KEETMANSHOOP - Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Sanet Steenkamp says teachers should stop undervaluing themselves as just teachers and realise they are powerful people that touch many people’s lives.
Speaking at the World Teacher’s Day celebration at Keetmanshoop last Friday, Steenkamp spared a moment to speak to the teachers as she took to the podium before reading the keynote addresses on behalf of education minister, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, and she strongly urged teachers to stop belittling themselves and reminded them to realise how important they are.
She said the teaching profession has lost the respect it had and this is in part due to how teachers view themselves and therefore the restoring of the teaching profession should start with teachers, who should embrace their profession and understand how important their work is.
“It pains my heart when I meet teachers and they say ‘I am just a teacher’, No! You are not just a teacher, you are an influencer, you are the person that ends the poverty cycle through your work, teachers are the backbone and cornerstone of this country, you have the power to mould a good citizen,” she said. She thus called on teachers to realise their importance and do the best they can in educating the Namibian child, saying teachers should not only teach good values but also be at the forefront of living lives that portray good values.
“Let us recognise the important role we play as teachers, and let us not just be teachers that teach values but teachers that live the values that they teach,” she said.
In a key note address read on her behalf, Hanse-Himarwa also stated teachers need to be respected for what they do, and urged learners, parents and communities at large to recognise the work that teachers do and accord them with the utmost respect they deserve.
Hanse-Himarwa further said while the ministry was working towards ensuring that the quality of education is at the highest standard, these efforts will be in vain if those entrusted with teaching the Namibian child are not on par with the best in terms of quality teaching. She emphasised the need for teachers to keep studying and improving.
“Once again, the quality of an education system rests on the quality of teachers, the country can have the best policies, curriculum, the best infrastructure, but without best teachers, all these things will mean nothing,” she stated.
She thus congratulated those teachers who have gone an extra mile and upgraded their studies, with some acquiring masters and doctorate degrees, saying some have done this at their expense and this she said is testimony that teachers understand that quality education can only be achieved if teachers are qualified, and she urged others to follow suit. “Let me also encourage others who are still not studying, to do so. We have a race to run, to achieve and ensure that learners have a right to education through qualified teachers,” she said.
Teacher’s Day celebrations were held at the Westdene stadium in Keetmanshoop under the theme ‘The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher.’