World Teachers' Day observed at Alhamra Hall

LAHORE:07 October: World Teachers' Day was observed on Thursday by paying tribute to the teachers in the provincial capital, as a number of ceremonies were held to focus on the importance of teachers. Different organisations as well as educational institutions and teachers unions held seminars, walks and other events to mark the day, while the School Education Department (SED) organised a major ceremony at Alhamra Hall. Minister for Schools Education Rana Mashood, Schools Secretary Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik and a large number of teachers were present. Speaking on the occasion, Rana Mashood said that the purpose of celebrating the day was to pay tribute to the teachers' important role in educating the younger generations. "In this regard, teachers have been provided conducive atmosphere at the schools so that they can educate their students with hard work and consistency," he said. The minister further said that if the students were brightening the name of the country at the international level, it was because of the hard work of their teachers. He further said that the Punjab government had therefore decided to confer star teachers awards, certificates and cash prizes on 500 best teachers of public sector schools. He said that best performing five thousand teachers would be sent to world's best institutions for their capacity building in phases, and added that 300 teachers would be sent soon in the first phase. Similarly, interest-free loans would be provided to the teachers through teachers' foundation for the education of their children, healthcare and for the provision of other facilities, he said. While giving details of different steps taken for the betterment of the teaching community, he said that primary schoolteachers had been upgraded from BPS-9 to BPS-14 and the BPS-15 teachers had been promoted to BPS-16. "Similarly, the elementary schoolteachers have been upgraded in BPS-15, while the BPS-16 teachers of secondary schools have been given two increments. The Schools Education Department has given training to 672,000 teachers so that they can give quality education to their students." He said that 96 percent attendance of teachers had been ensured at schools and the recruitment of 2,116 assistant education officers had been made purely on merit. He said that teachers were the architects of society and "today we should make a sovereign pledge that we shall give all possible respect and honour to the teaching community, as they are the nation-builders". Schools Secretary Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik paid a rich tribute to the role of teachers in the education sector and said that it was the teachers' community who educated the children and improved their intellectual ken so that they could face the challenges of life. He said that Quaid-i-Azam Academy for Educational Development had been established as a state-of-the-art institution to provide quality training facilities to the teachers. He said that star teachers were intellectual vanguards of society and the whole nation was united to pay homage to the teaching community. He further said that teaching was not a job but a sacred profession, which "plays a pivotal role in nation building". Later, Rana Mashood distributed awards, certificates and cash prizes among the star teachers. Separately, in a statement on World Teachers' Day, All Pakistan Private Schools Federation President Kashif Mirza said that quality teachers were the key to sustainable global development and their training, recruitment, retention, status and working conditions were among the association's top priorities. "In fact, teachers are the single most influential and powerful force for equity, access and quality in education," he said, adding that worldwide there was a shortage of well-trained teachers. He said that the demand for teachers was expected to rise to 25.8 percent, which had a target calling for a substantial increase in qualified teachers. "The APPSF is determined to achieve universal primary education by 2030," he added. Meanwhile, the Ghazali Education Trust organised a walk in which students, members of civil society, social activists and political personalities paid tribute to teachers. Awards were also distributed among teachers. The participants urged the government to appreciate teachers without any discrimination between the public and private institutions. Similarly, the University of Management Technology (UMT) Lahore organised a seminar and an awareness walk where speakers blessed students with the priceless guidance about the respect of teachers. On the occasion, students voted for the best teachers, who were then presented special awards. The participants, while appreciating the efforts of the teachers, said that educationists had a very important role to play for the education and development of young minds. Published in Daily Times, October 6th 2017.

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