SADTU's message on World Teachers' Day 2018

5 October 2018

The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU), the country's largest teacher and education workers union, joins millions of teachers around the world in celebrating October 5 - World Teachers' Day.

This year's theme: "The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher " resonates with SADTU's long-standing call for increased investment in teacher training and development, which is captured in several Congresses' declarations and resolutions.

SADTU believes that education is a public good because of the central role it plays in transforming society. It is a driver of
economic development, promotes peace, tolerance and social cohesion. Teachers are therefore central to this as they are the means through which education is transmitted. They therefore need to be highly qualified in order to ensure that education does indeed do what it is supposed to do - transform the lives of our people for the better.

We celebrate this day in 2018 with many teachers going into the classrooms with trepidation due to the ill discipline of learners they teach. Many are subjected to teach in poor working conditions with inadequate resources and infrastructure. They teach large classes sizes with little or no training on how to manage these large and diverse groups of learners.

The legal status of teachers is slowly being eroded through the expansion of privatization of and in education which threatens, in some instances, their stable employment to contracts and fixed terms positions and takes away their right assessment as this is slowly being outsources to private providers.

This year's theme will remain a pipe dream if the Department of Education does not prioritize teacher development. We cannot continue to allow a situation where teacher development does not receive a sizable share in the Department's budget. In the 2018/2019 Education budget vote, Teacher Education Human Resources and Institutional Development was allocated R1, 3 billion while the Planning Information and Assessment received R12 billion.

Logic calls for development before assessment and this should be reflected in the Department's spending priorities.

We commend teachers who, despite the trying circumstances, continue to do their best to uphold the highest professional standards.

We congratulate our member and 2016 National Teaching Awards Life Time Achiever winner, Isaac Pila for being nominated by the Department of Basic Education and the South African UNESCO Commission to represent South Africa at the UNESCO Awards in France, Paris on World Teachers' Day.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat


General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi; 082 709 5651
Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi; 082 719 5157