The North West Education department joins the world in celebrating the World Teachers Day. The World Teachers Day in 2019, will be celebrated with the theme of, “Young Teachers: The future of the Profession”. The day provides the occasion to celebrate and to address some of the issues central in attracting and keeping the brightest minds and young talents in the profession.

The World Teacher’s Day has been held annually on 5 October since 1994, to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 International Labour Organisation (ILO)/United Nation Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. This Recommendation sets forth the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions.

According to the UNESCO, the early twenty-first century is not an easy time to be a teacher. While teachers were once highly respected professionals, valued, trusted and accepted as inspirational role models for young people, nowadays they too easily serve as scapegoats for the failures of education systems. In societies that tend to glorify celebrities, praises are more likely to be directed on performing artists, sports personalities and social media influencers than on outstanding teachers.

The United Nation Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s further highlighted that, there are, without doubt, considerable challenges to the occupational, social and legal status of the teaching profession worldwide. Certain western countries also report a decline in public perception and respect for teachers more generally, suggesting that families no longer automatically support teacher’s authority over their students in the classroom. Teachers and education staff can experience intimidation from their students and family members. In some countries, the public’s negative perception of teachers is such that education staff regularly face the threat of violence.

Taken together, all of this points to a profession under threat. With large percentages of teachers likely to retire from practice in the coming decade, a major concern is that not enough young candidates are coming in to the profession to replace them. Over 69 million teachers must be recruited by 2030 for primary and secondary education to meet the SDG 4 education targets. Of this number, 48.6 million new recruits will be needed to replace those who are to leave the profession either through retirement or voluntarily. In South and West Asia, and in sub-Saharan Africa in particular, acute shortages exist, indicated the United Nation Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

These challenges and transformations in the 21st century are very real. As the world commemorate World Teachers’ Day 2019, time should be taken to look at the future of the profession and the role of young teachers in it – taking on-board the changing climate of education and schooling, the need to draw in and retain a new generation of dedicated educators, and to prepare them for the 21st century challenges of ‘teaching in diversity’ and ‘diversity in teaching.’

The North West Education MEC, Mmaphefo Matsemela thanked all teachers for the hard work, passion and dedication which continue to be displayed to the learners.
“On behalf of the entire department, I would like to thank all teachers for being the light of our society. Our communities depend on them and they should continue to impart knowledge to the society. Without teachers our society will be lost and as government we need to preserve this special profession. I would like to make a humble appeal to our learners and the future generations to continue to follow teaching as a career”, said MEC Matsemela.

MEC Matsemela indicated that as a province they have dedicated October month to all teachers. She highlighted that as a province together with the teacher Unions they are going to celebrate the World Teachers Month in different Sub – districts of the province by engaging on different topics like financial management, healthy lifestyle, safety in schools and close by taking part in different sporting codes.

The World Teachers Day will be celebrated officially on Monday, 07 October 2019.

Author: tkhechane