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National Teaching Awards


The Department of Basic Education wishes to salute all schools and teachers who have entered the National Teaching Awards (NTA). The NTA Scheme was conceptualised and launched in 2000 and now enters its twenty second year of implementation. Through extensive consultation, the scheme has been refined, sharpened, as well as broadened in terms of its frame and categories. 


The NTA scheme is one of the ways in which the Department of Basic Education (DBE) acknowledges the extraordinary efforts made by excellent teachers, often in very difficult conditions. Such teachers provide for better futures for learners, because the lack of quality education is a major factor behind many social, political, economic and health challenges faced by the world today; as well as contributing to poverty, prejudice and conflict. 


The concept of appreciating and recognising teachers has gained world-wide prominence and as a result South African teachers are encouraged to participate and shine on the global stage. 


Some of the awards that are open to the teachers are:

  • The African Union (AU) Teachers’ Award;
  • The Global Teacher Prize (GTP) of the Varkey Foundation; and
  • The Commonwealth Education Award.

To mark the twenty-first (21st) Anniversary of the National Teaching Awards, the DBE added three new categories which have been integrated into the 22nd NTA. The additional categories introduced include the National Best Teacher Award, the SHERO Award and the National Learner Award.



The objectives of the Ministry of Basic Education through the National Teaching Awards are to:


  • To focus public attention on the positive aspects of Basic Education, thereby raising the public image of the teaching profession;
  • Recognising and promoting excellence in teaching performance;
  • Honouring dedicated creative and effective teachers and schools;
  • Encouraging best practice in schools;
  • Improving the wellbeing of learners; highlight the initiatives that remove barriers and build resilience especially for the disadvantaged groups (Commonwealth Teachers Award);
  • Creating an environment that will encourage and sustain investments in education and learning (Commonwealth Teachers Award);
  • Working towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4) (Commonwealth Teachers Award);
  • Helping learners to achieve their long term career goals by organising engagement with relevant agencies and information; (African Union Teachers’ Award);
  • Providing the South African teachers with an opportunity to compete with the best teachers in Africa and globally through the African Union (AU) Teachers’ Award, the
  • Commonwealth Teachers’ Award, and the Global Teacher Prize (GTP); and
  • Affording South Africans, the opportunity to publicly say thank you to all outstanding teams or individual teachers in schools.


The reimagined NTA fourteen (14) categories. The list of categories is as follows:

  1. National Best Teacher Award: This award will honour the best teachers/principal who will represent South Africa in the Global Teacher Award. The teacher will embody the skills which focuses more on transforming the lives of learners and the community. Those skills will include the introduction of digital learning tools, ensuring that all children have access to quality education, and initiated environmental and other projects.
  2. S/Hero Awards: The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has been touched by the selfless acts of in teaching during the pandemic including the integration of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) skills: Despite all the unprecedented challenges, there have been outstanding teachers and principals who compromised their health and assisted learners who could not access virtual learning.
  3. National Learner Award: The award will be a sister award to the National Teacher Award as it intends to celebrate and compliment a full-time learner (GET /FET) who is involved in a community development project.
  4. Kader Asmal Lifetime Achievement Award: Seeks to recognise any person involved in the education sector or involved in education who, in their work, demonstrate the key values that were a hallmark of Prof Asmal ‘s leadership
  5. Excellence in Grade R Teaching
  6. Excellence in Primary School Teaching
  7. Excellence in Primary School Leadership
  8. Excellence in Secondary School Teaching
  9. Excellence in Secondary School Leadership
  10. Excellence in Special Needs Teaching
  11. Excellence in Special Needs Leadership - (NEW)
  12. Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (GET)
  13. Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (FET)
  14. Excellence in Teaching Natural Sciences
  15. Excellence in Teaching Physical Sciences
  16. Excellence in Technology – Enhanced, Teaching and Learning


The nomination/selection process

The nomination process of teachers starts at schools where the schools’ nomination teams select teachers for the various categories. The names of the selected teachers are forwarded to the districts that select district winners, through a process of adjudication.

The final phase is the selection of national winners by a national adjudication panel. After the national winners are selected, a national ceremony which is hosted by the Minister of Basic Education and addressed by the President of the Republic of South Africa where the national winners are announced.


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