President Jacob Zuma has pledged government’s full commitment to bring back the honor and pride of the teaching profession – commonly known as the mother of all professions.
“We want children to look up to teachers and learn from them more than the formal curriculum. Through watching the conduct of teachers, learners must want to be successful, respectful and to be good citizens, who will take the country forward to prosperity,” stated Zuma at the National Teaching Awards, an event which honours the nation’s hard-working and dedicated teachers
Zuma encouraged teachers to join and support government effort to make education an essential service. He challenged them to transform the current perceptions and images of the teaching profession.
“Through professional conduct like coming to school on time and doing their work diligently, the teaching profession will regain the respect of the community. Our teachers carry an enormous responsibility on their shoulders. They carry the dreams and hopes of the nation. The manner in which they raise and nurture our precious children will help us build the model South African citizen. We will build the country that national heroes such as Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Chief Albert Luthuli, Ruth First, Dorothy Nyembe, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and many heroes and heroines sacrificed life’s comfort to establish,” the President said.
The President sent out a clear warning to opportunity seekers who failed to believe in the noble vision of South Africa’s forebears did not belong in the profession. He stated there presently exist teachers who are “contributing to this noble cause of building model citizens…..These teachers are the pride of our nation.” They continue to show support for the government’s call for more focus on the Triple Ts – teachers, textbooks and time.
Zuma carried on stating that it was the responsibility of government to supervise the profession. At the moment, there are ongoing discussions being helped at Education Labour Relations Council related to the new performance management system for educators. Part of the key Government priorities for 2013 include reducing teacher absenteeism and raising levels of accountability.
To be able to succeed, government intends to assist and focus on the Management and Administration of institutions. In conjunction with teacher unions, the government intends to instill the need for professional conduct upon their members.
Together with his passion for education, Zuma stated that all he wanted is that every child in South Africa receive a good quality education. He believes that to be able to develop a country that works then investment in education is a prerequisite and should advance the ideals of the Constitution.
Ever since the first democratic elections in South Africa, the government has taken on the responsibility and accomplished much with regards to improving the working conditions of educators, including compensation, teacher supply and utilisation.
The government is well aware of job market competitions and in order to attract, motivate, and retain high qualified and skilled teachers; the government will have to take a look at what is a decent salaries and conditions of service
Zuma mentioned in his State of the Nation Address that a Presidential Remuneration Commission would be established with the soul purpose to investigate and evaluate the remuneration and conditions of service provided by the state to all its employees, beginning with teachers.
Recently, the government launched National School Build Programme and committed more funding for school infrastructure. The government is working on two national programs running concurrently. In addition, there are provincially driven programmes with a national budget of R8.5 billion and the national Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative with an allocation of R8.2 billion, of which R3.1 billion has already been committed to projects that are underway.
To boost the state of education in the country, government is investing in teacher development. The intention is to strengthen and make use of the existing 112 teacher centres and five provincial teacher development institutes to make available additional support for and to teachers on a local level. Siyabuswa College of Education Mpumalanga was recently re-opened by Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande as part of a the government drive to expand teacher training around the country.
According to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga the steady advancements in Grade 12 pass rate and improvement in the Annual National Assessments is a result of dedicated, creative and motivated teachers.
“National Teaching Awards recipients are critical contributors to the successes we have achieved over the years. As ambassadors and models of good practices in this noble profession, they remind us that with extraordinary effort, the challenges facing the education sector can and will be overcome, one classroom at a time,” said Motshekga.
The categories of the National Teaching Awards include: Excellence in Primary School Teaching; Secondary School Teaching; Primary School Leadership; Secondary School Leadership; Grade R Teaching; Special Needs Education and Technology-enhanced Teaching and Learning.
Source: SAnews.gov.za, thepresidency.gov.za (images)