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Speech

Teachers’ Day 2010 sees us confronted by considerable challenges and some instability in our education sector. I urge us however, not to let the problems which prevail, shroud or cloud this very significant Day; but let us herald and praise our teachers, who over the years, have provided sterling service to our children and contributed to the advancement of our education system.
I acknowledge and understand the concerns expressed by our nation’s teachers and the personal financial constraints with which they wrestle. The Government faces a similar constraint – a constraint which has compelled us to undertake a public sector reform process, in a bid to achieve fiscal discipline and manage our ‘out-of-control’ debt, which will augur well for us and the future of our country. While I cannot allay all the concerns or make promises of an immediate resolution, I ask that we engage in continued dialogue, with the hope of reaching a mutually beneficial resolution – not confrontation. Let us do it for our children! Education is that ‘ladder’ upon which our children will climb, to reach a life of success and prosperity.
As the son of teachers, I grew up seeing the unstinting dedication to the education of our youths, displayed by my parents; and the immense satisfaction they gleaned from the success of their students – past students who went on to make invaluable contribution to nation building. I appeal to all of us, to give this generation similar opportunities. The theme for this year’s Child’s month, implores us to give our children “a chance to grow up” – grow up to become educated, productive and well-adjusted adults. Let us all collectively give them that chance!
As we mark another Teachers’ Day, let us all recommit to the cause of education – Government, teachers, parents, private sector, churches and communities, let us co-operate and collaborate – not isolate, in this very worthwhile national effort.