It was a cool Saturday morning at Otoo Market, I had gone to do my monthly shopping, amidst the pushing, haggling and gaggle in the ever busy market, which is believed to be a one stop market hub to buy all foodstuff that are very cheap and fresh from the locals. It is also said that every woman worth her salt in Lagos, went there for her monthly shopping and I was no exception. As I browsed through the foodstuff displayed along the various sheds, I felt a hand tap me on my shoulders, ignoring it, adjusting by handbag to make sure it was not the market rats known for stealing from peoples’ bags or purses by craftily cutting your bag with a sharp blade. I continued shopping but this time kept a close watch over my handbag. Again, someone tapped me on my shoulder, very softly, turning to see who it was, a young girl smiled at me, I was confused as I have never seen her before, she smiled again, and pointed to a lady who was few metres from us. It was like a movie, I ran towards her, shouting her name as people watched on, I was full of joy, I screamed, I wowed, I jumped, and we hugged again and again. She was my secondary school teacher who never let any stone unturned to shape the students in Federal Government Girls’ College Bauchi, Bauchi State, while making them disciplined and responsible women that we are today. She was Mrs. Okoye as we popularly called her. I was surprised but over the moon to see her. Her words of advice, her scolding, her tender care, all came flooding back into my memory, I remember her so well, she was energetic, sporty and beautiful tall lady. That she recognises me was amazing, I had added so much weight and I could go on and on. She had sent her daughter to call my attention, this explained the tapings on my shoulder, she told her that I would recognise her as soon as she points at her, if I didn’t, then I wasn’t her student at FGGC Bauchi, of course I did, who would ever forget Mrs. Okoye!
This is the feeling we all experience whenever we encounter our teachers who helped to shape us into what we are today. No wonder, 5 October every year is set aside to celebrate teachers around the world. A day to celebrate the unique and vital role of teachers, in every country and continent of the world.
World Teachers’ Day 2017 is celebrated under the theme “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers”, echoing the 2015 theme that followed the adoption of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) (link is external) in September 2015, when teacher empowerment was reaffirmed as a top priority in all education and development strategies. It has become the occasion to mark achievements and reflect on ways to counter the remaining challenges for the promotion of the teaching profession, like the acute shortage of teachers. Indeed, according to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, the world needs 69 Million teachers if we are to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030.
Across the world, enrolment in primary schools is rising rapidly, as a result of population rise and efforts to ensure more children receive a primary education. However, the quality of education is being compromised in many countries, particularly in Nigeria as they can’t get enough teachers into classrooms. This global teacher shortage is a setback for all development efforts.
Teaching personnel at institutions of higher education are often overlooked in discussions concerning the status of teachers. Like teachers at pre-primary, primary, and secondary levels, teaching in higher education is a profession requiring expert knowledge, specialized skills, and pedagogical competence.
In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the 1997 Recommendation, an international conference will take place at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris today. It will bring together teachers, trainers, policy-makers, as well as researchers and other education stakeholders to celebrate teaching, academic freedom, and what we need to do to ensure quality higher education and a sustainable future for the teaching profession.
The objectives of the conference are:
- To celebrate and highlight the contribution of teachers, from pre-primary through to higher education, to the education and development of our future citizens.
- To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1997 Recommendation concerning Higher-Education Teaching Personnel.
- To discuss the issue of quality in higher education teaching and what this means for quality teaching at all levels of education in light of achieving SDG 4 on inclusive and quality education for all.
- To showcase and discuss progress and persistent challenges in higher education such as institutional autonomy, academic freedom, and professional development of higher-education teaching personnel.
We hope that our educational policy makers in Nigeria would key into the decisions made at the end of the Conference and not pay lip service to them. This year’s theme; Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers, echoes what Myschoolarena has been advocating for; teachers’ personal development and activity based learning for the students through integrating schools and exposing teachers to world’s best practises in education and early childhood development.
Myschoolarena celebrates all teachers today and appreciates your immerse contribution to National Development.
We wish you
Happy World Teachers’ Day.
For further information, visit the World Teachers’ Day website.