World Teachers Day was commemorated yesterday, 22 November 2012, at the Gambia College Campus in Brikama. The theme for this year's celebration is "Take a Stand for Teachers".
Speaking at the commemoration, Mr Yaya Almatarr Jobe, Acting Secretary General of the National UNESCO Commission (NATCOM),
said Teachers Day is celebrated worldwide on the 5th October every year with funding from UNESCO and in partnership with the Gambia College and Gambia Teachers' Union. He said they are there to celebrate the day with the rest of the world.
NATCOM Acting Secretary General told the gathering that there was nothing more apt for him on the day than to relay the joint message from the heads of UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, ILO and Education International and which read.
The message noted that teachers are the foundation of good schools, and good schools are the pillars of healthy and democratic communities.
It stated that teachers are the keys to reaching the Education for All goals.
"An estimated 1.7 million more teacher positions are required to reach the goals of Universal Primary Education by 2015. As we recruit new teachers, we must continue to improve the quality of teaching and learning. Governments are urged to provide teachers with access to training opportunities and continued professional development, based on appropriate qualifications. Attracting committed and diverse teachers requires environments that value professional autonomy and equality. Teachers need to be supported in fulfilling their responsibilities to students, and their voices must be listened to by school feeders, education systems and public authorities. Teachers' salaries must be set objectively and fairly, such that remuneration is commensurate with the importance of the profession and the qualifications and responsibilities of individual teachers", stated the message.
The joint message further noted that teachers, in turn, must be accountable to their students and communities, adding that the teaching profession is encouraged to design and implement teacher codes of conduct, based on the highest ethical and professional standards, and to be oriented around the goal of teaching all students effectively and equally.
The message concluded "This World Teachers' Day is an opportunity to honour the women and men who inspire, challenge and nurture us. On this day, we call for the creation of supportive teaching environments, adequate teacher training and safeguards for the rights of teachers. We must break the vicious cycle of declining professional conditions for teachers in order to improve the quality of learning for all. The world expects a lot from teachers -- they, in turn, are right to expect as much from us. This World Teachers' Day is an opportunity to take a stand for all teachers."
Mr. Jobe expressed his hope that they we will be able to put this message in consideration and come up with deliberations that would lead and guide them to develop relevant and realistic recommendations that are pertinent to the theme.
He said "Our teacher education programme at The Gambia College should respond to this need sufficiently because the key to good teaching is resourcefulness, enthusiasm and creativity, which are qualities that cannot be imposed on teachers. They could only be encouraged by examples and training at pre-service and in-service programmes."
This, he said, can be done but only if all of them as teachers, teacher trainees, Curriculum Developers, policy makers and implementers and all stakeholders in education join hands to take a stand for teachers.
He concluded that he hopes conservatism will not take precedence over innovation as it is always the case in reform.
Mr. Faal from the Regional Office was among the speakers who gave similar remarks at the gathering.
The commemoration was graced by teachers, students of the Gambia College, UTG, Education officials among others.