- Published on Tuesday, 23 February 2016 18:48
‘The teacher is of vital importance’, is an expression of ever greater significance, worthy of repetition and search for its new meanings. It is almost certain that the importance of the teacher is not one that will last for eternity. Today the role of the teacher is not the same as in the past, when schools were being built and numbers in the profession rose quickly. Now, teaching is one of the largest professions, rather varied, but with a strong common sense of identity. This engenders strengths and weaknesses in the development and projection of the teacher’s new role. Between times, just what modern teachers are and will be like, signifies the country’s capacity for long-term progress.
This is why this year’s report is reserved for teachers. Its function is to present facts, supported by national and international research, to describe the situation and contribute to mature public debate on the topic. The main audience includes the broad range of public opinion, together with educationalists, economists, politicians and above all teachers themselves. This implies both those teaching in the school system and in Higher Education, two communities which are poorly connected - something which impedes further progress. University resources, if made more widely available, could be used to unleash new approaches to work with young people to guarantee the constant creative foment needed as the foundation for the modern teacher’s role. The report does not pretend to offer a ‘grand synthesis’ or ‘conclusive recommendations’. For this, a wider public debate would be necessary. The report does, however, offer a faithful picture of the present situation. A number of problems and also their legal remedies require considered discussion for revision of the functions of institutions, which at this time are written into law. The institution of teacher career progression is one clear cut example.