3 October 2015

Celebrating SADTU`s 25 Anniversary in KwazuluNatal, Durban

SADTU celebrates 25 years of existence on the 6th October this year. This giant was born in 1990 to liberate the teachers from yoke of apartheid. To liberate our country from Bantu education. To liberate our young people and adults from ignorance. Looking back on our rich history- our heroic struggles, our accomplishments, our proudest moments and challenging moments- and celebrating how far we have come as well as what the future holds.

We remind ourselves of the struggles for teacher Unity culminating into the launch in 1990. The country witnessed a moment of the bathe of a giant. This struggle was fought from all fronts through well defined campaigns. This struggle was waged through the campaign for recognition from the apartheid regime with its surrogates homeland regimes constituted in 18 racially based departments. We had 18 ministers of education for a population of an estimated 40 million. This struggle was won in the streets of our country.

We were not alone in this struggle comrades. Our international comrades and compatriots stood with us in solidarity. The regime and its branches of homelands experienced one of the longest strikes in 1993.

Having won the struggle for recognition with just thirty thousand (30 000) members this giant grew from strength to strength. The fear that the regime had became a reality when we waged another fierce struggle for collective bargaining with promulgation of the ELRA of 1993 and the establishment of the ELRC in 1994. SA experienced for the first time in the public service negotiations for all the teachers irrespective of their color. This struggle to defend collective bargaining is not over yet.

The goals and programmes of SADTU, which had been spelt out during the early years of its establishment, have continued to guide its development to this day. These were: Political, Unionism, Professionalism and Organisational Development (Govender, 2009:260). The Political Programme was encapsulated in the theme our second National Congress, namely: "Unionise for Educational Reconstruction and Development". An important aspect of the political programme was the commitment 'to the end of Apartheid in education and the development of an education system which is just and the expression of the will of the people' (SADTU, 1993: 21). This expression of political intent has underpinned SADTU's political alliances since its birth, particularly with the tripartite alliance of the ANC, COSATU and SACP.

SADTU�s second programme was its commitment to unionism wherein it stressed the importance of campaigning for better salaries and the job security of teachers.

Thirdly, the Union identified the importance of developing its professional programme, especially with regard to education policy; and

Fourthly, it committed to a programme of building a strong organization with effective structures. (Govender, 2009)

These programmes are today driven through the Five Pillars of our 2030 Vision.

We have achieved Unity of our Union through campaigns and programmes. We didn`t allow the exaggerated unity which is meant to stifle debates or the unity for verbal consumption. Ours is unity of purpose. It is informed by internal debates, self-criticism and analysis of the objective realities of our members. We didn`t allow a moment to isolate ourselves from the struggles of the teachers, education workers and our communities. We stood against populism, demagoguery, regressive tendencies and workerism. These are some of challenges we will be facing as we ponder our future.

The attack on collective bargaining is not a South African problem alone but a global phenomenon. Attack on consultations by the ministry for the past five must end now. The running of our education system through gazette before meaningful consultations must be fought with everything we have.

The other battle that must be won is ANA. The DA, the ally of the Ministry and the DBE want a system that produces uncritical human robots as hewers of wood and drawers of water, anything that assist them to achieve this they will support, we can't fold our hands while this is happening. Their interest like President Mandela said is about the interest of the class they represent, in this case the private service providers` (R300m). We can make reference to a press statement on the 15th of October 2014 where the DA categorically states that it supports the position of SADTU in terms of ANA. It should be concerning even to the ANC itself that from agreeing with SADTU, the DA now opportunistically bashes the Union and this they do just before the local government elections so as to create an impression of a "crisis in education" and essentially drive a wedge between the ANC and workers being teachers in this case.

Against this background, we still received a letter from the DA's Annete Lovemore in which they are informing us that they have agreed with the Minister on a number of issues that are of a collective bargaining nature in which teachers themselves will be subjected to write the same ANA the learners are writing. What an insult to the teachers of our country. The level of disrespect to the teachers has reached the highest levels of arrogance. What is worrying is that the DBE seems to be consulting the DA more than the Unions in this country.

We are concerned about the Union bashing as indicated by the remarks emanating from the CEM, this is precisely the same attitude that is characteristic of the DA, an attitude that has now being adopted by the CEM. The CEM has vowed to deal with SADTU instead of issues SADTU is raising just like the DA.

World Teachers` Day

'Empowering teachers, building sustainable societies' is the World Teachers' Day slogan for 2015
This year's World Teachers' Day (WTD) celebrations on October 5 highlight the importance of empowering teachers as a critical step towards quality education and sustainable societies.

WTD acknowledge that teachers are not only instrumental in implementing education goals, they are the key to sustainability and national capacity in achieving learning and creating societies based on knowledge, values and ethics.

World Teachers` Day, held annually on October 5 since 1994, commemorates teachers' organizations worldwide. Its aim is to mobilize support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.

According to UNESCO, World Teachers` Day represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development.

The Global Thematic Consultation on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda states the essentials for supporting teachers' effectiveness: (1) good conditions of employment, including appropriate contracts and salaries, and prospects for career progression and promotion; (2) good conditions in the work environment, based on creating school contexts that are conducive to teaching; (3) high-quality pre-and in-service training for teachers, based on respect for human rights and the principles of inclusive education; and (4) effective management, including teacher recruitment and deployment.

The international community and governments need to stand united to support teachers and quality learning worldwide, but especially in those countries where the highest number of out-of-school children exists.

We celebrate you the teachers of our country, you the Spring who nurtures new green sprouts, You who spent your time encouraging and leading these new sprouts whenever and wherever they have doubts about their future.

You the providers of the sunny temperament that makes studying a real pleasure, we celebrate You the preventers of discontent, You the nation builders using well thought methods crisp and clear, we honor You for your bright colorful lessons that give hope to the despaired, we thank You for your efforts in making happy environments for the young and old. We are inspired by you the teachers who keep us warm, comfortable and dignified. We say thank you for your passion and compassion, For your vision and selflessness.

Whilst we celebrate you the champions of People`s Education for People`s Power, we acknowledge that there are still many challenges in education.

This year the UN has adopted Goal 4 for education on the 26 September with ambitious targets to address these challenges.

The world leaders have committed to "ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems".

I thank you