Today, October 5, the spotlight is on teachers as the world celebrates World Teachers Day. It is a singular honour for me to represent the leadership of the education sector in saying thank you to all the teachers in Antigua and Barbuda. Teachers have always deserved our greatest respect, our sincerest gratitude and our highest commendation, but, this year, against the backdrop of the many blows with which the Covid-19 pandemic has been hitting the education sector, the respect, gratitude and commendation that we owe to teachers cannot be qualified. Even the most superb superlatives are weak in light of what we owe to teachers. So, I simply say, “Teachers, thank you.”
We have always known that teachers are at the centre of social stability, but the pandemic has made this reality indisputably more striking. Many, who would have previously chastised teachers are extolling their virtues. Those who did not appreciate how much open school doors and teachers in classrooms meant to tranquillity and order in their lives, have come to realise how valuable teachers are. Every sector of our society needs teachers.
We have always known that teachers make enormous personal sacrifices to ensure that the young minds that are entrusted to them are carefully cultivated. Teachers make personal sacrifices that, too often, parents are unwilling to make. The work that teachers do, the many roles they play on a daily basis, cannot be paid for with dollars and cents. Every parent owes a teacher.
We, in the Ministry of Education, Sports and Creative Industries, are acutely cognizant that the many adaptive and creative responses which will be mandatory as our developing nation recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic depend on teachers. Dedicated, hardworking teachers have been pumping their time, resources, and passion into keeping learning alive since Antigua and Barbuda experienced its first lockdown in March 2020. They deserve our commendation. We acknowledge that the most important assets for long-term sustainable development are passionate, dedicated, and innovative teachers. The leadership of the education ministry values the role teachers play, and will continue to play, in the development of this nation.
So, as the world celebrates its 27th Teachers Day under the theme, “Teachers at the heart of education recovery”, we salute all teachers from nursery to university in this fair twin-island state. Happy Teachers’ Day!
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