World Teachers Day and thinking of teaching
I am reading a Bengali book in this weekend entitled Nisphala Mather Krisok (Farmer of Unproductive Field) by Abdullah Abu Sayeed, founder of Bishwo Shahitto Kendro (a non-profit institution in Bangladesh to promote reading habits, enlightenment and progressive ideas among students and common people). In his book, he unmasked his long experience of teaching and hard reality of teaching in Bangladesh. Joining teaching profession, I also feel the same experience of Abdullah Abu Sayeed.
In my life course, by completing master's degree, I got a good number of teachers both academic and non-academic who had contributed immensely to help to be myself and this is same for other students also. I think this list will be longer in coming future. This writing is for showing respect to all of my teachers on the day of 'The World Teachers Day', and for my convenience I divided it into three sections namely short discussion about The World Teachers Day-2018, the importance of teachers in our society and finally the scenario of teaching profession in Bangladesh.
5th October was 'The World Teachers Day' and observed across the world. The day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the '1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation' concerning the status of teachers. The day was co-convened in partnership with UNICEF, UNDP, the International Labour Organization, and Education International. UNESCO takes this occasion to remind the global community that "The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher." This theme was chosen to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), where education is recognized as a key fundamental right. A right that cannot be fulfilled without qualified teachers.
At the same time, teacher or teaching is an integral part of our Sustainable Development Goals (Goals 4 on Education, and the dedicated target SDG 4.c) indicating teachers/educators as the key to the achievement of the Education 2030 agenda. Teachers also teach students on how to solve various problems facing the human kind in the modern world. Educators also serve as a drive for creativeness and innovation. They possess the necessary competence to foster innovative creations, which are the primary elements of future development. Thus, the future of the society rests on the hands of teachers. They act as the bridge through which old tactics and technologies are modelled into modernized and integrated technical skills.
In Bengali there is a proverb 'parents give birth the ghost and teachers transform them as son (Bap Ma Jonmo Dei Vut, Shikkhok Banai Put). So teacher is a person who inspires and encourages us to strive for greatness, live to our fullest potential and see the best in ourselves.
We learn through them, through their commitment to excellence and through their ability to make us realize our own personal growth. Teacher is actually a social engineer who continuously ready to prepare our generation as human resource. Teachers are significant in the society for raising the importance of socialization and humanization among students. They create good relationship with learners and fellow adults, thereby serving as good examples of social beings in the society. So they are called builders of educational systems in every country. UNESCO reported that one of the main challenge to this right worldwide is the continued shortage of teachers. There are an estimated 264 million children and youth still out of school globally, and according to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, the world needs to recruit almost 69 million new teachers to reach the 2030 education goal of universal primary and secondary education.
This 'teacher gap' is more pronounced among vulnerable populations; girls, children with disabilities, refugee and migrant children, and poor children living in rural or remote areas. Trained and qualified teachers are fundamental to the right to education. Joint Message from UNESCO, ILO, UNICEF, UNDP and Education International "On this World Teachers' Day, as we celebrate teachers' important contributions to improving the lives of children and youth around the world, we reaffirm our commitment to increasing the global supply of qualified teachers. We urge all governments and the international community to join us in this endeavour, so that all children and young people, no matter their circumstances, can secure their right to quality education and a better future."
There is a good number of writings on the importance and prestige of teachers in Bengali literature. We have a very soft corner for our teachers and we all say in one sentence that teaching is a noble profession. But the question is that why don't we join in the teaching profession in Bangladesh. To justify this just make an instant survey around you by asking who wishes to be a teacher. Hopefully we will get the same experience as Abdullah Abu Sayeed.
So why students are not much more interested in teaching profession in Bangladesh? Firstly, most of us do not to prefer to engage with reading, as teaching requires the habit of reading regularly. So we always expect the profession which is far from the exercise of reading. Secondly, teaching profession is regarded as powerless and economically lower grade comparing any other profession in Bangladesh. That means if you will be a teacher you will remain poor. So you must have agree with the situation that you with your family have less to eat, less to wear, less demand, no luxuries lifestyle, no modern amenities, your family members have to sacrifice and no demanding asset. We get this picture noticing the lifestyle of a teacher in our society, our literature and media. We also get the news of disrespect towards teachers by politically and economically powerful students. So do we consciously enter into this profession by knowing these issues?
It is also true that there is no factory to produce a good teacher as teacher is not the production of industry rather it grows from inner side. Is our teaching coming from heart or choosing as there is no alternative? Let's give birth the teacher from our mind to form an affluent society.
Once my supervisor and teacher said 'the relationship between student and supervisor is one kind of unconditional marriage until the death; the bond you can't break as your wish'. Now I can realize the deepest meaning of his laughing sentence. At the end I wish to quote two quotations. Firstly by MalalaYousafzai "Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world" and secondly, by Albert Einstein "It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge". Happy World Teachers Day.
Md Helal Uddin is a Lecturer (Sociology), GED Cell, Eastern University, Dhaka.
He can be reached at: [email protected]