Every year, October 5th is celebrated as World Teacher’s Day, in recognition of the important role that teachers play in providing quality education that is critical to our national development. This year the United Nation’s theme is “The Transformation Of Education Begins With Teachers”.
On behalf of the United Progressive Party (UPP), I want to recognize the sterling contributions made by our educators in Antigua and Barbuda at every level – early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary.
As a former teacher, I became a young advocate for those in the profession, serving as General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers. I have first hand experience with the struggles that today’s teachers face, particularly young teachers who are just getting started in this profession. Poor classroom facilities, acute shortage of teachers, inadequate resources, and limited incentives or benefits, these are just some of the challenges facing teachers today. Yet teachers remain committed to the profession and continue to make selfless contributions to their students and to the future development of our country.
The UPP is acutely aware that the past two years of the pandemic have been extremely difficult for our teachers and they have faced the same economic hurdles as the society in general. Unfortunately, our teachers have been without a contract since 2017. This is unacceptable and the UPP commits to ensuring that our teachers will be adequately compensated. Further, we will ensure that at no time will teachers be made to work without a functioning contract. The empowerment of teachers, will be a top priority of the UPP administration.
In a world where human capital has never been more valuable, the future of our nation’s children lies in the hands of our teachers. With learning methods being driven more and more by digital solutions, it is critical that we invest in education technology. It is not just about providing eBooks or computers in classrooms, it is about equipping teachers with the technology tools to deliver better learning solutions for every child, through improved communication and data collection capabilities.
Teachers should be celebrated every day and especially so in the past two years, as the pandemic has gripped our nation, forcing teachers to cope with an unprecedented disruption to our education system. Our teachers were given little guidance on how to proceed. Yet many found the motivation and grace to provide remote instruction, turning to each other for support and knowledge exchange. We are grateful for your courage and extraordinary efforts in the most challenging of circumstances.
To all of our teachers, current, retired or deceased, as a nation we will always be thankful for all of your hard work and efforts in helping to mold young minds and strengthen our country. We wish all of you Happy World Teacher’s Day.