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Address by President James A. Michel ahead of Teachers’ Day ( State House – 1 October 2012 )

08.10.2012

“Act Now, Make a Difference”

Every year, a special day is set aside when our nation celebrates and pays tribute to our teachers. World Teachers’ Day is held annually on 5th October when it was created by UNESCO in 1994 to moblise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.

In Seychelles, though, we do things a little differently. We devote a whole week, starting from today, to our teachers. To show we love them, how much we appreciate them and how much we respect them.

This is why we are gathered at State House this evening.

We are also gathered for the Award Presentation ceremony where we pay special tribute to long-serving teachers. It gives me immense pleasure to congratulate those teachers who have received their awards this evening. You deserve this recognition. It is a testimony to your commitment, to your hard work and to your devotion to the education and upbringing of our children. Our nation is grateful to you and we thank you. We hope that other teachers will follow in your path.

Teachers mould the lives that they influence. They help shape and challenge the minds of the young, and guide and train them for lifelong learning, thereby contributing to the social, economic, and intellectual development of our nation.

Et quand je vous regarde, il me vient à l’esprit les paroles de ce géant de la littérature française littéraire, Anatole France, qui écrivait : «Les bons maitres enseignent la bonne éducation. Les grands maîtres préparent leurs élèves à devenir des leaders. Les enseignants ordinaires nous orientent vers la bonne voie, mais les grands enseignants nous encouragent à chercher notre propre voie. Ils nous encouragent à découvrir nos talents ».

Les leçons apprises des  professeurs restent avec les élèves tout au long de la vie. Je porte encore moi les souvenirs impérissables de certains de ces grands enseignants qui ont contribué à façonner ma vie.  Trois de mes enseignantes sont avec nous ce soir, au titre de mes invitées spéciales: ce sont Miss Miss Anita, Miss Adrienne et Miss Aglae. Sir Philippe, n’a pu être des nôtres malheureusement. Vous êtes des personnes très spéciales en qui je serai toujours reconnaissant.  Et sachez, que je vous porte toujours  jalousement dans mon cœur.

Ce soir, en particulier, tous mes souvenirs me conduisent à mes professeurs.  Ils m’ont apporté leur soutien, ils ont inculqué en moi l'amour de l'apprentissage continu, et ils inspiraient le respect. Ils m'ont appris à respecter mes aînés, le respect de mes pairs, le respect d’autrui et de tous mes semblables êtres humains. Si aujourd'hui, je me suis vu confier la haute responsabilité de diriger cette nation qui est la nôtre, c’est bien à mes professeurs que je le dois.  Par les valeurs qu'ils m'ont transmises ; par l'éducation qu'ils m'ont donnée ; et par les connaissances et les compétences qu’ils ont instillées en moi. C'est pourquoi je leur demande de trouver ici l’expression de toute ma gratitude et de mon respect. Ces sentiments de gratitude, je les étends à vous tous qui avez emprunté la voie de ces gens formidables qui ont peut-être enseigné quelques-uns d'entre vous. Leur héritage perdure donc.

Our teachers need all the support and encouragement they can get from the community and from their students. Let us not forget that they also have their own families and that they face, just like us, challenges and life’s stresses on a daily basis.

For students, Teacher's Day is an occasion to pay homage and gratitude to teachers for their selfless efforts in imparting knowledge, moulding the career of students and enriching the education system in the process. It is also a wonderful opportunity to show them respect, and more respect.

The theme chosen for this year’s Teachers’ Day is “Act Now, Make a Difference”.  It is both timely and appropriate considering that our country is sparing no effort in soliciting the support of all concerned, especially teachers, to help shape the social construct of our community.

Therefore, teachers, you are being called upon to act and enhance your impact on the lives you touch and the minds you shape.  Your role is a noble one. It is also crucial.

Let us not forget, though, the primordial role of parents in education. Education starts at home, in the family. It is a serious responsibility. It is complementary to the education that the child receives at school. Parents must take their role seriously. Failing that, their children will develop negative attitudes which, ultimately, will contribute to more social ills.

The most valuable assets of our country are our human resources.  That is why the government continues to invest in school infrastructure, thereby ensuring that education and training will be provided for our students in the best possible educational environment.

Likewise, we shall continue to invest in teacher training. The capacity building of teachers will continue in other critical subject areas where we are depending heavily on overseas recruitment.  I would, therefore, like to make an appeal to all those who have the necessary qualifications to join the teaching profession. Act now and make a difference!

I wish to record my appreciation of the efforts of so many people who have helped to bring us to this stage of our educational development, and I urge teachers, parents, school management, the Ministry of Education, and all citizens of this country to continue to work hard to preserve and enhance all aspects of our education system.

On this special occasion, the nation joins me to thank all teachers of Seychelles for their hard work, dedication and determination. Let every child that is under your care remember you with respect and affection, just as I remember those teachers who helped steer my life. Let every child be inspired and motivated by you. We remember with gratitude and affection those who have passed on and those who are in retirement after so many years of service. To those in active service, we say to them, we pledge you our full support and respect. And remember those wise words of Einstein: Love is a better teacher than duty!

Happy Teachers’ Day!

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