NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE 2018 WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India once said that quote ”Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me.” Unquote. The importance of teachers in the shaping of character, mind, caliber, and the future of an individual and by extension a nation is priceless. This priceless service by teachers made commentators to allude to the saying that a teacher’s reward is in Heaven and not on Earth. Since we are still on Earth, the World Teachers Day was instituted. Established in 1994, the World Teachers Day, emanates from UNESCO / ILO’s 1966 recommendation concerning the status of Teachers. The recommendation is now a standard-setting instrument that addresses the status and conditions of teachers around the world. The World Teachers Day is devoted to appreciating and improving the conditions of educators. This internationally recognised day acknowledges teachers all over the world. The day is used to highlight educators’ commitment to teaching and learning, their overall contributions to national development as well as the challenges they go through in the course of their work. The impact that a single teacher makes on the lives of students cannot be over emphasised. By working daily, teachers ensure that their students receive quality education that prepares them for the future. A teacher’s passion keeps the educational process running smoothly and productively. Without this passion, the educational system will not be as effective as it should be. It is common knowledge that teaching can be a thankless job, yet some teachers stick to their job even in difficult times because of the love of educating students. A lot of teachers who accept postings to remote rural areas work under difficult circumstances to train the future leaders of the nation. Apart from inadequate teaching and learning materials to work with in some schools, lack of some social amenities in rural communities undermines the work of most teachers. Teaching under trees and weak structures can be demoralising but a lot of teachers work hard in such situations to educate children under their care. By their professional training, teachers develop the innovative teaching practices in response to student needs. Researchers in education suggest that students learn more in classrooms with highly dedicated and motivated teachers. This therefore, means that raising the motivation and status of teachers is vital to improving education in the country. Learning suffers in many education systems due to limited motivation for teachers to give off their best. Though some educational policies and programmes may be well intentioned, they tend to undermine teacher motivation. It is therefore imperative for educational policy planners to carefully consider the impact of their decisions on teachers and their motivations to teach in the formulation and implementation of policies.
This year’s National Teachers’ Day and awards is on the theme, “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher”. The Award which has been in existence for years has been re-branded as the Ghana Teacher Prize. As teachers and the general public converge to witness the commemoration and recognition of selected teachers, it expected that the winners of the various awards will receive prizes that will motivate them to do more and whet the appetite of other teachers to emulate the shining examples of the winners. Let us all support the works of teachers because as Former U.S President Barack Obama stated, quote ”if you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.” Unquote. We say ayekoo and congratulations to all teachers for their immense contributions to education and overall national development.
BY: PETER KORDA, PRO, GHANA NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TEACHERS, GNAT