|2012 World Teacher’s Day Celebration Opening Remarks by UNESCO Representative in Cambodia|
It is a great pleasure for me to join you in the 2012 World Teachers Day celebration in Cambodia, at NIE, organized by the Khmer Teacher Associations in the presence of His Excellency Minister IM Sethy, who is also representing Samdech Prime Minister.
This is indeed a remarkable event bringing together the teachers, education officials, leaders and friends from the development community, which demonstrates our collective commitments to teachers.
Since 1994, World Teachers’ Day is celebrated in over one hundred countries worldwide annually on 5thOctober. Today we thank the Teachers for their enormous contribution to the learning and social development and express our support to their quest for decent employment conditions and quality of life.
Following on the heels of UN Secretary General’s “Education First” initiative, launched a few weeks ago (on 25th September), this year’s celebrations with the theme “Take a stand for teachers” holds significant importance. In order to realize each of the priorities - first, putting every child in school, second improving the quality of learning and third fostering global citizenship, the teachers have a central role to play.
We, gathered here today, know and recognize that teachers are one of the main pillars of a sound and progressive society.On this allow me to share with you a positive and encouraging piece of information. In a survey carried out by the NGO Education Partnership (NEP) among one thousand one hundred (1100) people from throughout Cambodia, more than 90% of respondents believe that being a teacher is a good job, and two-thirds of them believe that teachers are respected or highly respected in Cambodian society.
This positive news also means the society has huge expectations from teachers. Apart from parents, teachers are the main source of knowledge and values for our children. Teachers bear the responsibility of ensuring learning opportunities for all to meet the development goals as well as human capital needs of a nation. By nurturing the learning abilities in learners to think creatively, critically and to live together, teachers lay the early foundations for sustainable social, economic and environmental development of the country.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
Allow me to return to the theme of this years’ theme “Taking a stand for Teachers” and what it means for us. It means that if we want to improve the quality of education, we need to pay serious attention to investments in teacher development. We can have world class curriculum with state-of-the-art infrastructure, but without a qualified, well trained and motivated teacher, it is unlikely to accomplish much.
The Joint Message by the Heads of UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, ILO and Education International on this occasion, calls for ensuring enabling environments that value professional autonomy and equality for teachers to carry out their duties in accordance with the great expectations placed upon them. The joint message also highlights the need for Teachers to be accountable to their students and communities. It encourages the teacher professionals to design and implement teacher codes of conduct, based on the highest ethical and professional standards, and to be oriented around the goal of teaching all students effectively and equally.
On behalf of the Education Sector Working Group as well the Global Campaign for Education, I am pleased to see the increasing attention given to the teachers by the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The development of the national Teacher Policy is an important initiative and we are committed to continue this support to MoEYS to ensure that the policy is informed by international good practices as well as inputs from the all stakeholders, particularly the teachers. I would like to recall here the words of His Excellency Minister, ““Teachers know what’s working in schools before anyone else.”
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
On this special day, let us express togetherour gratitude to the teachers for their exceptional contribution in building a modern and sustainable society and the enormous impact they have on our society and our future citizens. And we commit to stand by them. As Irina Bokova, the UNESCO Director General, states: “We expect a lot from teachers – they, in turn, are right to expect as much from us”.