2023-10-05 CAMEROON

2023 World Teachers’ Day Celebration

This year’s Teachers’ Day (5 October) is celebrated under the theme “The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage”. It highlights the impact of teacher shortage on education worldwide. The decline in the number of people pursuing teaching as a career and the large number of those reaching retirement age is evident. Also, working conditions including high workloads, low salaries, lack of resources, and challenging classroom environments discourage teaching profession aspirants. Similarly, insufficient professional development opportunities and limited avenues for career advancement deter potential teachers. Furthermore, as education becomes a prerequisite for economic growth, the demand for qualified teachers increases globally leading to increased competition for educators. With this situation, some countries recruit teachers from other nations, thus aggravating the shortage in certain areas.

Developing countries continue to lag the rapid pace of technological advancement, increasing globalization, and the skills and knowledge that students need to succeed in the 21st century. With shortage of teachers many students are forced to attend overcrowded classrooms with obvious consequences of low achievement levels, increased dropout rates, and a perpetuation of socio-economic inequality because their countries do not have the luxury of teachers who are well-equipped to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills are a challenge as their countries struggle to provide basic resources and infrastructure.

This year’s World Teachers’ Day theme invites policymakers to develop education systems that prepare people to navigate an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Hence, holistic and well-rounded education, digital literacy, global citizenship and cultural competence, sustainability and environmental consciousness, entrepreneurship and practical skills must be prioritized. This effort should go beyond academic knowledge and include social-emotional learning, critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and communication skills to ensure that children grow up equipped to handle real-world challenges.

Moreover, the theme also invites education authorities and stakeholders to increase investments in the education sector and provide incentives to attract and retain teachers to ensure that all students have access to high-quality education, regardless of their geographical location or socio-economic background. Similarly, it urges teachers to embrace innovation, creativity, and technology in their teaching practices to meet the changing needs and challenges of the 21st-century classrooms.  

Shortage of teachers is also the preoccupation of the Catholic Church. In the document “The Catholic School” (1988), the Church emphasizes the importance of hiring teachers who are not only knowledgeable and skilled in their subject area, but who also embody important values such as compassion, empathy, and respect. Such teachers should be individuals who are committed to the mission of the school and who can foster a sense of faith, hope, and love in their students. Hence, the Church places a high value on teacher training and professional development, recognizing the importance of ongoing learning and growth in the field of education.

Similarly, Marcellin Champagnat envisioned teachers that possess three key qualities including a deep love for God, a zeal for the salvation of souls, and a genuine love for children. He believed that these qualities would enable teachers to not only impart knowledge and skills to their students, but also to form them into virtuous, Christ-centred individuals who would make a positive impact on the world. He emphasized the importance of teachers being a witness to their students through their words and actions, guiding them towards a life of faith and service. He believed that good education could only be achieved if teachers were fully committed to living out the Gospel, and that they must possess a deep sense of vocation and mission.

Brother Francis Lukong
October 05, 2023
Cameroun, Marist Province of West Africa


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