SA marks World Teachers Day

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pretoria - South Africa joined the rest of the world today to honour the role and importance of teachers in the classroom and society, on World Teacher's Day.

Celebrated annually on 5 October across the world, the day aims to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation for the contribution teachers make to education and development across the globe.

"A day like this inspires us to focus attention on issues in education that are of national importance and to provide a platform to share experiences and best practices. Nationally, we all agree that the quality of education relies on the availability of quality teachers," said Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga on Tuesday.

She said teachers worldwide have made sacrifices, often under very trying circumstances and hardships, which ensure that their learners get quality education.

"Their contributions to generations of learners should inspire all teachers to strive towards making a difference in their schools and to look forward to doing their work with pride, dedication and sense of duty that befits this noble profession," the minister said.

The minister called on South African teachers and all education stakeholders to use this World Teachers' Day commemoration to recommit themselves to continue to build quality education for learners and future generations.

This year, the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) has proposed that all teachers should celebrate not just one day in October but the whole month as a Teachers' Month.

Motshekga said Teachers' Month comes at a time when the department has launched Let's Support the Class of 2010 Campaign.

"This is a time when all South Africans should work together to support not only our learners but our teachers as well. As a society, we need to ensure that the goals we have set in our Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign are realised through making education a societal issue."

The Department of Basic Education is working in close partnership with key stakeholders in education to address the multiple and complex challenges that the sector faces.

The department will also continue strengthening its support for teachers. Last year, the department had a Teacher Development Summit which recommended that the country should develop a teacher development plan.

"A draft plan for Teacher Development arising from the Summit has been developed that sets out ways of closing those gaps that we have in our schooling system.

"We hope all teachers will support the plan as it represents the outcome of collaborative work involving a range of role-players across the teacher education and development spectrum in South Africa," Motshekga said.

The minister applauded the Education Labour Relations Council for spearheading the Teacher Laptop Initiative (TLI). "We urge all teachers to avail themselves of this opportunity that has the potential to enhance their subject knowledge and their teaching in the classroom."

Over the years, the minister said, there has been a marked increase in the number of young teachers, who have joined the profession, that have been assisted by the provision of full service bursaries through the Funza Lushaka Bursary scheme.

"This initiative will go a long way towards assisting our schools with a sufficient supply of well trained teachers."

In South Africa, various provincial education departments are hosting events to acknowledge the role that educators play in shaping the future of learners.

On Friday, the Mpumalanga Education Department will host the National Teaching Awards to reward outstanding performance by educators.

Educators will be rewarded in the following categories:

* Excellence in Primary School Teaching
* Excellence in Secondary School Teaching
* Excellence in Primary School Leadership
* Excellence in Secondary School Leadership
* Excellence in Grade R Teaching
* Excellence in Inclusive Education and Special Needs Teaching
* Excellence in Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) and
* Lifetime Achievement Award

In 1966, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and the Independent Labour Organisation inaugurated this day to commemorate the Status of the Teaching Profession.

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