The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports Hon. Patricia Lourens-Philip on Thursday released the following World Teacher’s Day Message as schools close on Friday afternoon for the mid-term break.

On the occasion of the upcoming World Teachers’ Day, on October 5th, 2014 I take this opportunity to encourage the whole community to take a stand for teachers and the teaching profession.

In this era when it appears that the value of a teacher has lost its sheen and students don’t want to be teachers when they grow up, we need to shift gear and ponder on the fact that.” Teachers are the foundation of good schools, and good schools are the pillars of healthy and democratic communities.”

The theme for this year “Invest in the future: Invest in teachers” aptly describes the type of relationships that need to be the focus of our national development and future developments in education.

Our investment in the future and in teachers must focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning. Governments and school boards and the USM must provide teachers with access to quality training opportunities and relevant continued professional development for this 21st century. This type of investment requires an environment in which professional autonomy is valued and teachers need to be supported in fulfilling their responsibilities to students, education systems and public authorities.

Teachers, also need to invest in themselves. They have a responsibility to stay on the cutting edge of educational innovations by reading and researching and applying new strategies and modalities in classroom that are changing. Teachers must be accountable to their students and communities. The design and implementation of a teacher’s codes of conduct, based on high ethical and professional standards, would be one of the greatest investments that teachers can make for their own benefit.

The commemoration and celebration of this World Teachers’ Day is an opportunity to honour the women and men who inspire, challenge and nurture our youth on a daily basis. The country expects a lot from teachers – they, in turn, also expect a lot from government, civil society, parents and students. This World Teachers’ Day let us remember that, ‘being a teacher is the highest privilege and having one is the best blessing.’

Invest in the future, Invest in teachers.

Congratulations on World Teacher’s Day to all teachers in St. Maarten!