The Malta Union of Teachers is commemorating World Teachers Day 2021, which is held annually on 5th October. This year’s UNESCO World Teachers’ Day has the theme “Teachers at the heart of education recovery”. One and a half years into the COVID-19 crisis, World Teachers’ Day focuses on the support teachers need across the world to fully contribute to the recovery process and on the effect that the pandemic has had on education and on educators.
UNESCO: “Never have teachers been more wanted and needed than today. The educational disruptions and school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have confirmed the crucial role of teachers in maintaining learning continuity, but also in sustaining the very dynamics of households, families and communities. Yet, there are many challenges and the situation is all the more worrying since a shortage of teachers has been affecting the world for more than a decade. According to projections from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), in order to ensure universal primary and secondary education by 2030 (SDG target 4.1), 69 million more teachers are needed worldwide: 24 million for primary and 44 million for secondary education.”
According to MUT President Marco Bonnici “as we commemorate World Teachers’ Day, we appeal to authorities to respect those who are at the heart of education recovery – educators. The attitude in the last weeks and months locally led to, for example, last minute deployments and lack of provision of updated technology for educators. It also projected a message that specialised teachers are dispensable and reports commissioned to analyse challenging situations faced by educators can be shelved with previous, similar, documents. This when for weeks we heard about how everything was ready for the new scholastic year. The general lack of motivation to look into the heart of the issues, prefering instead to conduct crisis management when it is too late, expose a level of disrespect towards the essential work of educators across the country. This needs to change.”
Honouring educators lost
Education International also honoured and remembered colleagues lost during the pandemic through the launch of a memorial website www.teachercovidmemorial.org.
Education International: “The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an enormous toll on education. Beyond school closures and lost learning, countless educators, union members, and leaders of our profession have died. The losses are staggering. Every day we receive notices from around the globe of colleagues who are no longer with us. The death of one educator is a tragedy for their family, students, and community. The death of so many educators around the world has an absolutely devastating impact on the profession and education as a whole.”
Held annually on 5 October since 1994, World Teachers’ Day (WTD) commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/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. To complement the 1966 Recommendation, the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel was adopted in 1997 to cover teaching and research personnel in higher education.