Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) is pleased to join our teachers in commemorating the World Teacher’s Day which falls on 5th October. This day is intended to celebrate our teachers in community schools, Early Childhood Education centers, primary schools, secondary schools, tertiary institutions and adult literacy instructors among others. The day gives us an opportunity to appreciate teachers for their hard work and successes as well as reflect on the difficulties and challenges they are facing.
The theme for this years’ teachers’ day which is “Teachers at the heart of education recovery” is timely given the impact that the COVID 19 has had on education in the last one and half years. Since we recorded the first case of COVID 19 in March 2020, teachers have shown great commitment, leadership and innovation in ensuring continuity of learning in our schools. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of the important role that teachers play in the education of our children. During the COVID 19 pandemic, teachers have worked individually and collectively to find solutions and create new learning environments for the learners. As schools reopened, teachers were at the center of the recovery process by ensuring that our children are learning in safe and health environments and catch up on the lost time. Research evidence from countries that succeeded in reaching more children through remote learning also shows that teachers were an important factor in guaranteeing education by finding creative ways of engaging with learners with or without technology.
Furthermore, teachers now have a dual role of providing blended learning through face to face classes in times of low COVID 19 cases as well as continuity of learning at home in peak COVID 19 periods. In order for teachers to support blended learning effectively, government needs to give them the relevant tools and support through provision of continuous professional development that include enhancing their skills in the use of ICTs to deliver remote learning. Achieving this requires closing the current digital divide that exists between our urban and rural schools to make our teachers better equipped to provide continuity of learning at home. ZANEC would also like to take this opportunity to appeal to the Ministry of Education to consider recruiting at least 15,000 teachers in 2022 to enable our schools cope with the demand for more teachers resulting from the splitting of classes in order to comply with the physical distancing health requirement.
Finally, ZANEC would like to wish all teachers a safe, happy and successful commemoration of the 2021 World Teacher’s Day.