The 2020 World Teachers` Day has become a turning point for the Basic Education Sector in re-imagining the future, according to Ms Veronica Hofmeester, the Director for Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD). She encouraged education stakeholders to embrace the Teacher Appreciation Support Programme (TASP) as a critical initiative to empower teachers to continue serving the nation with pride. “South African teachers need to be complimented for having continued quality education, despite having to face challenges posed by Covid-19. You remain our true heroes and heroines, confronting your own fears and anxieties for the sake of building our nation. You are valuable beyond measure and we thank you for the sacrifices you continue to make in educating our children, sometimes in difficult conditions,” said Ms Hofmeester.
According to Ms Ella Mokgalane, Chief Executive Officer for the South African Council for Educators (SACE), Covid-19 transformed the education system and affected many educators professionally and emotionally. She stated that as the Basic Education Sector is re-imagining the future, questions that should be asked as a point of departure are: are we prepared for a possible second wave of the pandemic?; and how do we collectively ensure that our educators are supported on a psychological level?
“In our quest to empower teachers, we should continually develop our educators to ensure they become more resilient, adaptable and creative within the teaching profession. As we draw lessons from the Covid-19 crisis, it is important for the profession to conduct research to evaluate best practice, and develop evidence-based solutions for the future. This should be complemented by Practitioner-Based Research that is pivotal in informing theory from practice, as well as current and future planning and public policy making decisions. We must collectively acknowledge the contributions made by our teachers for having rose above the challenge. To our school and office-based educators, SACE owes a debt of gratitude for showing leadership, professional responsibility, care and altruistic motivation. Through your leadership and foresight, we can indeed attest that, educators build the nation, enabling teaching and learning,” Ms Mokgalane concluded.