Angie Motshekga praises SA’s beleaguered teachers, promises more resources
Basic education minister says effort is under way to deliver school infrastructure as the world marks World Teachers’ Day on Thursday
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has acknowledged that the education system is experiencing severe challenges including infrastructure backlogs, overcrowding and a shortage of educational resources.
Motshekga reflected on the challenges as she announced on Sunday that the country would be joining other countries in celebrating World Teachers’ Day under the theme “The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage”.
“Under these difficult circumstances, it is our teachers who have made the centre hold. In the midst of a lack of other educational resources, our teachers remain the only available and most critical resource,” she said.
She said the department was working with provincial education departments to intensify the delivery of school infrastructure. Another challenge is overcrowded classrooms.
The department was confident the annual performance plan’s targets would be met and that the budget allocated would be used.
The department had developed detailed tracking tools and monitoring was done daily to ensure that implementing agents delivered as expected, Motshekga said in a statement.
She said the department has provided 2,871 schools with sanitation facilities through the SAFE (Sanitation Appropriate for Education) programme.
“511 schools are at various stages of implementation and DBE [department of basic education] plans to provide these with sanitation facilities by the end of the financial year, that is March 31 2024. We are doing all we can to ensure we provide a conducive environment for teaching and learning in all our schools.”
She said World Teachers’ Day was declared jointly by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to celebrate teachers.
The declaration was meant to ensure nations dedicate their time and resources to acknowledge the work that teachers were doing.
“Government through the department of basic education has adopted a programme on teacher appreciation and support (TASP), which encourages our communities to also acknowledge and celebrate our teachers on an ongoing basis,” she said.
Motshekga called on South Africans to dedicate time on Thursday and during the month to do something special for teachers.
“Let us do a ‘shout-out’ to our teachers, name them and appreciate them, even if they are no longer in the profession. But do acknowledge the role the teacher has played in your life.”
The department will on Thursday host the National Teaching Awards at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria. The awards will honour teachers who have demonstrated exceptional performance and commitment in different areas of their work.
She said more than 723,000 candidates from the Class of 2023 were registered to write the National Senior Certificate examinations at 6,800 centres.
“The examination will start on October 30 and conclude on December 5. Once again we urge parents, guardians and caregivers and the community as a whole to support our grade 12 learners.”
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