The South African Democratic Teachers Union joins millions of teachers globally in celebrating World Teachers Day (WTD) on October 5 under the theme Take A Stand for Teachers.
World Teachers Day was initiated by UNESCO to commend teachers for the contribution they make to education and development. SADTU would like to call on government, communities, business and civic bodies in South Africa to provide support to education, the teaching profession and organizations that represent teachers and educational staff.
According to UNESCO, teaching should be regarded as a profession: it is a form of public service which requires of teachers expert knowledge and specialized skills, acquired and maintained through rigorous and continuing study. UNESCO further says that since education is a continuous process, the various branches of the teaching services should be so coordinated as both to improve the quality of education for all pupils and to enhance quality education for all learners and to enhance the status of teachers. As an educational objective, no state or country should be satisfied with mere quality, but should seek to improve quality.
Teachers in South Africa do not receive adequate development and the induction of new teachers is uncoordinated. Teachers are exposed to more work load due to changes in the curriculum and the learner/teacher ratio is high. The misallocation of learning areas demoralizes the teachers who have to teach learning areas they are not trained for.
Security in schools is poor. Few schools put proper security measures in place exposing both the teachers and learners to crime. Schools are also exposed to drugs as people in the neighbouring communities sell these to the learners.
Fewer young people enter the profession because it has fewer benefits to make it attractive and competitive to other professions.
Some of the benefits needed by the teachers are quite basic like the housing allowance. We are still waiting for a competitive housing allowance and government seems to be dragging its feet on the matter. We also invite business to also come up with solutions on the matter to show it care for teachers. This will boost the status of the profession and somehow contribute to the quality of teaching the teachers will provide.
Solutions to the problems facing education should not only come from government or teachers only. If our education fails, everyone should take responsibility. We therefore call on all stakeholders learners, communities, educators and government take responsibility and play their respective roles in ensuring that we receive quality education
We would like to see business taking an active role in trying to find solutions that bring about quality education instead of lamenting on the poor quality of education and apportioning blame on teacher unions, more especially SADTU.
We notice a growing conservative force which is trying to make teachers alone to be accountable for the results through evaluations and merit pay. All stakeholders in education need to account. Removing teacher worker rights wont bring quality education. Instead, training and professional development of teachers, improving socio-economic conditions faced by the majority of this country will bring a positive improvement in education. The Union is working very hard to address these challenges which are not only experienced by the South African teachers.
SADTU has shown its commitment to professional development by committing ourselves to the QLTC Campaign. We are also engaging in projects to improve the quality of teaching such opening the Curtis Nkondo Teacher Development Institute for teacher development.
We also urge communities to also see themselves as part of solutions to education. We urge them to do their part at home by instilling discipline, taking interest in their childrens school work and engaging with schools in their neighbourhoods.
We take this opportunity to celebrate these hard working, passionate and dedicated teachers of our country.
SADTU will hold its official World Teachers Day celebration in Mpumalanga on the 12th of October.
Happy Teachers Day!
ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat