By Lerato Ndlovu
Today the world celebrates World Teachers’ Day following the adoption of the 1966 UNESCO recommendation concerning the welfare of teachers worldwide in regards to their rights, standards and expected responsibilities.
In a joint statement by UNESCO, ILO and UNICEF said the day has a great significance to the challenges faced by teachers during the pandemic, as they make a crucial contribution by ensuring continuity of learning and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of students.
“This year’s World Teachers’ Day has an even greater significance in light of the challenges that teachers have faced during the COVID-19 crisis, as the pandemic has shown, they make a crucial contribution to ensuring continuity of learning and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their students.
“Because of COVID-19, nearly 1.6 billion learners more than 90% of the world’s total enrolled student population, have been affected by school closures, COVID-19 crisis has also affected over 63 million teachers, highlighted persist weaknesses in many education systems and exacerbated inequalities, with devastating consequences for the most marginalized.
“In this crisis, teachers have shown, as they have done so often, great leadership and innovation in ensuring that no learner is left behind, they have worked individually and collectively to find solutions and create new learning environments for their students to allow education to continue,“ it read.
The statement went on to urge the teachers to think beyond COVID-19 pandemic and work to build greater resilience in the education systems, as a means of protecting education, financing, investing in high initial quality teacher education as well continuing professional development of the existing workforce teacher.
They urged governments to avail digital infrastructure and connectivity everywhere as well as protect teacher safety, health, wellbeing and employment working conditions
“Governments should ensure the availability of digital infrastructure and connectivity everywhere, including in rural and remote areas and contribute to the achievement of the 2030 targets under Sustainable Development Goal 4 that recognizes teachers as key to the achievement of the education sector.
“World Teachers Day has become the occasion to mark progress and reflect on ways to counter the remaining challenges for the promotion of the teaching profession,” it read.
In Zimbabwe teachers unions have been fighting for better working conditions. In a statement ZIMTA yesterday said they are discontented with the wages given to the teachers as compared to other civil servants.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe today released a statement on a meeting held with other Teachers unions and the responsible ministries (Primary and Secondary Education and Public Service) whereby they stated that the meeting yielded nothing for the incapacitated teachers.
“The two ministers said they do not have the capacity to respond to our demands therefore they will submit our demands, therefore they will submit our demands for discussion in the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, however we told them that we will only report for duty when our demands are met, we are glad that Public Service Minister clearly said no teacher will be fired for being incapacitated,” it read.