior Coordinator, Communications at Education International (EI). "We could reach more people than we were ever able to before. Creating a 24-hour program was quite the task but has sparked a certain wow-effect that certainly helped amplify our reach", he continues.

As the earth rotated around its axis, every four hours gave floor to a different region to curate the global conversation. Out of the 384 EI member organizations, 160 have directly contributed to the event, accounting for 73% of the 31.3 million educators EI represents worldwide.

We were able to bring together people from all around the world and create a truly colorful and inclusive conversation. Interpretation has always been quintessential for us in bringing people together and it's definitely continuing to gain importance,

says Petra Gwyn-Jones, Executive Officer - Administration at EI.

The outcome

Working on the Interprefy platform, 24 interpreters, both in-house and outsourced professionals recruited through partner language service providers, delivered all interventions simultaneously in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic and Japanese to half a million viewers on Education International's YouTube channels.

"The level of interpretation quality was incredible. We've received feedback from people saying that the Spanish and Arabic interpretation in particular were too good to be true", Petra Gwyn-Jones reports.

We were really happy both with the level of interpreters, as well as Interprefy's services. They always respond straight away and always get it right."

- Petra Gwyn-Jones, Executive Officer - Administration, Education International

With half a million viewers over the 24 hours and the hashtag #5octLive appearing in nearly 26,000 tweets, it's safe to say that World Teachers' Day 2020 was a success in raising awareness for its mission to leave no one behind.

"We've had over 22,000 people listening to the interpreting channels, and people always ask for more languages, so we'll definitely accommodate for that as we're planning our next online events. Virtual events are here to stay, and we'll have to continue to rethink how we can keep the engagement high", Timo Linsenmaier concludes.