World Teachers’ Day celebration in Zambia whose theme is “the teacher we need for education we want: the global imperative to reverse teacher shortage” was graced by the Minister of Education Hon. Douglas Munsaka Syakalima, MP.

On the 5th of October 2023, the Teaching Council of Zambia joined the Country and the rest of the World in commemorating the World Teachers Day whose theme was “the teacher we need for education we want: the global imperative to reverse teacher shortage.” In Zambia, this day was celebrated at different levels with stakeholders starting from various schools, districts, provinces and at national level. Institutions come together to raise a voice on the importance of proficient and professional number of teachers in the country. The National celebration was held in Lusaka at the Zambia Agriculture and Commercial Show (ZACS) main arena.

At this years’ World Teachers Day celebration, the Teaching Council of Zambia worked in collaboration with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (UNESCO) and awarded a total of 18 teachers in the category of “outstanding innovative pedagogical practices” from 10 provinces and from Private Schools Associations. The awardee teachers were identified, shortlisted and profiled so as to inform TCZ why they selected.

 The purpose of awarding the deserving teachers on this day was to motivate the awardees and other teachers to indulge in such best practices and also assure them through their supervisors that the Council and its cooperating partners such as UNESCO continues to advocate for quality education. In a long run, this practice would help contribute to teacher professionalism and delivery of quality education at all levels. 

During the official commemoration of this significant event, The Minister of Education, Honorable Douglas Munsaka Syakalima MP, graced the occasion accompanied by the Chairperson of the Teaching Service Mrs. Daphine Chimuka, Permanent Secretary  for Education services in the  Ministry of Education, Mr. Joel Kamoko; The Registrar  for the Teaching Council of Zambia, Dr. Ebby Mubanga; UNESCO Acting Team Leader in Zambia, Dr. Lemmy Mukonkaand the Teacher Unions were represented by Mr. Binston Tembo. 

In delivering his official speech during the commemoration, the Minister indicated that the World Teachers Day was celebrated worldwide to show respect and appreciation to educators. It was a moment to reflect on the selflessness displayed by those life coaches to whom we are indebted. 

The Minister said that as the Country was celebrating the teachers and their contributions to educating our children, the new dawn government wished to assure the people of Zambia that it was committed to uplifting the wellbeing of all Zambians. This would be done by ensuring that there was increased number of qualified teachers. He further urged all the cooperating partners, non-governmental organizations, faith-based organizations, civil society and the private sector to join hands in this undertaking, to ensure that every child regardless of their status in society had the right to quality education and a better future.

In addition, Mr. Syakalima said the Ministry of Education had embarked on programmes that were aimed at ensuring that the practices of teachers were up lifted. His ministry was promoting continuous professional development for teachers in order to maintain high standards of teaching and learning.  Further, the government had also reinforced the standards, assessment and evaluation directorate to reach out to teachers in both urban and remote areas through its standards officers. He emphasized the need for qualified and qualitative teachers in the provision of relevant and accessible education as a fundamental human right. 

And Registrar, Teaching Council of Zambia, Dr. Ebby Mubanga said teachers are at the center of desired education system for many reasons one of which is that teachers are the change agents within the education system itself and in the wider society. He said teachers needed to be sufficiently qualified, skilled and professional if they were to render a significant impact on the lives of the children and consequently the societies they lived-in which they later came to lead. 

He further said that professional teachers not only facilitated learning, but they also inspired learners to reach even greater heights in their careers. Therefore, the role of the TCZ was to provide checks and balances in an objective manner taking national interest first. 

And the UNESCO presentative, Dr. Lemmy Mukonka pointed out that if the Country was to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030, in particular the goal of achieving equitable and quality education, there was need for relevant and innovative pedagogies that prepared the learners of today for the transformation needed by society    in arapidly changing world. “Teachers are one of the pillars on which this transformation                depended on” he said.

In addition, Mr Mkonka said research had repeatedly found out that teachers were the single most important school-level     variable that improved student outcomes. The centrality of teachers to the future of education was reaffirmed at the United Nations transforming education summit last year in New York, culminating in the establishment of thehigh-level panel on the teaching profession. This renewed focus on teachers was timely, as the world was facing asevere global teacher shortage.

The Union spoke through Mr. Tembo Binston who underscored the need for a well-motivated and informed teacher in order to achieve the much-needed quality education. He further said that the education that was wanted was that which spoke to the needs and expectations of society, hence the need for government to accelerate the education reforms to align it with the pillars of Country economy such as mining, Agriculture, Tourism and manufacturing.

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