Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Buti Manamela has tasked Life Orientation (LO) lecturers to be at the forefront of exploring new ways to teach, inspire and help build the nation.
Manamela was speaking at the Higher Education and Training HIV/Aids Programme (HEAIDS) Life Orientation Lecturer Certificate ceremony held on Thursday at OR Tambo International Airport.
Over 400 LO Level 4 lecturers were awarded certificates after completing training on the Assessment Workbook conducted by HEAIDS.
The baseline study that HEAIDS conducted at the inception of the project enabled it to understand the many challenges that colleges were facing in relation to Life Orientation and more specifically, the weaknesses of the system of assessment.
The assessment workbook was then developed to strengthen assessment and enable lecturers to think more critically about assessment and link it to competency.
The workbook was also designed to help lecturers think differently about HIV and pedagogy, and to use participatory teaching to stimulate the interests of students.
Speaking to lecturers, Manamela said students face severe and varied social challenges, which have a direct impact on their ability to learn, cope and deal with stress.
"They live in communities and families where the social fabric is being stretched at its seams. Within this context, I believe LO holds centre stage and cannot be undervalued. In fact, LO is the critical glue subject that holds our students together. Life Orientation holds other subjects together too.
“This makes you, as Life Orientation lecturers, a critical component in our learning and teaching equation. We are here today to honour you and the valuable contribution that you are making in ensuring that we have well rounded and competent graduates,” Manamela said.
He said the training they received through the HEAIDS intervention must successfully translate into better teaching.
Manamela asked the graduates to reflect on the many HIV infections they prevented and students living with HIV have they supported, and how much drug and alcohol abuse they have prevented through their role as teachers.
“Think about how many instances of gender based violence you have helped to prevent, and [the students you] helped to report and get the correct treatment to prevent HIV and other STIs.
“How many students have you encouraged to set goals to fulfil their college dreams and plans? How many students did you guide to believe in themselves, and how many students did you help to protect through teaching them about labour legislation, job contracts and their rights as workers?
“You will be the champions going forward. It is clear that you will need to drive the agenda on a daily basis. It is also clear that we cannot afford to let our guards down, given the challenges that face our students daily,” Manamela said. – SAnews.gov.za