Statement
5 October 2015 - 3:15pm

MESSAGE BY MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND CULTURE
HONOURABLE MYRON V. WALWYN
World’s Teacher’s Day – October 5, 2015

“Teaching is not merely a profession; rather it is a service to Country.”

World Teachers' Day, held annually on October 5 since 1994, commemorates teachers’ organisations worldwide. Its aim is to mobilise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers. As the Minister responsible for Education, I offer sincere thanks to all our teachers here in the Virgin Islands and assure you that the Ministry is working steadfastly to ensure you are provided with the resources you need to deliver the quality education standards we have established in the Territory.

Today represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development as they carry out an exceptional role in building the Territory. Teaching is not merely a profession; rather it is a service to Country. Educators throughout the world are to provide quality education and contribute to sustainable development, and if this does not happen then the development of this Territory will be a significant challenge.

Teachers promote a culture of peace and educate the new generations with tolerance and empathy, by making a lesson of our past and being able to help create a positive outlook for the future. Teachers hold the keys to a better future for all. They inspire, challenge and empower innovative and responsible global citizens. They get children into school, keep them there and help them learn. Every day, they help to build the inclusive knowledge societies we need for tomorrow and the century ahead. On this World Teachers’ Day, I join all to thank our teachers and to ask for your continued dedication and commitment.

We all had that favourite teacher growing up; the one who went above and beyond to make your year special. We are fortunate here in the Virgin Islands as sadly, not every child knows that special feeling, because they never got to experience the joy of learning. According to the United Nations, 59 million children are out of school right now. While we use this day to remember those children and those teachers in other parts of the world who face circumstances of extreme hardship, emergencies and even attacks, we give thanks for the blessings we have in our Territory.

Nothing can replace a good teacher. Evidence shows that teachers, their professional knowledge and skills, are the most important factor for quality education. This is not possible without professional, well trained, well supported, accountable and valued teachers and educational leaders are central to the learning situation. This requires better training upfront and continual professional development and support, to enhance performance and learning outcomes.

For this reason, the Ministry of Education and Culture has taken on the task of ensuring that our teachers are prepared through continued professional development, teacher professionalization and certification schemes, and recognition awards.  Similarly, our Principals are trained to be good leaders and managers, and will also be certified. We want to ensure that our children receive the best education possible to make them ready for a fast changing and unknown future, ready as critical thinkers, innovators, bounding with creativity to take this Territory forward on its path of development. All of these practices and more ensure equality and quality and make a real difference to learning outcomes.

We in the Ministry of Education and Culture support the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative to ensure every child goes to school, receives a quality education, and develops a new sense of global citizenship, and teachers stand at the heart of this.

I call on the Community to join us in thanking and supporting the teachers we have in all our schools; to encourage them as they work to shape a more effective education system and prepare our young people for active and responsible participation in society. There is no stronger foundation for patriotism and sustainable development than a quality education provided by well trained, valued, supported and motivated teachers.

I thank every teacher and assure you that you are a valued member of the education system and our Community.

Happy World Teachers’ Day.

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