“Valuing teachers, improving their status”.

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Philipsburg, Sint Maarten –– On this  day, I salute teachers everywhere and in a very special way, all teachers on St. Maarten in all levels of education. October 5 is celebrated as World Teachers Day, a day commemorating the signing of the

Recommendations on the status of teachers in 1966 in Paris. Over the past 50 years, several reports have been made, reviewing the execution and implementation of these recommendations. The recommendations address matters affecting our teachers,  such as their further education, careers, rights and responsibilities, salaries and social security, amongst others.

The 2016 World Teachers Day theme “Valuing teachers, improving their status” suggests there is still a long way to go and more to do for improving the status of teachers and empowering them, thereby  “recognizing the essential role of teachers in educational advancement and the importance of their contribution to the development of man and modern society.”

How do St. Maarten teachers fare in these recommendations? Only an analysis of the strides we have made in education would reveal how far we have come as a nation and what action is yet to be undertaken in the benefit of our teachers.

A teacher’s account: Stopped by a police officer for being on her phone while driving and facing a fine, she exclaimed: “Officer, I am an educator by profession and we don’t make much.” The Officer closed his book, admonished the teacher to stay off her phone while driving and let her off the hook.

On a serious note, teaching today is not an easy task and too many of our teachers go burdened under the stress of the classroom environment and the social issues many students come to school with.

We too must therefore as a matter of priority investigate the areas where the status of our teachers can be improved.

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