Keynote Address Of Elias Shoniyin, Former Deputy Foreign Minister, at the Annual Outstanding Teachers Summit in Ghana


Honorable Ministers of Education and Information, distinguished guests, fellow educators, and most importantly, the Esteemed teachers of the Republic of Ghana,

  • I am here today with a profound sense of honor and responsibility as we gather at the 2023 Outstanding Teachers Summit in the beautiful Republic of Ghana. I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the organizers for inviting me to address this esteemed assembly on the theme that binds us together: “Nurturing Outstanding Teachers in the Digital Age.” Our theme today is both timely and crucial. We live in an era where technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace, transforming every aspect of our lives, including education.
  • Before I delve into the heart of this theme, let me begin by commending the people of Ghana for your commitment to celebrating and recognizing outstanding teachers. Teaching is a noble profession, and the impact of dedicated educators is immeasurable. By honoring exceptional teachers, you not only uplift their spirits but also inspire the entire teaching community to strive for excellence.
  • As a teacher myself, let me take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate the teachers in this room and across Ghana. Your dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment to your students have made a profound impact on the future of Ghana. You are the torchbearers of knowledge, shaping the minds of our youth and nurturing the leaders and innovators of tomorrow. Your resilience and adaptability in the face of the challenges brought about by the digital age are truly remarkable.
  • In the landscape of education, we find ourselves at a crossroads. The digital age has ushered in a wave of technological advancements that have reshaped the way we live, work, and learn. The role of educators has become even more critical as we navigate this ever-evolving educational terrain. We find ourselves not only teaching our students but also preparing them for a world that is interconnected, technologically driven, and constantly changing.
  • We find ourselves in an era of unparalleled transformation – the Digital Age. The impact of technology on our lives is undeniable, and it has revolutionized the way we teach. The advent of the digital age has ushered in opportunities and challenges that require us to adapt and evolve continuously. Today, we stand at the crossroads of traditional pedagogy and innovative practices, and the role of the outstanding teacher has never been more critical.
  • In the heart of this technological revolution, Africa, and more specifically, Ghana, has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability. Our continent, rich in cultural diversity and steeped in history, is now embracing the digital age to bridge educational disparities, promote inclusivity, and empower the next generation. As educators, we bear the responsibility of ensuring that this transition is smooth and that no child is left behind.
  • Let us acknowledge the pivotal role that outstanding teachers play in shaping the future of our nations. An outstanding teacher is not merely a dispenser of knowledge; they are sculptors of young minds, catalysts for change, and beacons of inspiration. In this digital age, where information is abundant and easily accessible, teachers are no longer just conveyors of facts. They are guides, mentors, and facilitators of critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.
  • So, how do we nurture outstanding teachers in the digital age? It begins with a commitment to lifelong learning. The rapid pace of technological advancement means that teachers must continuously update their skills and knowledge. Professional development opportunities, both traditional and digital, must be readily available and encouraged. Let us remember that the most effective educators are those who remain curious and humble learners themselves.
  • Moreover, we must foster a culture of collaboration among educators. Teachers in Ghana should come together to form communities of practice where they can exchange ideas, share best practices, and support each other in their professional growth. Together, you can create a network of excellence that benefits not only you but also the entire education system of Ghana.
  • The digital age allows for global connectivity, enabling us to share experiences and best practices with our peers around the world. Let us leverage these opportunities to learn from each other, to exchange ideas, and to collectively address the challenges we face.
  • In addition to individual growth and collaboration, we must advocate for supportive policies and investments in education. Governments, stakeholders, and communities must recognize the pivotal role of teachers in building a prosperous and equitable society. Adequate resources, fair compensation, and conducive working conditions are not just benefits for teachers; they are essential elements for nurturing outstanding educators.
  • Furthermore, we must harness the power of technology to enhance the learning experience. Digital tools can personalize education, making it more engaging and effective. They can help teachers differentiate instruction and provide individualized support to students. However, we must also be mindful of the digital divide and work tirelessly to bridge it, ensuring that every child, regardless of their background, has access to quality education.
  • Despite the availability of these innovative digital tools, let us not forget that technology alone cannot replace the profound impact of a dedicated and caring teacher. While digital tools can enhance education, it is the human touch, the mentorship, and the personal connections forged between teachers and students that truly make a difference. Outstanding teachers excel not only in utilizing technology but also in fostering relationships and nurturing the social and emotional well-being of their students.
  • There’s a story of a community that decided to honor industry leaders for their contributions to the community while the teachers were forgotten. Upon arrival, all of the honorees came only to find out that they were all taught by an old, frail, but bold and confident woman who sat in the audience. They all declined to be honored while she sat in the audience, leaving the organizers of the honoring program with no option but to invite the old teacher up on stage to be honored as a symbol of appreciation for all of the professionals earlier designated to be honored. One of the designated honorees, on behalf of all other honorees, made the following statement:

“To the world, you may be just another teacher, but to us, you are our hero. We respect you for what you have done for us all through many years. We know we were not the best students, but you were the best teacher we could ever ask for. We would have never been designated for honoring here today if it were not for you. Today, we seize this moment to acknowledge that in honoring you, our community has honored us all.  Thank you for accepting us for who we were and for loving us as much as you did.”

  • In tears, the entire audience rose to their feet while giving thunderous applause for the work and contributions of the old teacher.
  • This 2023 Outstanding Teachers Summit is a shining example of the importance of recognizing and celebrating the tireless efforts of our educators. As we navigate the digital age, let us remember that outstanding teaching is not just about technology; it’s about inspiring and empowering our students to become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and responsible citizens.
  • let us remember that the essence of outstanding teaching remains unchanged even in the digital age. It is about inspiring young minds, instilling a love for learning, and nurturing the values of empathy, compassion, and resilience. Let us strive to be the educators who guide our students not only in the mastery of subjects but also in the art of becoming responsible global citizens.
  • In closing, I challenge each of you to embrace the opportunities of the digital age while staying grounded in the timeless principles of teaching. Let us continue to nurture outstanding teachers who are not just skilled in technology but are also passionate advocates for the transformative power of education. Together, we can shape a future where education continues to be a beacon of hope and empowerment for all.
  • I have no doubt that the educators in this room today are the torchbearers of this vision, and I am excited to see the positive impact you will continue to have on the lives of countless students in Ghana and beyond. Thank you for your dedication, your passion, and your unwavering commitment to nurturing our tomorrow people as we dive into the digital age.
  • May this summit inspire us all to reach new heights in education, for the future of Ghana and our world depends on the excellence of our teachers.
  • May the teachers of Ghana continue to illuminate the path of knowledge for generations to come, and may this summit be a source of inspiration and collaboration as we work towards the betterment of education in the digital age.

God bless our teachers, and may God bless Ghana!

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