On Oct. 5, we celebrated World Teachers’ Day throughout Manitoba and around the world.
This year I was delighted to join students, teachers and administrators at River East Collegiate (REC) to help celebrate this day and the vital role teachers play in our communities.
The theme for this year’s World Teachers’ Day was "Teachers: Pillars of Democracy." With the increased discussion around social justice issues in Manitoba, including strengthened anti-bullying legislation, this theme was particularly important. Paul Olson, President of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, organized the event along with the River East-Transcona School Division (RETSD) board and administration.
After short presentations from Olson, RETSD board chair Peter Kotyk, RETSD superintendent Kelly Barkman and myself, the students engaged in their own lively discussion on democracy, social justice and human rights issues. Teacher Anita Maharaj Kumar led the discussion, which focused on how democracy is a vital part of our society and how understanding and respecting each other’s point of view is critical. Ms. Kumar teaches Grades 10 and 11 at REC, and over the years she has involved students in dozens of UNESCO-based human rights and relief projects.
As an MLA and a father, I am privileged to visit many Manitoba schools. I am always impressed by the students I visit and with the enthusiasm of the teachers. I have seen just how dedicated teachers are to helping students develop their talents and find their own paths to success.
I’m also very proud to be a member of a government that regards education as one of our highest priorities. In fact, for the last 14 years Manitoba has met or exceeded its commitment to fund public schools at or above the rate of economic growth. Public school funding has increased by $441 million, or 57%, since 2000.
To further recognize teachers, the province is now accepting nominations for the 8th annual Celebration of Excellence in Teaching Awards. These awards recognize educators’ outstanding achievement in the following award categories: Teaching Excellence, Outstanding New Teacher, Team Collaboration and Outstanding School Leader. You can find more information about the awards on the Manitoba Education website.
If you have any questions on the nomination process or on another matter, feel free to call me at 204-654-1857 or email me at Matt.Wiebe@YourManitoba.ca. Thank you to all our amazing teachers. By fostering the next generation of citizens, they are helping build the future of our province.