World Teachers’ Day puts focus on empowerment

POSTED: 10/5/15 5:24 PM


St. Maarten – It’s World Teachers’ Day today and it will be held under the theme Empowering Teachers, Building Sustainable Societies.

The day is about highlighting the importance of empowering teachers to achieve inclusive and sustainable global development.  This year it highlights the need to empower all teachers through the provision of decent, safe and healthy working conditions, trust, professional autonomy and academic freedom.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), despite the global recognition of the importance of teachers in changing children’s lives and building sustainable and prosperous societies, they are all too often undervalued and under-empowered, particular in the area of early childhood education.

Worldwide there is a growing shortage of quality teachers and inadequate professional training.  The Unesco Institute of Statistics estimates that to achieve universal primary education by 2020, countries will need to recruit 12.6 million primary school teachers.

Teachers are not only a means to implementing education goals; they are also key to sustainability and national capacity in achieving learning and creating societies based on knowledge, values and ethics, education Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs stated in a brief World Teachers’ Day message.

“World Teachers’ Day is a special time to show appreciation to our teachers for their dedicated service to our school-going youth.  Our teachers are the foundation of our society where it concerns the advancement of our children who are the future of this country.  They are the future business leaders and politicians who will chart the way forward for generations to come,” Bourne-Gumbs said.

“The role played by teachers is essential to our national development as a nation and society.  As a country we are confronted with challenges and changes where educators have to adapt due to changing times.  As teachers we must stand firm, work together, and help each other grow professionally and support one another so can continue to move our nation forward with confidence in building a sustainable Sint Maarten society.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank every teacher and educator for their hard work,” the minister stated.  “Let this day be a reflection upon what has been achieved over the years, and let us support each other as we continue to grow our teaching fraternity from strength to strength as we equip our young pupils and students with the skills for the future.  I wish you all Happy Teachers’ Day.”

The Declaration at the World Education Forum in May 2015 in Incheon (South Korea) recognized the importance of empowerment.  At the forum, 1,600 participants from 160 countries committed “to ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems.”

The Oslo Summit, Education for Development last July highlighted the need for further investment in teacher education.


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