UNRWA Celebrates 2019 World Teachers’ Day
Emphasizing the central role of teachers in the delivery of equitable, inclusive and quality education to Palestine refugee children working within conflict and in protracted crisis, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) joins the education community worldwide in celebrating the World Teachers’ Day this year.
World Teacher’s Day is an annual UN celebration that recognizes and celebrates the contribution of teachers across the globe. The theme of this year’s World Teachers’ Day is ‘Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession’. The theme was chosen in order to encourage all to reflect on the future of the teaching profession and the contribution of young teachers within it. This theme is closely aligned with the work of UNRWA towards supporting teachers with training activities and programmes to help them facilitate their students’ learning in the best way possible in the extremely complex operational context in which they work. This year’s celebration is particularly important to the Agency, given the difficult financial conditions and the challenges UNRWA is facing in an already complex operating environment.
UNRWA recognizes that these financial and contextual challenges can impact on teachers and their motivation. With an increase in demand for teachers at its schools over the past years, UNRWA has been forced to hire more teachers. However, particularly due to the Agency’s financial challenges, these additional teachers have mostly been hired on a daily paid, contractual basis. The majority of the UNRWA daily paid teachers are young professionals: young in age, young in experience and young to UNRWA. It is often the case that daily paid teachers feel marginalized, face job insecurity and may feel they do not receive recognition for their contribution to the education programme.
Reflecting this year’s World Teachers’ Day theme, the celebrations are intended to highlight the importance of daily paid teachers alongside all UNRWA teachers in maintaining the delivery of education services to Palestine refugee children. Furthermore, this year UNRWA will continue to promote the Newly Appointed Teachers’ (NAT) programme. “The NAT programme reflects the needs of UNRWA students in the 21st Century to think critically, to value human rights, to take initiative and be able to work together. Teachers will study what is a blended learning text-based programme, with links to other materials and resources,” says Caroline Pontefract, the UNRWA Director of Education. All teachers who join the Agency system, including the daily paid teachers, will benefit from the support given to them with regards to their training and professional development needs.
On this World Teachers’ Day, UNRWA thanks all its teachers, including those who are daily paid. The Agency particularly celebrates and encourages the teachers who are young in age, young to the profession or young to UNRWA, to take the opportunity of the professional development available and to continue to strive to make a difference in the lives of Palestine refugee students.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget.
UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
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