When someone we know complains about lacking a personal comfort or convenience, a reply of consolation often comes forth sounding something like this, “well at least that’s a First World problem.” Fortunately, in Alberta, we do not have gaps in necessities very often, but unfortunately, in developing and under-developed nations the necessity gap is very real. Being reminded of the needs of our brothers and sisters worldwide, emphasizes the importance of those necessities that further our own well-being, and through our example, brings hope to what is possible in places where gaps still exist.
There are few things more necessary to any global citizen than receiving a good education. Education empowers and can never be taken from anyone. It forges possibility for personal progress, fulfillment of our dreams for a rewarding and prosperous career, and enhances respect and care for others. Most importantly, where education thrives and is accessible to all, it furthers productivity in the workplace, enhances a local tax base, and builds thriving centres of community that are rich in services.
Therefore, we should not be surprised that on October 5, 2018, World Teacher’s Day will be promoting a special theme: The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher. Unfortunately, the United Nations estimates that 264 million children and youth are still out of school globally. Furthermore, to reach the 2030 Education Goals of universal primary and secondary education, the world will need to recruit almost 69 million new teachers, especially among vulnerable populations such as girls, children with disabilities, refugee and migrant children, or poor children living in rural or remote areas.
It is timely, as the first month of school ends and student routines are in place, that we celebrate the important work of our teachers. Life may not always be perfect for any of us, but the first step that we take to make change and improve our circumstances often happens because of the quality of education that we receive. When our lives are formed by teachers in knowledge, understanding, and the cause to serve one another, we grow as citizens and build better futures for everyone. Let’s thank our teachers of the past and present for giving us these opportunities and for narrowing gaps of opportunity that we pray will one day never be experienced regardless of where people live within the human family.
God bless your October!
David Keohane, Superintendent