The best South African teachers, who regard teaching as a calling as well as a life-changing profession, were recognised during the Annual National Teaching Awards (NTAs) held at Gallagher Estate on 07 March 2015.
These are the teachers who never use challenges as excuses; they walk the extra mile in ensuring that every learner and every South African adult receives a quality education.
The Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, Former Minister of Education, Prof Sebusiso Bengu and members of the Portfolio Committee graced the occasion.
In its 15th year, the NTAs are used to recognise and acknowledge the image, values and the role of the teaching profession in transforming the lives of South African citizens to achieve academic success. Established in 2002 under the leadership of the former Minister of Education, Prof Kadar Asmal, the NTAs continue to enhance quality education whilst affording the nation a chance to publicly thank our teachers.
In her address, Basic Education Minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga said it is fitting that the role of teachers at the classroom level is recognised nationally. “We thank you for all your work in education,” Minister Motshekga remarked, adding that teachers are the heartbeat of a functioning schooling system and that they should be supported to carry out their good work.
Minister Motshekga informed those who were present that, in the new financial year, Government will pay more attention to teacher development and recruitment to strengthen the South African schooling system. The Minister highlighted that, in order to improve quality education in the country, classroom practice will also have to be improved. The DBE will work in conjunction with all education stakeholders to develop teachers and also the impact of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) as a key priority. “It is critical to improve the quality and efficiency with regard to e-learning in our schools,” remarked the Minister. The Presidency is leading ICT implementation in the country through its renowned Operation Phakisa programme.
Mr Ramaphosa said that the teaching profession is highly esteemed; adding that the quality of teacher training needs to be improved for teachers to do their work confidently. The Deputy President further added that teachers opened the doors of learning and promoted culture tolerance in schools as per the Freedom Charter.
Mr Ramaphosa mentioned that South Africa needs meaningful cooperation between School Governing Bodies (SGBs) and schools to deliver on quality education. In thanking the sponsors for their support, the Deputy President said that the event would not have been successful if the good relationship between government and the private sector did not exist. In conclusion the Deputy President paid tribute to the teachers, who contributed to his personal success, saying: “Our teachers have made us who we are; it is this reason why we have to honour them. The future of our country is in your capable hands”.