On Friday October 5, Guyana joined more than 100 countries around the world to celebrate World Teachers’ Day also known as International Teachers Day under the theme “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher.”
This year’s theme should remind us in Guyana as well as the global community that the right to education cannot be achieved without trained and qualified teachers. The day highlights the fact that education is a key fundamental right and an entitlement to free compulsory education based on the equitable access for all children, irrespective of their status or prevailing social circumstances.
However, this is not the current situation in Guyana.
World Teachers’ Day is an annual event that aims to honour teachers of the world and to bring attention to issues impacting them and other educational professionals worldwide.
The event was established in 1994 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to observe the 1966 signing of UNESCO and the International Labour Organization recommendation concerning the status of teachers and to address the issues affecting teachers worldwide.
It outlined the standards pertaining to the recruitment, training and retention of teachers throughout the world and advocated for their employment and working conditions.
Since 1994, World Teachers’ Day has been celebrated every year around the world to help people understand the critical role that teachers play in the classroom. It is also to recognize the important roles teachers have played in societies and to recognize them for all the incredible work they do in educating the next generation.
Teaching is a very noble profession and teachers are the heartbeat of that profession in that they educate, nurture and shape the character of future generations. Over the years, teachers have contributed more to the future of our society than any other profession. They are responsible for making the difference in a nation and the creation of all other professions.
This year’s World Teachers’ Day marked the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes education as a fundamental human right. Particularly in an era where proponents of populist politics seek to disavow the importance of knowledge and expertise at every opportunity.
It is precisely the knowledge, expertise and professionalism of teachers that our students rely on to provide them with the skills and the capacity for the critical thinking that they will need for success in a rapidly changing world.
On this day, various events are arranged in many countries around the world to honour and celebrate teachers. This year they involved conferences emphasizing the importance of teaching and learning, extra training sessions for teachers, recruitment drives for teachers from among university students and events to increase the profile of teachers and the role they play in the various communities.
In some countries the day was marked by an assembly of students in schools to thank and honour their teachers.
In Guyana, the celebration of World Teachers Day saw Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, praising teachers even as the Teachers’ Union remains at odds with the government over salary increases for teachers.
The Minister of Education noted the selfless contributions, dedication, commitment and tireless efforts made by teachers to educate students to become independent thinkers and positive contributors to the country and the world at large.
But the president of the Teachers Union has called on the Minister to respect and honour the hard work of the nation’s 10,000 teachers by offering them decent wages. Teachers have changed lives, inspired hope, ignited the imagination and instilled a love of learning.
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