Hon. Myron Walwyn, Minister for Education and Culture
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
World Teachers' Day is being observed across the globe today, October 5 under the theme "Take A Stand For Teachers", and Hon. Myron Walwyn, Minister for Education and Culture said governments and citizens around the world are encouraged to stand up for the rights and the further development of the teaching profession.
Acknowledging the importance of the teachers, the Minister said, "Here in the Virgin Islands, while we still have much work to do to ensure that we attract the best teachers and that those teachers are adequately cared for and encouraged; we have begun to do the work to improve the standard of instruction and administration of our schools."
In a message to observe World Teachers' Day, Minister Walwyn said they have already started and will continue to provide even more opportunities for training and exposure to new teaching concepts for teachers in order for them to be properly equipped to execute their jobs.
He said as Minister with the responsibility for education, he has realized that government´s partnership with teachers must be strengthened to allow educators the opportunity to sit at the table of decision making to improve the education offered to students.
"I offer my commitment to listening to the needs of our educators and from a policy perspective, ensuring that while we strive to improve the standard of education for all Virgin Islanders and citizens, we are at the same time improving the circumstances of the men and women charged with the educating of our people," he stated.
Minister Walwyn said teachers play a vital role in shaping the minds of the nation.
"It is due to your presence in the classroom that our young people develop an appreciation for learning and begin to dare to dream of the possibilities in their lives.
He added, "Out of those dreams, we see the upcoming workers, innovators, public servants, leaders and teachers of the Virgin Islands. As our Territorial Song suggests, educating our people is the golden key to maintain the success of our territory. That success we acknowledge does not come without hard work and your many sacrifices. Our society remains forever indebted to the fine men and women of this very noble profession."
Meanwhile, UNESCO and its partners, the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNDP and UNICEF have also joined the world with a call for persons to take a stand for teachers, including for their continued development and proper remuneration to match the importance of the profession globally.
"Attracting committed and diverse teachers requires environments that value professional autonomy and equality. Teachers need to be supported in fulfilling their responsibilities to students, and their voices must be listened to by school leaders, education systems and public authorities. Teachers´ salaries must be set objectively and fairly, such that remuneration is commensurate with the importance of the profession and qualifications and responsibilities of individual teachers," the UNDP message today stated.
Further, the message acknowledged that teachers in turn must be accountable to their students and communities.
"The teaching profession is encouraged to design and implement teacher codes of conduct, based on the highest ethical and professional standards, and to be oriented around the goal of teaching all students effectively and equally."
Recently, Minister Walwyn, while noting that Government cannot at this time promise a salary increase for educators, noted however that there are several plans to bridge the gap between the Ministry and schools, and also measures to recognize teachers for their hard work.
"I cannot promise you immediate salary increases and the truth is there is no real price that can be placed on your contribution to our society. However, I take comfort in the words of your fellow educator and our reigning Miss British Virgin Islands, Sharie de Castro, when she told us that as an educator, when someone asks her how much she makes, she says she makes a difference. And educators, all of you make a difference and you are the difference that is needed to advance our Territory right now," he said at an event in August.