As Nigeria joins the world to commemorate the 2023 World Teachers’ Day celebration, teachers have been advised to be appreciative of efforts by the Federal Government to reposition the teaching profession.
The Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman at the 2023 commemoration in Abuja on Thursday, said the day is set aside to honour teachers for their invaluable roles in the development of humanity and society.
The theme for this year’s commemoration is: “The Teachers We Need for the Education We Want: Global Imperative to Reverse Teachers Shortage.”
Mamman said some of the promises made to teachers have been fulfilled, as they can now retire at either 65 years of age or 40 years of service; whichever comes first.
He added that teachers’ salaries have since been placed on the first line charge for timely payment.
“Today, we have come together not merely as individuals but as a global community to celebrate the unsung heroes of our society. World Teachers Day is not just an annual observance but a testament to the transformative power of education and the dedication of those who facilitate it.
“As we embark on this event with the theme: “The Teacher We Need for the Education We Want: The Global Trend to Reverse the Teacher Shortage,” let us reflect on the impediments that teachers encounter while instilling knowledge, values, and hope.
“We have to reevaluate our approach to teacher training, recruitment, welfare and equip teachers with the skills, resources and the recognition they deserve to meet the evolving demands of education in the 21st Century.
“It is, therefore, paramount that while reaffirming the importance of their invaluable role in shaping a brighter tomorrow every year, there is dire need to clear the hurdles that prevent the optimal realisation of their roles and targets,” he said.
Mamman explained that the travail of educating young minds goes beyond the confines of the classroom.
According to him, it is a continuous effort to inspire, motivate and guide students towards their full potential.
“Teachers should note that their words resonate deeply with their students and pupils thereby reaffirming the importance of the educator’s role in nurturing creativity or cluelessness and curiosity or apathy.
“We all know that teaching is more than imparting knowledge and involves instilling a lifelong love for learning, character building, inducting positive attitude and general relationship with people outside the classroom.
“All these are informally transmitted through the teacher’s conduct.
“As we celebrate teachers today, there is a need for teachers in Nigeria to be appreciative of efforts by the Federal Government to reposition the teaching profession,” he said.
We have to reevaluate our approach to teacher training, recruitment, welfare and equip teachers with the skills, resources and the recognition they deserve to meet the evolving demands of education in the 21st Century.
Shortage of teachers
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Education, Yusuf Sununu, explained that the shortage of teachers in Nigeria and in other parts of the world poses a challenge.
Sununu said that it was time to reflect on the critical role teachers play by instilling knowledge, values, a thirst for learning in their students to transform them into responsible citizens.
“If all equipped teachers are passionate and ready to pursue excellence, the teachers we have in our schools can collectively revolutionise the basic and secondary education sub-sectors.
“In Nigeria, as in many other countries worldwide, the shortage of qualified teachers and the desired form of education pose a significant challenge.
“Ongoing international deliberations recommend changes that anchor on commitment, connections, communication and creativity in the prevailing traditional education methodology.
“Therefore, education is at a critical juncture and teachers in service require constant training and retraining to fit into the scheme of things.
“The teacher we want shall be creative, active listener, engaging, collaborative and has empathy. He also must be adaptive, focused on growth, patience, respectful and prepared to engage in lifelong learning,” he said.
Sununu added that the inability of some teachers who may be computer literate but unable to deploy Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in teaching and learning affects education outcome and the ability to achieve national development goals.
“It is, therefore, imperative that teachers in Nigeria should take advantage of the Open Education Resource (OER) and other online and in-person study centres to upgrade and become ‘the teachers we want’.
“This is for us to collectively ensure that every child in Nigeria has access to quality education,” he said.
The celebration witnessed match passes by teachers across the 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as well as presentation of President’s Teachers and Schools Excellence Awards.
Omolade Adeyemi, a teacher from the SUBEB Model Primary School, Ekiti came best in the public school categories, while St. Paul Academy, Jos is the best school in the private school categories.
Ijeoma Ekumankama of the Federal Government College, Nise, Anambra, is the Best Principal; Best Teacher in the Private School Categories is Ruth Oraekwu, Best Administrator in the Public Category is Oladimeji Bello, among others. (NAN)