We must invest in teachers. Skilled and happy teachers will make all the difference in the system and in the lives of our children. Investing in our teachers is at the heart of the enterprise that may be called nation-building.

Education ministry is in the process of creating a pool of skilled and contented teachers. The target is to have at least 70 percent of our teachers professionally happy by next year. Just how this is realised, we will wait and watch. If we must have a pool of highly competent, skilled and motivated teachers, there is the need to overhaul a whole lot of components in the system.

Teachers are at the heart of the school and education system, yes, but changing a system is often very challenging. Education ministry’s study has found that 55 percent of teachers are unhappy and dissatisfied with their profession. From where do we really begin?

As the minister for education said recently, infrastructure, curriculum and teachers are the three mail pillars of education. But we cannot agree that good, qualified and dedicated teachers can substitute poor curriculum and infrastructure. What we need is the best in all. We need to have well-rounded, relevant and high-quality school curriculum. We also need fine infrastructure. All these, indeed, go into the making of good and happy teachers.

In our happy little society, this year is celebrated as Teachers Development Year. But how many teachers know about this?

A study carried out by the ministry has found that many teachers who have served more than 10 years have not had the opportunity to hone their skills by way of training and workshops. And the teaching strategy and approach has remained unchanged for a long time that they are no more relevant today. These are significant findings. Perhaps we should begin with addressing these critical issues first.

We welcome the news that the government has allocated Nu 116.8 million for teacher development this year and that the ministry of education will initiate new pedagogy training for about 9,000 teachers in the country.

Investing in teachers is vitally important for the education to succeed. We will call the ministry to answer if this doesn’t happen urgently and effectively.