Dr Nasir Idris, President, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has commended the doggedness of Nigerian teachers in excelling through ‘thick and thin’ in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He gave the commendation as they commemorated the 2021 World Teachers’ Day celebration in Abuja, on Tuesday.
Idris, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for coming up with policy and programmes to change the fortune of teachers, including sustaining the President’s Teachers and School Excellence Awards and the continued hosting of the annual World Teachers’ Day Celebration at the national level.
The NUT president also commended other stakeholders for their support and contributions to the smooth observance of the day, which is globally recognised and marked annually on Oct. 5. On the 2021 World Teachers’ Day theme, “Teachers at the Heart of Education Recovery”, Idris described it as apt considering the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the education sector.
“The COVID-19 crisis has expanded the role of teachers and placed a greater burden on them as they were challenged to appreciate the “new normal” and embrace the use of technology in education and build their capacities.
“Teachers are also challenged to be resilient, creative and innovative to be able to meet the new trends and challenges of the rapidly changing world.
“To keep teaching and learning ongoing, teachers had to adopt remote or distance learning methods and to ensure that no learner is left behind.
“They also took up the duty to assess and identify learning losses and applied recovery measures, such as accelerated learning programmes to reduce learning gaps,” he said.
He further said that adopting the new normal meant that teachers needed to be adequately equipped, empowered and supported to be effective in carrying out the task of education recovery, among others.
On some issues of concern to teachers and the educational system, Nasir called for the establishment of a National Senior Secondary Education Commission (NSSEC), as well as address the heightened insecurity in schools, across the country. He called on the Federal and State governments, and individuals, to work together to restore order and peaceful coexistence for the safety of schools and host communities while praying for teachers and students who had lost their lives to insecurity across the country.
Idris also urged the Federal Ministry of Education to ensure that teachers in Federal Government-owned Unity Schools were allowed to organise themselves and participate in NUT activities.
Meanwhile, Nigerian teachers have been commended in a joint message by Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization (ILO), Ms Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, and Mr David Edwards, General Secretary, Education International.
They commended the exceptional dedication and courage of all teachers, as well as their capacity to adapt and innovate under very challenging and uncertain conditions.
They noted that teachers were at the heart of global education recovery efforts and were critical in accelerating progress towards inclusive, equitable and quality education for every learner, in every circumstance.
Sub-Saharan Africa alone required 15 million more teachers, to reach the education goals by 2030, they said, adding that surmounting the challenges required commitment, investment and innovation for a successful education recovery, they emphasised the need to address teachers’ well-being, adequate remuneration and safety, including their prioritisation for vaccination, together with other critical workers. recovery.
They lamented that nearly two years after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many education systems were still facing significant disruptions, with teachers and students in close to 60 countries affected by full or partial school closures.
“The pandemic has shone a light on the irreplaceable value of the teaching profession in society, but also on the difficult working conditions facing many teachers.
“Teachers have been on the frontlines to ensure learning continuity when schools were closed and to provide socio-emotional support to their students, especially the most vulnerable ones”, they noted.
Newsmen report that the highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards, ranging from cars, buses, refrigerators, and other prizes to outstanding teachers, administrators and schools, across the 36 states of the federation.
There were also march past by the various states, with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) coming first, as part of the activities of the day, graced by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and other dignitaries. World Teachers’ Day is marked annually on Oct. 5.