World Teachers’ Day 2021 – Teachers at the heart of education recovery
Like every year, we, Greek and Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Trade Unions are celebrating 5th October, World Teachers’ Day. This day is not just a day of celebration but also an important indicator of our mutual understanding of respect, collaboration, common struggle and solidarity for the betterment of our profession, and also in the effort to reach a peaceful federal solution in our divided country Cyprus.
Since March 2019, our globe has been experiencing the most difficult times of the 21st century. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our lives has been tremendous. Millions of people has been infected and died. As well as being a health crisis, it has also became a social and economic crisis.
Education has been one of the most affected fields in this period. Teachers who are the main pillars of the societies, worked hard to prevent loss in education during school closures. They worked hard to educate their students, without any infrastructure and equipment support from the governments. This year, despite all the risks of infection, face to face education has started with the outstanding efforts of the education trade unions and teachers continue their devoted work in their classrooms.
According to the global report of Education International on the status of teachers in 2021;
* 55.1% of teacher unions reported that teacher salaries have either decreased or stayed stagnant.
* Around 30% of teacher unions reported limitations on collective bargaining.
* 59.1% of teacher unions reported the use of casual and short-term contracts to employ teachers and academics.
* 42.5% of teacher unions reported a decline in teachers’ working conditions.
Today is the day to celebrate our achievements and solidarity. Morover, it is the day to call on governments for more investment in education and in teachers, to improve their status and working conditions.
It should be noted that, education is a process of gaining knowledge, values and morals, and improving skills. It is a process of creating a community, a nation with common understanding of values and targets. It is a process of creating the future. And teachers are at the center of this process. Under the threat of pandemic, teachers are at the heart of education recovery in this process.
The theme for this year’s World Teachers’ Day is: ‘Teachers at the heart of education recovery’.
The slogan highlights that the world desperately needs teachers. In the light of the numbers given in the global report of EI on the status of teachers in 2021, urgent actions are needed to be taken. Teachers cannot continue to be overworked, undervalued and underpaid. If the world is build back better, teachers must be supported and empowered to lead the recovery in education.
We, as the Cypriot Teacher Trade Unions, members of the Education International (EI) and the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) strongly believe that, joint struggle is of great importance in overcoming the difficulties; and in protecting and improving teachers’ rights. We are honored to express our solidarity with all member teacher trade unions.
With this belief, we will continue to work hard to increase our collaboration with mutual respect and understanding. We will work hard to promote the values of democracy, justice, mutual acceptance and reconciliation as in the pre-Covid period.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an enormous toll on education. Beyond school closures and lost learning, countless educators, union members, and leaders of our profession have died. The losses are staggering.
This year, 5th October is also the day to pay a tribute to our colleagues who lost their lives during the pandemic. Their death has a devastating impact on education. On this special day, Education International is calling all the member unions to organise a minute of silence to honour our colleagues. Therefore, we invite all our colleagues to take a minute of honour at 12pm to reflect on the legacy of our colleagues and education workers who passed away.
Also, Education International will be hosting a global tribute event in their honour. All members will come together to remember and honour those we lost and who are forever present in our minds. We will carry out their legacy and celebrate their life’s work, their dedication to their students, colleagues and profession. We will commit ourselves to taking their mission forward. Also, an online memorial website will be launched which will present the lives of the colleagues we have lost.
KTOEÖS, OELMEK, KTÖS, POED, DAÜSEN, OLTEK