By Nelson Manneh

The Gambia Teachers Union (GTU) on Friday the 5 October, 2018 observed World Teachers Day. The colorful event took place at a local hotel in Senegambia were teachers from different schools in the whole country gathered to reflect on their professionalism, challenges and way forward.

In his remarks Martin Gomez the president of the Gambia Teachers Union said, the voice of the teachers must be heard.

He said the day is not only for the entire educational community but for the society at large.

“The recommendation sets forth the rights and responsibilities of teachers and students for their initial preparation and education, recruitment, employment and teaching and learning conditions,” he said.

The GTU president said teachers are the means through which education is transmitted from one individual to another. “Without teachers the goal of universal primary and secondary education, a fundamental human right, will not be achieved,” he said.

Gomez said teachers are essential to universal and quality education for all. They are central in shaping attitudes and minds of coming generations to deal with new global challenges and opportunities.

“Teachers are essential to providing children and youths with high quality education and to achieving SDG4,” he noted.

Ms. Audrey Azoulay the GTU secretary general in her statement said education is a fundamental human right and a public good. It transforms lives by driving economic and social development. “It promotes peace, tolerance and social inclusion and eradicate poverty,” she said.

Madam Azoulay said the 2030 agenda to which the international community has committed itself calls for universal early childhood, primary and secondary education for all. That to achieve this goal they must expand access to quality education for every child and youth, end discrimination at all levels in the educational system and dramatically improve the quality of education and learning outcomes.

“To ensure that all children are prepared to learn and take their place in society, teachers must receive effective training and support that equip them to respond to the needs of all students, including the most marginalized,” she said.

She said teachers must receive quality initial teacher education, effective induction into the profession and have opportunities for high quality professional development to hone their skills throughout their career. And they must demonstrate to the public that teaching is a valued profession by providing decent salaries and improving their working conditions for educators at all levels of education.

Madam Adellaide Sosseh the guest speaker who dilated on the theme ‘The right to education means the right to qualified teachers’ said, no patient would like to be treated by a doctor who is not qualified, so why do we subject our children to teachers who are not qualified? She questioned.

She said there is no teacher who should be expected to deliver well without going through the necessary trainings in order to gather the knowledge expected.

“The government should therefore educate teachers to become qualified individuals in order to mould our children to become the good architect of our destiny,” she said.

She said even the Constitution talks about the right to education and this should be respected. For this right to be attained, she said that there must be teachers and not only mere teachers but qualified teachers.

“How can we say that there are equal rights and opportunities to education when some children are being taught by qualified teachers and some by unqualified teachers,” she questioned?

She said the teacher’s quality is what determines the performance of the students.

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