Take a Stand for Teachers is the 2012 theme for World Teachers’ Day, which is celebrated annually on October 5th. As explained by UNESCO, this theme encourages countries to provide adequate training, ongoing professional development, and protection for teachers’ rights.
As minister I am pleased to note that this is a theme that fits well within the strategic work undertaken by my ministry over the past few years. As an education system we are all in the business of preparing nation builders – global innovators and lifelong learners and achievers, strong individuals and future leaders – who are capable of making the Cayman Islands even better than it is today. Skilled, passionate teachers, who can lead, care and inspire our children to strive for and achieve success, are an important key to achieving this goal.
Therefore, in addition to the areas identified within the UNESCO theme, here in the Cayman Islands we have undertaken many initiatives to honour and thank our educators, to encourage our community at large to place greater value on education and the work of our educators, and to create an education system that provides positive learning environments for teachers and students alike. Some of these initiatives include:
Forming a principals’ consultative council, to give our principals a greater voice in policy development and decision-making within our education system;
Running a Valuing Education Campaign, which encouraged the community to value education and our teachers who help shape and inspire our students every day;
Hosting various teacher appreciation events to honour those outstanding teachers and to thank them for their service;
Introducing the National Professional Standards for Teachers, which gives clear expectations of what is expected of our teachers in our education system;
Hosting professional development workshops every semester, which align with the strategic goals of the Ministry of Education and Department of Education Services and to ensure our teachers never stop learning and can constantly improve their skills;
Hosting the National Education Conference, which provides invaluable professional development for the teachers in our system;
Developing the Early Childhood Care and Education Unit and Curriculum, along with support and training for our early years teachers;
Building new schools and school buildings to provide healthy, positive and technologically advanced learning spaces;
Ensuring our principals and teachers are involved in the development of the National Strategic Plan for Education, giving them a voice and making sure the plan suits the needs of our system.
I recognise that there is still much to be done if we are to achieve an education system in the Cayman Islands that is among the best in the world; however, already we have made significant progress. The standards achieved by our students are improving and we are steadily introducing solutions to address critical needs within our system. Our teachers’ involvement in and implementation of these initiatives are one of the most important factors in their success.
In closing, please join me in honouring and thanking our teachers on World Teachers’ Day and every day of the year. Encourage your children to thank their teachers and to understand how important their teachers’ job is. As Alexander the Great said, “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.”
On behalf of the Ministry of Education and the Department of Education Services, I would like to thank each and every teacher in the Cayman Islands for your hard work and commitment to the children under your care.
Enjoy your special day, remember just how important your role is in our children’s lives and for the future of our country. Strive to be an even better teacher every day, and always remember: “Every child can, should and will learn”.
Minister of Education, Training and Employment