Basic Education Minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga, paid tribute to exceptional teachers during a World Teachers’ Day (WTD) Seminar at the DBE in Pretoria on 9 October 2019. “Today is a special occasion to celebrate the teaching profession, to take stock of our achievements, and to address some of the issues central for attracting and retaining the brightest minds and young talents in the profession,” said Minister Motshekga.
In her opening address, Ms Simoné Geyer, Chief Director for Education HR Resources Management, indicated that young teachers must be drawn into the profession as the Sector required innovative and brainy minds with progressive ideas.
“Since its inception in 2007, Government has awarded R8.36 billion to student teachers through the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme. The DBE is currently conducting an analysis of teacher supply, demand and utilisation in the sector as a response to emerging areas of specialisation occasioned by amongst others, the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Mr Gerrit Coetzee, Acting Chief Director for Education Human Resources Development at the DBE.
In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Month during October, eighteen teachers (two from each province), and previous winners of the National Teaching Awards (NTAs) were invited to attend the Seminar under the theme, “Young Teachers: The future of the Profession.” Sharing their uplifting stories during a panel discussion, Ms Wendy Horn, a 2018 Global Teacher Prize (GTP) finalist, said that she can attest to the value of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). “Teaching should be like travelling in the Starship Enterprise as teachers should boldly go where no man (woman) has gone before,” she quoted from the Star Trek movie. Mr Linford Moloadi, another NTA finalist, explained that, “creative, novel minds will add value to the learning and teaching experience during the digital transformation during the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
The Seminar forms part of the Teacher Appreciation and Support Programme (TASP), which is led by the DBE and the South African Council for Educators (SACE). TASP is supported by the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC), the ETDP-SETA, Teacher Unions and School Governing Body Associations. The aim of the TASP is to appreciate and support teachers under the motto: “Teachers: the Heartbeat of the Nation”. These organisations also shared inspirational messages in support of Teacher Appreciation Month.
The organisations that have been nominated for the UNESCO-Hamdan Prize shared short presentations on their teacher development strategies and projects: these are the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB); the British Council; and the Sasol Foundation.