By Ebrima Bah
|Matarr Baldeh, EFA Campaign Network Coordinator|
The MDG report presented during the 2010 United Nation Submit held in New York in September shows that to achieve Universal Primary Education by 2015 in Africa the number of teachers required equals the current number.
Given the prevailing statistics, the National Coordinator, EFANet, Matarr Baldeh disclosed at the 2010 Gambia Teachers’ Union (GTU) organised World Teachers’ Day Celebration that the society itself has a problem. “It is obvious that there is a problem with the society, education and most importantly the economy”.
Because the economy is in crisis, he said the roles of teachers in the economic recovery process are critical and urgent but the recovery of all these global disasters must “begins with teacher”.
UNESCO has observed that “Despite these challenges, teachers input to continue giving to society by teaching and improving the life chances of millions of learners. Without teachers input to shape education reforms, recovery processes are not likely to achieve all their goals”.
It is against this background that Mr. Baldeh believe that “African governments need to invest more in education and support teachers as a way of not only addressing the negative impact of the aftermath of the economic crisis on educators, but also as a way of addressing the shortfall in teacher supply in our schools”.
In a joint statement for World Teachers’ Day by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and the chief executives of the United Nation Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Education International (EI) stated “Teachers provide continuity and reassurance… by giving hope for the future and proving structure and a sense of normalcy, they help to mitigate the effects of conflicts, disaster and displacement in peace and development”.
“Teachers are peace builders. They pave the way to living together, by promoting values of respect, tolerance, mutual understanding and solidarity. This mission is more vital than ever in our increasingly connected and multicultural societies”.
According to the educationist, EFA recognises that teachers are very critical to the provision of quality education and the achievement of both the Education For All (EFA) goals and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 in Africa.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that global GDP should expand by 4.8% this year slower than in the boom before the financial crisis, but above the world’s underlying speed limit around 4%.
The EFA Net expert however, does not count on much hope with this statistical review because “there is a crucial missing ingredient just about everywhere: “Micro” structural reform, without which current growth rate is unlikely to last”.
Mr. Baldeh said this is because we are not investing in teachers who would otherwise ensure that the recovery is participatory and sustained by laying a solid foundation for development.
Going by the view of the National EFA Campaign Network Coordinator, society need to restore respect it had for teachers in yester-years and join the support and advocacy challenge for governments to give teachers decent working conditions to fulfil their mission of preparing the younger generation to become responsible citizens.