Timor Leste's teachers to cultivate moral values
In this 'era of globalization' the country's educators must set good example
Minister of Education Antonio da Conceicao (second from left) speaks at a national seminar held in Dili to mark World Teacher's Day. (Photo by Thomas Ora)
Timor Leste's Minister of Education Antonio da Conceicao said that the predominantly Catholic country needs its teachers to cultivate good values in society.
"I realize that the lack of highly dedicated teachers is a challenge to the quality of our education. Timor Leste needs educators to cultivate good values among students," he said at a national seminar held on Oct. 11 in the capital city Dili.
The event was attended by abound 500 educators and was organized to mark World Teacher's Day, which fell on Oct. 5. A series of programs to celebrate the day ran from Oct. 10-12.
Educators should not merely teach the curriculum but also transmit local values and build character and patriotism in their students, according to Conceicao.
"Teachers are one of the most important contributors to national development," he said.
Educators must be well trained and fully competent before they take up their positions and it is essential for them to set examples of performance and self-discipline to their students, he said.
Teachers take part in the national seminar in Dili. (Photo by Thomas Ora)
Bishop Virgilio do Carmo da Silva of Dili suggested that this role is more important than ever in this era of globalization.
"Good teachers are key in transferring values," he said at an opening Mass for the series of programs. "They must pay attention to holistic education because moral degradation is emerging in this era of globalization. That is why ethical education is needed."
"The success of the educational process does not merely depend on the students' understanding and knowledge," he added.
Divine Word Father Urbanus Bunga Lolon, rector of the Institute of Religious Science in Dili, said that many teachers were recruited after independence from Indonesia when large numbers of Indonesian civil servants returned home.
"It means local teachers don't have pedagogical competence. They should be regularly provided with training," he said.
Commenting on teachers' dedication, Father Lolon said that it has not yet reached the maximum level. "Some teachers still think it's about the salary. It depends on each individual though."
For Genoveva Viviana Ximenes, a 61-year-old teacher at Minor Seminary of Our Lady of Fatima in Dili, being a teacher was a calling.
"If I don't teach a class for one day, I feel guilty," she said, adding that she tries to set a good example for her students.
Another teacher, Aurea Celina Assis, from a Catholic senior high school in Dili, said she found happiness in teaching.
"Even though I am older now, I still can cultivate the values of humanity among my students," said the 65-year-old.
According to data from the country's education ministry, Timor Leste has 13,948 teachers working at kindergartens, elementary schools, high schools and vocational schools.
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