DILI, 28 november 2023 (TATOLI) – Timorese teachers called for more teaching of patriotism is schools to foster the emergence of a sense of pride and love for the symbols of the state, such as the flag, the national anthem, the motto, the natural riches and the material and immaterial heritage left by the fighters and heroes of the liberation of the country.
Elisiário Soares Barreto, a teacher at the São Miguel de Hauba Catholic School in the municipality of Bobonaro, said that, in his opinion, teachers have an obligation to teach their pupils to love history and to master the national anthem and national symbols.
“As a teacher, I take on an important role in teaching students how to consolidate patriotism, because there is a subject, citizenship education, which explains in detail the symbols of Timor-Leste, such as the flag and the meaning of its colors, the national anthem, as well as the national motto (unity of action and progress0. There is no reason for students not to know the history of the country,” he said in Dili.
Barreto also advised that, in order to promote patriotism, the Ministry of Education should reinforce civic education through a flag-raising ceremony once a week, to raise children’s awareness of their love of country.
The teacher left a message to all Timorese to strengthen unity and peace based on the national motto – unity of action and progress – in order to contribute to the development and prosperity of the country and the people.
The same idea was put forward by Agostinha Pereira, a teacher at the Nobel Peace Secondary School in Dili. The teacher of Indonesian Language and Citizenship Education stressed the importance of strengthening the sense of patriotism since students are obliged to know the country’s history. “At school, we teach children the spirit of patriotism but, with the technological changes we are experiencing, students are very attached to social networks and forget about the history of Timor-Leste.”
Agostinha admitted that although some students don’t know the country’s history, as a teacher she doesn’t punish them because it’s forbidden by law. She stressed that learning about Timor-Leste’s history “depends on the will of each student.”
Natalino dos Santos, a teacher at Fatubessi Central Primary School, in the municipality of Ermera, said that students are required to have a patriotic spirit so that Timor-Leste doesn’t lose its history. “In order to deepen children’s knowledge of Timor-Leste’s history, it is necessary to hold regular flag-raising events in all schools so that students know the names of heroes, national leaders, as well as the history of the country’s struggle against colonialism,” he said.
Journalist: Camilo de Sousa
Editor: Filomeno Martins