President of SKTU Ron Dublin Collins used the occasion of his address to launch the month, to demand that the voices of teachers need to be heard and respected, if they are to effectively bring relief to the burdens the teachers carry each day, which he said have undoubtedly worsened in recent years.
Collins said, “As, teachers, we want our collective voice to be heard. We seek the right to influence what happens in our schools, collaborate with others, seek guidance and offer suggestions that will be valued. Individual and collective professional self-worth is important to teachers.”
He added that the Union is committed to continuing its advocacy role for education reform, for quality education at all levels, for education that is child friendly, and relevant for education that satisfies learning needs of our students, and enriches the lives of learners and their overall experience of living.
“There is a need for continuing efforts at education reform to improve student performance and learning; create fair and transparent pathways for the upward mobility of teachers; work positively with the teachers union as true partners; there is need for improve pay and working conditions; and enhance teacher autonomy to ensure that teaching is an attractive profession,” Collins pleaded.
He also suggested that teachers must be involved in decision-making in education policy and formulation of programs; indicating that the demand for a strong, self-confident teaching profession is growing, but it should also include proposals for working conditions that place importance on high levels of teacher empowerment.
Collins added that the restoration of teachers’ professional self-confidence has never been more important. He is of the view that success of the education system relies on it.
Teachers are usually celebrated in the month of October and this year’s theme for the observance is “Take a stand for teachers.”