WORLD TEACHER'S DAY
BY PROF WAQAR HUSSAIN
World Teacher’s Day is celebrated every year on 5th October to honor teachers and pay tribute to their contribution in the development of education. It was first held in 1994 at the initiative of UNESCO. More than 100 countries celebrate the day. Appreciating, assessing and improving the educator and to consider issues related to teachers and teaching. But USA says; No Teacher’s Day!
The theme of 2018 is “The right to education means the right to qualified teacher”. This right cannot be achieved without the right to trained and qualified teachers. The teacher’s personal domain as well as professional domain must be enriched to acquire good results as there are 264 million children out of school globally including 20 million in Pakistan. The teacher’s scarcity and teacher’s inaccessibility is quite vivid among vulnerable population; female students, disable children, refugees, poor children, children living in remote areas, mountainous region and desert areas. It can only be attained if teacher’s quality and quantity and quotient per student must be uplifted to quench the thirst of education. Apart from giving the dose of acknowledgment and adequate appreciation is essential to boost the morale of educator to extract best of his abilities and potentials. Appreciation is the medicine that can heal the wound of this ailing community especially in third world countries. Aristotle has rightly said: “Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those, the art of living well”. In similar tone, Aristotle’s student Alexander the Great spoke “I am indebted to my father for living but to my teacher for living well”.
Teaching is a very noble profession that moulds the character, educate the mind, inject the moral values, unravel the hidden potential; sow the seed of motivation; develop creativity, accelerate the progress, cultivate the power of self-control and pave the way for progress of student, then society and ultimately state. This enables a nation to stand on its feet, make progress and give pride in the comity of nations. Does not he deserve to be praised, appreciated and honored? But USA says; No Teacher’s Day!
In USA, no teacher day is celebrated rather Teacher’s appreciation Week is celebrated. It all begin in 1944 when Mattye Whyte Woodridge, a teacher from Arkansas, floated an idea of celebrating teacher’s day and put his views before educationist and political leaders. Woodridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt and explained his idea and advocated to celebrate Teacher’s Day to honor teacher and to appreciate them. Roosevelt in 1955 persuaded congress to proclaim the day to appreciate teachers. There was still a long way ahead and Woodridge’s idea was finally materialized when congress declared March 7, 1980 to be National Teacher’s Day for that year only. Later the date of event moved to first full week of May as “Teacher’s Appreciation Week”. For the whole week, activities are carried out to pay homage to pedagogue. That is why, But USA says; No Teacher’s Day! Instead, it goes for gala of the entire week.
USA is yet to take another bold step towards education sector by launching the Open World University, offering education to over 100 Million students all around the world. Provided the free education at home, and handing over an International American graduation degree by the end of course. So far, 7,000 teachers from all around the universities in USA, including the Harvard University have offered to volunteer in this university, and more are expected to lay down their service in future. It seems that USA is now saying NO to Teacher’s Week and heading towards; Teacher’s Appreciation Year.
It is also part of Teacher’s Day to assess oneself. Where are we standing in education? With literacy rate declining from 60 to 58%; 20 million out of school children; 2.5% GDP spending on education; teacher focusing more on salary instead of studies; cumbersome curriculum and so on. Can we struggle to build a stereotype system like USA to launch an Open University with volunteer to run it and move to remote areas to impart education once a weak and in summer and winter vacation; to prove old idiom; schoolmaster is abroad? As far as quality of teaching is concerned, William Arthur Ward has classified teachers into four categories: “The mediocre teacher tells; the good teacher explains; the superior teacher demonstrates; the great teacher inspires “Now it is up to teachers to find in which category, they fall. Follow Brad Henry’s formula; a good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.