The 5th of October is a day observed around the world where we celebrate and appreciate the role teachers’ play in shaping our society and creating the leaders of tomorrow.
It is vitally important that we show our dedicated hard working teachers the appreciation they deserve. Day in and out, teachers deal with outstanding challenges that are a reflection of the society we live in. These include: working in communities where violence is rife; where drug abuse and alcoholism are a challenge; where households are headed by children; where poverty is prevalent and where teenage pregnancy is an unfortunate reality.
World Teachers’ Day allows us to celebrate the outstanding teachers in our schools who, despite these challenges, they go above and beyond their expected duties to create a cohesive educational environment and a beacon of hope for their learners.
They not only teach the curriculum, but they show their learners how to deal with life challenges through sound logic and reasoning; they instil values and compassion; they encourage learners to be studious; and inspire them to broaden their horizons in order to achieve their dreams through hard work and dedication.
It saddens me that this is not true for all of our teachers and that a small handful, who do not set a good example for our learners, give the profession a bad name. All teachers need to take a stand to protect the image of their vocation and speak up about fellow colleagues who taint the noblest profession with unbecoming conduct.
The theme for this year’s UNESCO World Teachers’ Day is, “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers”. At the Department of Basic Education we strive to empower our teachers and encourage them to continuously develop through the multiple programmes that are presented by not only the Department, through the Teacher Appreciation and Support Programme (TASP), but also by the South African Council of Educators (SACE), the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC), the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP-SETA), the Teacher Trade Unions, the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) and various other Partners of the Department that operate in and provide essential support to the basic education sector.
In commemoration of OR Tambo – freedom fighter, lawyer and teacher – the Department of Basic Education will host a Teachers’ Seminar on World Teachers’ Day to celebrate the values he stood for by promoting the importance of education and the empowerment of teachers.
To our teachers – we thank you for your often selfless work and the sacrifices you make on a daily basis to ensure that our nation’s children have the best opportunity to succeed and make a positive impact to the development of our country.