Let us celebrate teachers

Let us celebrate teachers

Knut officials hold hands in solidarity at Knut House in Nairobi on October 5, 2020 to commemorate the World Teachers Day.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Teaching is the profession upon which all other professions depend, so said an anonymous author. World Bank data shows there are close to 85 million teachers and projects that by 2030 an additional 68. 8 million will need to be recruited just for primary and secondary education.

Tomorrow is the annual World Teachers’ Day, when we pay profound respect to our teachers, who deserve full support. For many, a teacher is not simply a professional who is solely confined to the four walls of a classroom but the sum total of wisdom, experience, kindness, discipline and compassion.

Teachers have been like my deputy parents and I spent most of the time with them. I can testify that the special bond between a teacher and a pupil has no specific definition; it’s a precious gem that must be treasured forever. Teachers prepare us to the real world. They teach us not just maths and science but how to hold our heads high and never back down.

Teachers are the single-most important factor in learning. They are crucial conduits of information. Besides, they equip pupils with the tools to analyse, problem-solve and effectively use information.

Good remuneration package

A handful of countries, such as Finland, Japan and Singapore, boast a cadre of successful teachers. But most developing economies like Kenya pay lip service to the well-being and support to this most crucial profession. Moreover, most teacher policies are either ineffective or lack internal consistency.

There is an urgent need to enhance the profile of teaching to make it attractive. Government scholarships and stipends for high-achieving students to pursue the profession, in addition to a good remuneration package, can attract greater talent in it.

Address teachers’ stress, burnout and demoralisation. Facilitate technology to enhance their ability to reach every student. TSC and Ministry of Education must hire inclusive teachers who respect learner diversity, like children with disabilities. Debunk the perception that teachers’ unions are obstacles to reform. They should freely defend the legitimately earned rights and oppose oppressive policies.

Mr Ombane is an economist.