The Malta Union of Teachers is commemorating World Teachers Day 2019, held annually on 5th October. This year’s UNESCO World Teachers’ Day is celebrating teachers with the theme, “Young Teachers: The future of the Profession.” The day provides the occasion to celebrate the teaching profession worldwide, to take stock of achievements, and to address some of the issues central for attracting and keeping the brightest minds and young talents in the profession.
Locally, educators and students are suffering from wrong decisions and mistakes which are being taken by the education authorities. All newly recruited educators in state schools have not been provided with proper resources such as laptops. This has been caused by delays in the issuing of the procurement process leaving educators without the essential tools to provide the best educational experience to students. Apart from this, the MUT has been calling for some time to for example increase the stipends for student teachers to help them during their teaching practice. Measures like this will help future teachers during their training.
According to MUT President Marco Bonnici, “security in schools is also a major issue as educational authorities have not yet for example allocated the required number of educators to carry out supervision before and after school hours. This seemingly cost-cutting exercise is leaving the most vulnerable students unsupervised. Apart from this, our appeal is once again being made for measures to increase proper security in schools before similar accidents to the ones we had in the past years.”
This year’s UNESCO themes reminds us that the early twenty-first century is not an easy time to be a teacher. While teachers were once highly respected professionals, valued, trusted and accepted as inspirational role models for young people, nowadays they too easily serve as scapegoats for the failures of education systems. Indeed, in societies that tend to glorify celebrities, we are more likely to see praise heaped on performing artists, sports personalities and social media influencers than on outstanding teachers.
“As we commemorate World Teachers’ Day 2019, we must take time to look at the future of the profession and the role of young teachers in it – taking onboard the changing climate of education and schooling, the need to draw in and retain a new generation of dedicated educators, and to prepare them for the 21st century challenges of ‘teaching in diversity’ and ‘diversity in teaching.’”
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.