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Heroic Work of Teachers Honoured - Zimbabwe Today
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Heroic Work of Teachers Honoured

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Yesterday, Zimbabweans joined the rest of the world in celebrating and honouring the heroic work done by our beloved teachers. It is a day that has come to be known as the World Teachers Day.

A day to take stock of a teacher.

To put it into perspective, the World teachers Day is celebrated every year on 5 October as a recognition of the workers of educators (teachers, researchers and professors) worldwide.

Although the idea of the World Teachers’ Day dates back to 1966, it was first celebrated on 5 October 1994 by UNESCO in commemoration of the signing of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO recommendations concerning the status of teachers with reference to the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment and working conditions.

From 1994 to date, the World Teachers’ Day is celebrated every year and seeks to provide an annual occasion to take stock of achievements and raise awareness around challenges facing teachers and the role of teachers in the achievement of the global education targets.

Zimbabwe is therefore one of the countries that has been celebrating the day, with the Government providing the necessary support to the teachers. This year’ commemorations which will be conducted virtually, starting yesterday to 12 October 2020 provide an ample opportunity to reflect of the teacher.

However, this year’s commemorations come at a time when the education sector, like any other sector in the world in general, and in the country in particular, is reeling under corona pandemic, giving birth to a new normal. In fact, humanity seems to be living in uncertain times.

Times that are dictated by natural phenomena.

No soon have the education sector survived the horror of the Cyclone Idai than the other invisible enemy pounced on it. May the souls of our teachers and learners who perished in the Cyclone Idai rest in eternal peace!

These extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary action on the part of a teacher as we celebrate the 2020 World Teachers’ Day.

This year’s World Teachers’ Day commemoration theme, “Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Re-imagining the Future,” as UNESCO 2020 statement puts it is not just timely, but critical in terms of the contributions teachers have made to provide remote learning, support vulnerable populations, re-open schools, and ensure that learning gaps have been mitigated.

The discussion surrounding the World Teachers’ Day) will also address the role of teachers in building resilience and shaping the future of education and the teaching profession.”

In in the midst of the pandemic, teachers like all other front liners have continued to offer their services, demystifying the limitations imposed by natural disasters, with teachers in the Zimbabwean context offering their services through radio lessons.

We really applaud our Zimbabwean teachers and Government for even responding beyond the call of duty to ensure that learning takes place even during this Covid-19 induced lockdown.

If we go by the joint UNESCO and UNICEF statement on the 2020 World Teachers Day, more than 1,6 billion learners, that is, 90 percent of the student population and 63 million teachers were affected by school closures due to Covid-19 pandemic, thereby exacerbating inequalities in the education systems.

The success of the Zimbabwean competence-based curriculum depends to a greater extent on the part of the teacher.

Indeed, teachers remain a vital cog in the education sector. I believe teachers will remain at the centre of the socio-economic development of Zimbabwe.

Education, through the 5,0 framework or the Curriculum Framework for Primary and Secondary Education 2015-2022 will indeed contribute towards the 2030 upper middle income status, with the teachers actively playing their roles.

Through alternative learning platforms such as online sites, the world has now embraced the new normal in the education. Kudos to our teachers! There is therefore need for a paradigm shift in the world education politic and a re-look in the traditional approaches to education.

The lofty height of the Zimbabwean literacy rate of more than 94 percent speaks to the major contribution of our teachers and the deliberate investment the Government has made over the years.

Teachers are supposed to take a leading role in finding solutions to the challenges being faced.

As one of our education puts it: teachers are the ones at the coal face of the teaching/learning theatre and closest to the learners. As such, they know better on how to navigate the educational challenges that could be encountered in the sector.

We owe it to the teachers. Indeed, we owe it to the Zimbabwean teachers.

Patrick Zumbo is an educationist and media specialist. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted on [email protected]

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