Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has encouraged teachers to make winning a habit not just for one’s individual satisfaction, but for the pursuance of excellence in teaching.
Motshekga was addressing the 21st National Teaching Awards (NTA) at Emperor’s Palace in Kempton Park on Wednesday.
The annual awards are hosted by the Department of Basic Education to recognise and celebrate outstanding educators who, often under challenging circumstances, remain committed to their noble craft and produce extraordinary outcomes.
Motshekga has applauded all teachers in the public sector and beyond for making the task of raising conscientious children possible.
“Your relentless commitment to the national cause of educating the young ones gives all of us strength and, of course, pride. I hope this glitzy NTA affair of today will spur more excellence in the sector, especially in the foundation phase teaching of literacy and numeracy,” the Minister said.
Motshekga said teaching has to be done right to avoid a generational catastrophe of adults without a future.
She said a review by the World Bank (2012) showed that teacher effectiveness is one of the most critical school-based predictors of student learning.
“Interestingly, research confirms that experience is irreplaceable. Several years of teaching by outstanding teachers can offset the learning deficits of disadvantaged students.
“A range of studies exploring what makes school systems effective has looked for common characteristics in the top-performing education systems. All found that the key is well trained and motivated teachers,” Motshekga said.
The Minister said the key strategies that researchers have identified for improving student outcomes centre on developing a quality teacher workforce.
“As a sector, through various initiatives, including the much-vaunted Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme and our world-class research intensive universities, we do offer the best in initial teacher training. There are also many opportunities to further university studies while in employment, and I am happy to say our teachers are truly lifelong learners,” she said.
Mosthekga said during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers have shown sustained resilience.
The Minister saluted and praised teachers for always going beyond the call of duty to succeed amidst social ills and socio-economic challenges.
“Most teachers tell me that they play the role of caregiver, mother, father, counsellor, friend and godparent on any typical day to many of our learners from troubled homes and communities. Your toils in the service of our nation cannot go unnoticed,” Motshekga said.
Source: South African Government News Agency