Nicosia, October 2, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot education unions KTOEÖS, POED, KTÖS, OLTEK and DAÜSEN issued a joint statement on the World Teachers’ Day celebrated October 5, in which they stress the importance of peace for the welfare of both the communities, their will for the unification of the island and the respect of human rights for all citizens.
“We believe that we have a big task as teachers in providing a sustainable and permanent peace in our country. We are the ones to promote the culture of peace and educate the new generations with tolerance and empathy, by making a lesson from our past and being able to look at our future together”, they note while they also pledge to struggle for the protection and insurance of free, quality, equal, democratic and scientific public education for all.
Education is not a commodity and should not be a service for profit, the unions also point out.
“We strongly believe that the budget share for education should be raised and all austerity measures should be withdrawed, as the only salvation from economic crisis is through educated societies. Teacher status should be improved and quality working conditions should be ensured”. Teachers’ work should be valued, respected and recognized by communities and authorities, is added. “We underline the importance of peace for the welfare of our communities, our will for the unification of our island and the respect of human rights for all citizens. We believe that we have a big task as teachers in providing a sustainable and permanent peace in our country. We are the ones to promote the culture of peace and educate the new generations with tolerance and empathy, by making a lesson from our past and being able to look at our future together”, it is noted in the joint press release.
The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot unions also stress that members of Education internationally will mobilise throughout the world to highlight the importance of teacher empowerment for providing quality education and building sustainable societies for all.
“In September 2015 the UN Member states will adopt a new post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Following EI and member organisations’ advocacy efforts over the last 2 1/2 years, the provision of inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all has been accepted as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which will drive global development for the next 15 years”. Furthermore, the global education community, which met in Incheon, South Korea in May this year agreed that empowered, well-trained, qualified, supported and motivated teachers and education workers play a crucial role in contributing to sustainable development through the provision of high quality education, it is added. This commitment must be reflected in national or local legislation and be translated into action, both locally and globally, they point out.
With this year’s World Teachers’ Day “we want to celebrate teachers worldwide and stress the importance of empowering educators so that they can provide quality education and contribute to sustainable development, the press release added. “Teacher empowerment should entail the provision of decent working conditions, well-resourced, safe and healthy working environments, trust, professional autonomy, academic freedom, high quality initial training and continuous professional development, among others. Where education workers are facing precarious working conditions, are pressured by stringent standardization regimes, have no freedom to exercise their profession and face a low status in society, the provision of high quality education and its contribution to sustainable development remains a major challenge”.
It is time for educators around the world to stand together for the profession and to call on governments to take concrete measures to empower teachers for building sustainable societies, it is finally noted.