Time to empower our teachers


YESTERDAY was rather too quiet, not much fanfare in the country.
The day should have been marked with at least some celebrations because if it weren’t for these people, no one will be what they are today.
Every year, the world marks World Teachers Day on Oct 5 where everyone celebrates the limitless contributions made by teachers around the world.
Day after day, year in and year out, these dedicated women and men guide and accompany students through the world of learning, helping them discover and fulfil their potential.
In doing so, teachers not only help shape the individual futures of millions of children; they also help shape a better world for all.
Teachers are a critical foundation of every society’s long-term strength – providing children, young people and adults with the knowledge and skills they need to fulfil their potential.
The theme of this year’s World Teachers’ Day is “Teachers: Leading in crises, re-imagining the future”.
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly added to the challenges faced by already over-extended education systems throughout the world.
It is no exaggeration to say that the world is at a crossroads and, now more than ever, we should work with teachers to protect the right to education and guide it into the unfolding landscape brought about by the pandemic.
The issue of teacher leadership in relation to crisis responses is not just timely, but critical in terms of the contributions teachers have made to provide remote learning, support vulnerable populations, re-open schools, and ensure that learning gaps have been mitigated.
The discussions surrounding World Teachers’ Day will also address the role of teachers in building resilience and shaping the future of education and the teaching profession.
In PNG, these group of people tirelessly put in the extra hours, endure harsh travelling and living conditions to be affected for any matter. They often live in difficult conditions, and lack appropriate initial training, continuous professional development, and consistent support.
They are sometimes victims of discrimination and even violent attacks.
The quote by Prateek Chauhan ‘A teacher is never an ordinary person, construction and destruction can be produced in his lap’ basically shows the power of teachers and teaching.
In some countries, teachers’ salaries are the highest in the government workers’ salary scale.
This reflects the sound understanding their leaders have.
It is undeniable because without a classroom teacher, a public servant, director, manager, chief executive officer, minister, lawyer, consultant, you name it, cannot do what they do and cannot read, count or write.
Teaching is a very important activity on which the base of any nation and culture is established.
Sadly in PNG, far too many teachers don’t have the freedom and support they need to do their vitally important jobs.
We need to reaffirm the value of empowered teachers and recognise the challenges many encounter in their professional lives across the country so they can deliver what we all want – quality education.
Being an empowered teacher means having access to high-quality training, fair wages, and continuous opportunities for professional development.

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