The Ministry of Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training and National Excellence has collaborated with the Dominica Association of Teachers to focus on the professional development of teachers.

This as World Teachers’ Day 2022 is being celebrated under the theme “the transformation of education begins with teachers.”

In his World Teacher’s Day address, President of Dominica, His Excellency Charles A. Savarin says World Teachers’ Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the contribution of teachers at all levels.

“Teachers’ Day is celebrated against a set of benchmarks regarding rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions. The aim of celebrating World Teachers’ Day is to focus on assessing, appreciating, and improving educators around the world. It also provides an opportunity to shed light on the issues related to teachers and teaching. Every year, World Teachers’ Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate our teachers, recognizing their contribution to the development of our nation and putting a spotlight on the incredible responsibility that they bear in ensuring that all children and youth in every country can enjoy the right to education,” President Savarin stated.

President Savarin described the theme as fitting as Government focuses on the steps required for teachers to play their part in building a climate resilient nation.

“This year the theme of World Teachers Day 2022 is “The Transformation of Education Begins with Teachers.” This theme is fitting for us here in Dominica as it helps us to focus on the impacts that natural disasters have had on teachers; and possible steps that need to be taken to ensure that teaching personnel can play the role expected of them as we transition to the World’s First Climate Resilient Country. The theme also urges a renewed appreciation of the profession and the call to have teachers more fully involved in all aspects of education planning,” he stated.

He noted that the impacts of Tropical Storm Erika, Hurricane Maria and the covid-19 pandemic has once again highlighted the importance of teachers and their role in the maintaining a stable society.

“Never have teachers been more wanted and needed than today. The educational disruptions caused by the recent natural disasters, Tropical Storm Erika in 2015, Hurricane Maria in 2017, and the covid-19 pandemic have confirmed the crucial role of teachers in maintaining learning continuity, and in sustaining the very dynamics of households, families and communities. We witnessed how teachers were at the heart of educational response, not only in ensuring that learning can continue in spite of school closures but also supporting their socio emotional well-being and doing so even at their own expense,” the President noted.

His Excellency Savarin says there is much more to be done to ensure that teachers have safe working conditions while also being properly compensated for their work.

“While significant resources have been committed to the reconstruction of schools destroyed or otherwise impacted by Tropical Storm Erika and Hurricane Maria and new career opportunities have been and are being created for teachers, there is still more to be done. Teachers need healthy, safe and enabling working conditions that are free from prejudice and discrimination and they must be provided with safety measures, decent working hours, fair remuneration, and career development opportunities. This will both promote the status of the profession and improve recruitment, retention, motivation and ultimately, student learning and well-being. There is a need for teachers and their representatives to be adequately consulted in decision making. There must be a concerted effort to engage and support teachers if a successful transformation is to take place in education,” President Savarin went on to state.

He noted that there is a need for teachers and their representatives to be adequately consulted in decision making, as well as a concerted effort to engage and support teachers if a successful transformation is to take place in education.

“In recent times, the Dominica Association of Teachers in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, have teamed up to focus on professional development. This area of concentration meant support for teachers in improving their practice, trusting the pedagogical judgement of trained and experiences teachers and equipping them with the skills to use educational technologies to support learning and to adapt content and teaching practices for a diversity of learners. This requires specific pedagogical knowledge to assess learning at classroom level and adjust the curriculum to tailor teaching to different needs. There are element that must be embedded in teacher education and training, so that new practitioners are better prepared for future crises,” the President stated.

President Savarin went on to state that Government policies must support all teachers with a lifelong outlook.

“When it comes to Governance and participation, channels must be created for the participation of teachers and their representative organizations in decision-making. There must also be avenues enabling them to share the knowledge they circularize in the classroom a different levels, including through social dialogue, participation in governing bodies of education institutions and in networks and communities of practice. Finally these policy area need to support all teachers in a lifelong perspective, from novice to experienced teachers and from early childhood educators to higher education teachers, technical and vocational education and training (TVET), adult education and literacy practitioners,” he noted.

He added that this is necessary if Dominica is to achieve goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals as outlined by the United Nations.

“This approach can ensure that the SDG 4 target regarding increasing the supply of qualified teachers remains a compass for policy action and international cooperation, and that teachers remain at the heart of education transformation. It is hoped that as a result of this, parents, communities and education systems would now have a renewed appreciation of teachers and their vital role in educational transformation and in supporting the social, economic and cultural life of societies. I wish to encourage the DAT in its efforts to ensure that teachers are fully represented, and encourage the organization of events and participation in these events in order to make the day a truly international celebration,” President Savarin added.

World Teachers’ Day or International Teachers’ Day is celebrated every year on October 5th as a way to celebrate and honor teachers for their continuous contributions to the development of students and the society.