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Teachers’ Day: Celebrating the fathers of all professions

The UNESCO in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Education International set aside October 5 of every year to commemorate the World Teachers’…

The UNESCO in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Education International set aside October 5 of every year to commemorate the World Teachers’ Day in recognition of the significant roles played by teachers in the society.

Held annually on 5 October since 1994, World Teachers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the  1999 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation  concerning the status of teachers.

This Recommendation sets benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions.

With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, and the dedicated target (SDG 4.c) recognizing teachers as key to the achievement of the Education 2030 agenda, WTD has become the occasion to mark progress and reflect on ways to counter the remaining challenges for the promotion of the teaching profession.

In 2020, World Teachers’ Day will celebrate teachers with the theme: “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future”.

The day provides the occasion to celebrate the teaching profession worldwide; take stock of achievements, and draw attention to the voices of teachers, who are at the heart of efforts to attain the global education target of leaving no one behind.

Unarguably, teachers are the father of all professions! For anyone to be able to read and write, he or she must have been taught by a teacher or many teachers.

The teaching profession is what gives birth to other professions and professionals.

No one becomes a lawyer, doctor, engineer, nurse, pilot, architect, builder, journalist, pharmacist etc without a teacher.

It therefore means that teachers occupy prominent position in the society and must therefore be given the needed attention by governments at all levels.

But the conditions of most of the teachers in the country is quite pathetic and pitiful.

The worst hit are those working in the primary and secondary schools across the country.

Teachers at this level are poorly paid as their take homes can hardly take them home to cater for their needs.

Even at that, the peanuts which they collect as salaries at the end of every month are not regular.

Some of the teachers could be owed as much as one year unpaid salaries while such teachers still go to class to teach pupil. Quite sad you would say.

It is often said that the rewards of teachers are in heaven.

Nay, their rewards should be on earth!

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly added to the challenges faced by many teachers in the country.

The worst hit were teachers in private schools whose employers could not pay them due to the COVID-19 pandemic which led to closure of all schools in the country.

It is no exaggeration to say that the world is at a crossroads and, now more than ever, we must work with teachers to protect the right to education and guide it into the unfolding landscape brought about by the pandemic.

Apart from being poorly paid, most of these teachers, especially those in public schools across the country, work under non conducive environment.

Most of the public schools lack conducive classrooms and requisite instructional materials needed for teaching.

As we mark this year’s World Teachers’ Day, I would like to join my voice in calling on the governments at all levels to give priority to the issues that concern the well-being of teachers.

From me, I say congratulations and a big thank you to all my teachers and all Nigerian teachers. You are the best! Happy World Teachers’ Day!


Reuben Onogwu writes from Minna, Niger State

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