Teachers play vital role in society


WHILE the country shifts its focus to the start of the 2019 academic year in less than a week, an equally important component to the education equation got into the books yesterday.
Around the country, teachers were duty-bound to have resumed yesterday.
They then would have filled out the resumption of duty form that would get them back onto the payroll.
Sounds simple and many would say “straight forward”.
Only a teacher who has been posted to a rural school knows it is not that straight forward.
What guarantee is there that the forms will get to the Education Department in Port Moresby before the cut-off date of being put off the payroll?
Teachers who have not registered and are without National Identity (NID) card, by the end of March, will be automatically suspended from the Government’s payroll system.
There are 58,933 teachers in the country.
Over 200 teachers in NCD have been registered so far.
In total, 2300 teachers are registered on the NID system.
Apart from the NID registration, continuous issues affecting teachers in the country range from salary to leave fares, accommodation, allowances and their welfare.
A teacher, as an architect of our future generation, demands that only the best and the most-competent members of our intelligentsia be allowed to qualify for this noble profession.
We must pay attention to the fact that any teacher, before becoming a teacher, is a human being.
He or she has wishes and needs, strengths and weaknesses, which need to be encouraged and motivated to be this “ideal teacher”.
The role of teachers in nation-building and national development cannot be whittled away.
The future of a child, and society at large, can only be secured if the welfare of teachers is given top priority by Government and other concerned authorities.
Teachers play an extraordinary role in the lives of children, especially in their formative years.
The importance of teachers in development of society cannot be understated as their influence can, and will, stretch on long after the final bell rings beyond the walls of the school.
The role of the teacher is complex, far beyond what people can assume as just someone who teaches what has been programmed in the curriculum.
The treatment to the teaching profession does not enjoy due respect in the society.
An important reason for this is understood to be the poor salaries of our primary and secondary teachers, which are no better than that of clerks.
Primary and secondary teachers are particularly at a disadvantage.
Their status is lower than that of doctors, engineers, advocates, and civil servants; even lower than that of semi-literate and illiterate traders.
Because of that, a large number of our teachers are therefore, frustrated and uninterested.
When we speak of good teachers, it means that a teacher must be a model of faith and piety and should have a fairly good knowledge.
A teacher should consider it his/her duty to educate and train his/her students and should feel responsible for it.
A teacher should be a missionary, a mentor, a reformer and a guide besides being a dedicated tutor.
In other words, he/she should be a perfect teacher and a perfect education.
That can be achieved on the way forward by improving standards of education, issues bordering on teachers’ welfare and professional development, incentives for teachers, retirement age for teachers, improved teaching facilities, regular promotion of qualified teachers and strengthened monitoring system.