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WTD 2015: Empowering Teachers, Building Sustainable Society

It is a well-known fact that a newly planted seedling needs proper cultivation or else it would ultimately wither. Similarly, children of school age who have just started an educational journey deserve proper care, support, and guidance and above all love of a teacher. The envisaged goal of a well-educated society starts at the grassroots level and a teacher is always at the forefront of making this difference.

Although a universal truth, a teacher in the Eritrean context is viewed as someone who preserves and disseminates the values and accumulated knowledge to the society, and as someone who leads people in their journey of widening their scope of view and developing logical thinking.

This year’s World Teacher’s Day was commemorated in Massawa featuring different events. Teachers representing all the regional branches of the Ministry of Educationsent representatives to the port city on 4th October 2015.The celebrations were bright and colorful and included touring of the port city where briefings were given to the participants about the historical background of Al-Sehaba mosque, which was built in 1400 AD, as well as about concerted efforts exerted by the Government of Eritrea to renew and expand the Massawa port in the post-Independence period.

Early in the morning hours of 5th October all participants of the event marched from Sigalet displaying the logo of Eritrea’sTeachers Association and holding a banner that shows this year’s theme “Empowering Teachers, Building Sustainable Society”.

Mr. Petros Hailemariam, Director General of Research and Human Resource Development, Mr. Musa Naib, Director General of General Education at the Ministry of Education, and Mr. Isaac Tesfaghergish, Chairperson of National Teachers’ Association planted seedlings at Kutmia.

The seedling planting is very indicative of the relationship between a sprouting shoot and that of a child. Hence, acomparison could be drawn between a newly planted seedling and a school age child. They both need proper care lest they could not bring a desired outcome.

Irrespective of what academic status one ultimately earns, any academically accomplished person cherishes memories of early childhood schooling times and a teacher secures a place at the top most of such reminisces.

World Teachers’ Day is an event that honors the commitment of teachers as well as a reminder of the huge responsibility teachers’shoulder in shaping the future of their society.

In an opening speech she made in the occasion Ms. Tsegereda Weldeghergish, Governor of Northern Red Sea region, said that this year’s theme “Empowering Teachers, Building Sustainable Society” reflects the decisive role, responsibility and unmatched contribution teachers have been making in the realization of societal development. Unequivocally, Ms. Tsegereda describes a teacher as “corner stone of peace and prosperity”.

Eritrean teachers have been holding the torch of knowledge, have taken it to all remote areas and traveled everywhere in the country to reach nomads through mobile schools. Understanding education is guarantor of present and future generations; teachers continue to show unwavering determination so as to make sure that access to education reaches to all nationals.

Ms. Tsegereda reiterated Government’s commitment to provide all citizens with an easy and tuition free access to education and the role teachers have been playing towards its realization.

The role Eritrean teachers played so far is highly commendable. In the pre independence period where deficit of all kind was prevalent, Eritrean teachers in the battle lines demonstrated commitment and excellence in the transfer of life changing knowledge and skills. This is very true with all teachers who worked within enemy held areas.

Established in 1958, Teachers Association of Eritrea is among the first Associations in the country. According to Mr. Issac Tesfaghergish, Eritrea’s Teachers Association becomes a member of World Teachers’ Association in 1996.  Mr. Issac is very optimistic that the newly introduced seniority based refinement of salary scale is expected to push teachers’ commitment and contribution forward and would also rekindle reputation of the profession.

A message of solidarity and cooperation was also presented by Mr. Haile Teklebrhan. He highlighted that teachers shoulder double responsibility in tacklingany sort of personal challenge and also in addressing the challenges of their students.

Teacher’s commitment to students, good communication skills with colleagues and community and largely care and sensitiveness to students’ needs are among points commonly shared by parents, students, policy drafters, and head teachers, according to a draft paper on “Professional Code of Ethics  for School Teacher” presented by Mr. Mussa Nayib.

Mr. Mussa also expressed the role of a teacher as a father and a guardian who worked for the well-being of children and as a person committed to meet demands of health, nutrition, loggings and in the development of social interaction during the struggle for independence.
In the occasion, poems that honor teachers’ noble contribution were recited and songs were staged. A Poem by Mr. Eyob Russom tries to show how vast and priceless knowledge a teacher transfers to his students and how hard worker and bearer of all wisdom a teacher is. He compares a teacher with a sea and all the resources it harbors.

Mr. Petros Hailemariam, Head of Research and Human Resource Development at the Ministry of Education made a closing remark highlighting efforts that have been exerted to upgrade professional skill of teachers. According to Mr. Pertros, the Ministry has already begun to train candidate teachers who love the profession and who personally expressed readiness to be teachers.

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