Editorial comment – Acknowledging our teachers

Education minister, Premila Kumar while wishing teachers around the nation a Happy World Teachers' Day said "We salute each and every teacher for their dedication, commitment and kindness in shaping the character, calibre, and future of a child. They deserve the highest level of respect and honor." Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT

We had another one of those important days that was celebrated this week. World Teachers’ Day was on Wednesday, October 5.

It was a special day for teachers around the world and was an opportunity to reflect on the role of people who are an integral part of our development as a nation.

The day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 ‘UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers’.

It has been set aside as an annual event since 1994 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The UNESCO website notes the day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, which sets benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers, and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions.

The Recommendation, it states, concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel was adopted in 1997 to complement the 1966 Recommendation by covering teaching personnel in higher education.

In a joint statement on the UNESCO website, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, Gilbert F. Houngbo, Director-General, International Labour Organization, Catherine Russell, Executive Director, UNICEF, David Edwards, General Secretary, Education International said: “The world has committed to transform education and to address the main obstacles that prevent teachers from leading this transformation.”

The COVID-19 crisis, they note, revealed that teachers are the engines at the heart of our education systems.

Without their work, it is impossible to provide inclusive, equitable and quality education to every learner.

They are also essential to pandemic recovery and preparing learners for the future.

Yet unless we transform conditions for teachers, the promise of that education will remain out of reach for those who need it most.

Recent estimates, they say, point to the need for an additional 24.4 million teachers in primary education and some 44.4 million teachers for secondary education if we are to achieve universal basic education by 2030.

In sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia alone, an additional 24 million teachers are required, accounting for about half of the need for new teachers in developing countries.

Wednesday was an opportunity for us to acknowledge the work of our teachers, and their influence on the lives of our children.

Let’s face it, over the years they have shared knowledge, set the platform for many of us to realise our potential, live our dreams and basically reach out for the stars so to speak.

That’s aside from the many other roles they play, from being guardians, counsellors, role models and friends.

Lest we forget, they also have their own families and responsibilities to attend to daily. We share the view that there needs to be more support for teachers.

In fact we should be acknowledging the effort of our teachers everyday.

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