Teacher’s Month 2014 opens tomorrow 1 June, under the theme: “Building a Culture of Social Justice in our Education System.” In her address, Governor General, Dame Cécile La Grenade said, “Social Justice is the ability of individuals to realise their potential in a society that fosters fair distribution of privileges, opportunities and resources.”
The rest of the address follows:
Social justice is generally cultivated within institutions which enable people to lead a fulfilling life and be active contributors to their communities. These institutions are usually focused on education, health care, social services, as well as a broader system of public services and progressive taxation to ensure the equitable distribution of wealth, equality of opportunity and dignity of existence.
The theme chosen for this year’s Teachers’ Month is “Building a culture of Social Justice in our Education System.” It has been said that education is the greatest liberator that mankind has ever known, and the greatest force for social progress. I will add, that education is also the greatest equaliser that mankind has ever known.
The role of education in providing equality and social justice is a major preoccupation of individuals who play a central role in deciding what is taught in schools, how it is taught and when it is taught. The purpose of schooling has become increasingly linked to the debate over what constitutes a fair and just society. Therefore, our school system must be one that performs its function without fear or favour.
Education is intrinsically linked to the development of societies the world over. Therefore, any society in which education is a fortified pillar, that society will be, by its very construct, a more equitable society, and one in which individuals can achieve their fullest potential. Our system of education must recognise its role in creating such societies. Our decision-makers too, must understand that education of all citizens is a down-payment on economic and social advancement.
I take this opportunity to therefore appeal to the different stakeholders of our nation’s educational system, to fully embrace your role and perform your duties to the best of your abilities because our children require this, and our nation depends on it. Moreover, our society will thrive or crumble based on how well we all execute our roles in the laying the foundation for our future generations.
Let us design curricula that take into account the different learning ability of every child; let us promote learning environments in which children are free to express themselves; where children can embrace diversity; climates in which our young ones can feel safe and secure; where they know they can truly become what they want to become.
Teachers: your responsibility is not only social or educational, it is also moral. You are entrusted with the fabric of our society, which you always need to remember. You should be provided with the tools needed to successfully execute your profession. The challenges are many and varied, but they are not insurmountable. You are charged with the responsibility to create a society in which every child, every individual, has an equal opportunity to receive an appropriate education, and thus live a dignified life to the fullest of his or her potential.
I wish all our teachers a successful and productive month of meaningful activities; one on which you can reflect, one which allows you to embrace best practices; one from which you will emerge more effective in imparting knowledge to your students – the backbone of our country – our hope for the future.