By FRED NWAOZOR
Today, Wednesday October 5, the global community is marking the 2016 World Teachers Day. In view of the unavoidable impact of teachers on any society, in 1994, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reached a unanimous resolution that October 5 of every year should be observed by all the UN member states as World Teachers’ Day.
The annual World Teachers’ Day, which is aimed at mobilizing support for teachers as well as ensuring that the needs of future generations would continue to be met by teachers, was first observed in 1994.
According to UNESCO, World Teachers Day represents a significant contribution that teachers make to education and global development. On its part, Education International (EI), which is the global union federation that represents education professionals worldwide, strongly solicits that World Teachers’ Day ought to be internationally recognized and celebrated around the world.
Such attribute can be referred to as ‘man’s quest for knowledge’.
In the same vein, for anyone to acquire any form of knowledge, he must be taught by someone. In a situation where the knowledge recipient is being taught by a non-human such as book, internet, or as the case may be, it is worthy to note that that material or avenue through which he/she acquired the knowledge was invented by someone. Therefore, teaching cannot be possible without the effort of a person.
Someone who impacts knowledge to other person(s), directly or indirectly, is generally referred to as a teacher. A teacher is someone who teaches others better ways of doing something or a better way of living. He can also be described as someone who helps or contributes meaningfully in the uplift of someone else’s educational status or level. Hence, teaching is the act of impacting knowledge.
On the other hand, education is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to another.
Anyone can be identified as a teacher, considering the relationship that exists between the persons involved. It would equally interest us to acknowledge that, there are persons who embrace teaching as a profession. This set of people could be regarded as institutional teachers.
The latter are the people the World Teachers Day is targeted to celebrate.
The institutional teachers are the ones that are often recognized as ‘teachers’ owing to the fact that they are the ones that bring out their time, energy, resources, to the fullness, to ensure that knowledge is fully and duly obtained by its seekers. Also, anyone who practises teaching or who takes teaching as a profession, must have passed through a certain professional training in a higher citadel of learning, particularly an education institute.
In most nations, it is disheartening to note that this set of people known as teachers, who had contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of the nation, are treated poorly as regards payment of salaries and other incentives. It is even more pathetic to acknowledge that in some states, these persons who are meant to be the leading professionals are regarded as second class, if not third class citizens.
The truth is that teachers are important in our lives. Teachers are the building blocks of any society. They remain the foundation on which any nation is built.
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the 23rd Anniversary of the World Teachers Day, the civil society and other stakeholders are expected to encourage the teaching profession by ensuring that the following conditions are met by any employer:
Good and attractive employment conditions, including appropriate contracts, salaries, and prospects for career progression and promotion, conducive work environment, high quality pre- and in-service training. Effective management that will include teachers’ recruitment and deployment.
The international community and governments need to stand firm and united to support teachers as well as quality learning especially in countries where the number of out-of-school children is high.
In this regard, governments acknowledge that education systems are only as good as their teachers. The existing teachers’ unions are also expected to support their respective governments in the area of maintenance of our schools.
By so doing, problems such as laxity, apathy, truancy and other nonchalant attitudes found among present day teachers would be checked.
These measures, if properly implemented, would enable teachers in the country to be proud of the profession, regardless of the circumstance. This will help to uplift the country’s educational standards.
Nwaozor writes from Owerri