THE EDITOR: We seem not interested in celebrating our teachers in TT. Instead, we seem more prone to seek out, identify and decry them.
Effective from 1994, UNESCO committed itself to celebrating teachers each year on a day in October to highlight its concern for appreciating, assessing and improving their quality worldwide and provide an opportunity for all stakeholders related to education to consider issues related to teachers and teaching.
Unfortunately, since 1994, I have not been able to detect nationally any tremor on that October day. It is as if we in TT seem totally unaware of such worldwide appreciation and concern for teachers, their status, and their contribution. Be it TTUTA, the Ministry of Education, the different providers of teacher education, and other stakeholders, none saw it fit to highlight on this day - in the electronic and print media, or otherwise - the importance of teachers in society or to evaluate the status of teaching and the challenges the education system faces in the 21st century.
I trust that next year all will more appropriately embrace World Teachers’ Day. This year UNESCO’s theme was, “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher.” However, we in Trinidad and Tobago have long surpassed many developing nations when we assess qualifications in terms of certificates, diplomas, and degrees.
As a result, I now submit that while most of our teachers hold impressive diplomas and degrees, our graduation results do not reflect their quality. Hopefully, the current focus on reforming the system may ensure that the necessary resources and leadership are made more available to empower teachers to put greater emphasis on educating students in the affective domain to prepare all to address the imperatives of national development – and not just to pass examinations.
Raymond S Hackett, Curepe