Sep 22, 2016, 10:53 AM
The Gambia Teachers Union (GTU) on 5 October celebrated World Teachers’ Day on the theme ‘A call for Teachers’.
The annual event was meant to celebrate and recognize the efforts of teachers across the globe.
The commemoration, which brought together teachers from various schools in the country and attracted government officials, was marked by the GTU at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
In his remarks on the occasion, the president of the GTU, Lamin K. Marong, pointed out the significance of the event as it brought together teachers, students, education officials, leaders and friends from development communities to demonstrate their collective commitment to the teaching field.
This year’s celebration, with the theme “Call for Teachers”, significantly highlights the important role of teachers in the lives of societies and in nation building.
Teachers are one of many pillars of a progressive society thus the need to recognize their efforts, he said.
“Teachers bear the responsibility of ensuring learning opportunities for all; meet the development goals as well as human capital needs of a nation. Teachers lay the early foundation for sustainable social, economic and environmental development of a country,” Mr Marong remarked.
He said World Teachers’ Day brings to attention the need to raise the status of the profession not only for the benefit of the teachers and students but also for the society, to acknowledge the crucial role teachers play.
All over the world quality education offers hope and the promise of a better standard of living, he said, adding that there can be no quality education without competent and motivated teachers.
He however highlighted the need in helping children learn and grow as well as to have smaller class sizes, robust curriculum, adequate resources, and collaboration among teachers to share best practices.
He called on school administrators and community leaders to explore and implement proven ideas for improving schools as a basic necessity.
Isatou Ndow of the GTU stressed the need for recognition of teachers’ efforts in schools, adding that parents are only able to take care of few children while teachers are able to handle many more children than parents can handle.
Teachers, she said, are entrusted with the responsibilities of intellectual upbringing and character-molding of children.
Mrs Ndow further described teachers as warriors, saying they fight against ignorance and prejudice.
She added that there are many people who need to be liberated from that cushion of ignorance and prejudice which she said could only be done through teachers.
She however stressed that for teachers to achieve this, they (teachers) must strive to acquire new ideas and new developments in the various fields of knowledge.
For his part, Baboucarr Bouye, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, highlighted the leadership provided by teachers through education.
The role teachers play in creating and shaping the future of nation is remarkable, he said.
PS Bouye also said the ministry will join ranks with the GTU to discuss issues at a symposium with the hope that the discussion would generate good and positive ideas to share best practices for an improved education service delivery.
“I offer my commitment to listening to the needs of our educators and from a policy perspective, ensuring that while we strive to improve the standard of education for all children in The Gambia, we are at the same time improving the circumstances of the men and women charged with the responsibility of educating our children,” he said.
He stressed that they are committed to ensuring that policy is informed by international good practices as well as inputs from stakeholders, particularly teachers.
The president of the National Patriotic Student Association (NAPSA), Jarga E. Gaye, said NAPSA has continued to put teachers at the forefront of all their welfare sensitizations to students in schools since its inception in 2001.
Teachers constitute a useful constituent not only in their educational sector, but all other sectors if the realization of their development agenda is anything to go by, he said, adding that without the teaching profession, no other profession exists.
He also emphasised the need for quality teaching, professionalism and commitment.