Our Teachers: the past, present and future.
They show exemplary leadership skill in the field of study, so patient and tolerant albeit shortcomings, assisting along the way without any sign of resentment. In moments of success, when students do extraordinary well, they rejoice to the moon and back. Encouraging students to feel good about themselves and edging them to envision there is nothing impossible that cannot be achieved cum making a one stop call at homes of absent students just to ascertain their well-being.
Their insistence for the right things to be done has shaped many lives tremendously. Their compelling guidance and tutors to obey parents, respect elders, leaders, and to fear God are footsteps and marks that cannot be easily erased.
Teachers have played pivotal parental roles in lives and continue to do so even in the lives of children. Taking care of one or two children is never an easy task in homes, let alone of a teacher taking care of a whole class of about twenty to thirty students.
Teachers in diverse ways have encouraged, motivated and sometimes even sponsored students crawl to higher pedestals in lives. There are some students, in brief distress moments in their lives, some might have stayed out of school if not for the insistence of teachers. That is the distinguishing mark of a sincere dedicated teacher.
Teachers are an investment for the future of countries. What today’s children will face in adult life cannot be predicted and so the teachers of today and tomorrow need the skills, knowledge and support that will enable them to meet the diverse learning needs of every girl and boy.
It is recognized that teachers are not only a means to implementing education goals they are the keys to sustainability and national capacity in achieving learning and creating societies based on knowledge, values and ethics. They however continue to face challenges brought about by staff shortages, poor training and low status
The UNESCO Institute for Statistics estimates that to achieve the goal of universal primary education by 2020 countries will need to recruit a total of 12.6 million primary teachers. World Teachers’ Day on October 5th hence highlights the fact that teachers must be empowered as an important step towards quality education and sustainable societies.
Today, October 5th, the world celebrates the 20th anniversary of World Teachers Day. The day commemorates the adoption of the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the status of teachers in 1966. In many countries, the quality of education is undermined by a deficit of teachers. About 1.4 million teachers are missing in classrooms and they are needed to achieve Universal Primary Education (UPE) by 2015, which is this year, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. But fortunately again the SDGs are looking into making goal 4 workable on or before the year 2030.
Added to the challenge of numbers is one quality all too often, teachers are found working without resources or proper training. The stakes are high, because today, global learning crisis is another challenge, with an estimate of 250 million children not acquiring basic skills of reading and writing. As countries have accelerated towards 2015 and the new development agenda is now shaped, the fourth goal being quality education, it is essential that teachers should and forever remain a priority.
Parts of Global Thematic Consultation on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda states the essentials for supporting teachers’ effectiveness: good conditions of employment, including appropriate contracts and salaries, and prospects for career progression and promotion; good conditions in the work environment, creating school contexts that are conducive to teaching; high-quality pre-and in-service training for teachers, respect for human rights and the principles of inclusive education; effective management cum teachers recruitment and deployment.
In Nigeria, civil servants are generally not treated well teachers inclusive. Teachers have endured enough, the often expressed theory that teachers rewards are in heaven is beautiful but again the reward should begin here on earth. They are often not provided with instructional materials to carry out their jobs and yet they are the first to be blamed for the poor performance of students, yet these Nigerian teachers still go about their business of making a difference in the lives of these students with the hope that the future smiles bright on them.
At this critical point, the international community, governments, parastatals and individuals need to stand united to support teachers and quality learning worldwide, especially in those countries where the highest number of out-of-school children exist. Teachers are our angels.