South Africa: MEC Reginah Mhaule On World Teachers’ Day 2016

The 05th of October is a special day for teachers all over the world and I also want to take the queue to congratulate and express our gratitude to all our teachers who are the embodiment and models of moral excellence, custodians of developmental knowledge, culture, value systems and norms. So this day is an important day in the calendar in the education sector throughout the world and is second to none.

Teachers are tasked with the responsibility to empower, mediate knowledge and socialise learners into fully-fledged, accountable and responsible citizens.

This is a nation building at its core and we must acknowledge that at times it happens under demanding and pressing circumstances and thus we are grateful to our teachers.

The Mpumalanga Province has a total number of 32405 teachers. This year’s teacher-pupil ratio is 1:30.2 which makes the most favourable for learning and teaching environment.

There are 632 teachers who left their respectful countries to support our developmental agenda. We are grateful to them as well. Siyabonga Kakhulu .

Accordingly, 144 teachers who were in one or two teacher schools (multi-grade schools) have been relocated to the five boarding schools.

Galilo Galilei once said: “People who want to go further in their lives, they stride on the shoulders of the giants “Therefore teachers are our giants with broad shoulders hence they are able to carry the full responsibility of rendering the service to the nation from the cradle to the grave.

The department is committed to enhance the condition of service for all by improving the teaching and learning environment, labour relations and Human Resource Development of all teachers.

Therefore the province has 2565 teachers who employed and are trained by Free State University and North West University on 14 different specialisations respectively.

Equally there are 923 undergraduate students to be potential teachers who are fully funded by the Department and ETDP- SETA in this financial year in 18 higher education institutions (Universities) in the country. These are foundation phase, agricultural sciences, mathematics and science, economics and management sciences, human and social sciences in African languages student teachers.

The 2016 World Teachers’ Day is held under the theme: “Valuing Teachers, Improving their Status” and reflects on the need to support teachers as reflected in the Global Education 2030 Agenda specific education goal, SDG4, founded in 2015 which pledges to; “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

The need for cutting edge skills for educators cannot be underestimated and thus the development of skills in the teaching space is fundamental to the right to education hence our support through our teacher development initiatives seek to highlight this end.

The Mpumalanga Department of Education strongly holds the view that no nation can be developed and sustained without the fundamental service of providing quality education which primarily is offered by teachers.

It is also in the same vein that we acknowledge the fact that the development of teachers equates to the development of the whole nation and its future.

The department’s drive to capacitate teachers and subject advisors on subject content through Higher Education Institutions on formal qualification is on course and is yielding the desired results.

As teachers, you are not only pivotal to the right to education, but are paramount to achieving the targets set out in SDG4. To achieve the development goals of our nation and country pertaining universal primary and lower secondary school, it is paramount that we also have a steady and sufficient supply of well qualified and motivated teachers who value their work.

It is thus a disturbing trend that the department notes the high rate of resignations of teachers from the system and thus I am again making a humble plea to our teachers to stay until their retirements are due and I request teacher unions, the church and civil society to join us in making this appeal.

An old wise saying states that; “Ignorance is not a sin; so long as someone is willing to learn, someone ought to be willing to teach”. As such a vibrant teaching profession is one in which teachers take responsibility for their own professional development with support from government.

Enjoy your special day.

Happy Teachers’ Day.

Source: South African Government