PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa says government was working tirelessly to resolve infrastructure problems at South African schools such as sanitation, water, electricity, proper and safe classrooms, as well as access to adequate learning materials.
Ramaphosa was speaking at the 30th anniversary of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union on Tuesday night.
“These great challenges, which we are determined to resolve, continue to be a stain on our collective conscience. SADTU has been very vocal about the urgent need to resolve them, and we thank you for that, and the role the organization can play in doing so,” said Ramaphosa.
“This is consistent with your role as our partner in transforming our education system and eradicating the inequalities that exist within it. I also urge you to lend your full support to another challenge that threatens to reverse the gains of our hard won democracy, and that is the scourge of corruption.”
He added that government was committed to the safety of all educators and learners, as well as of all the support staff.
He urged SADTU to work together with government to rid schools of violence that threatens the safety, not only of learners, but also of teachers.
“Many of them have been subjected to violence, learners have also been subjected to violence and we must work together to eradicate violence in our schools,” said Ramaphosa.
“Schools are meant to be places where young people learn, happy places, places where they must go in with a smile and leave with a smile that is underpinned by knowledge.”
Ramaphosa also paid tribute to the country’s teachers for the role they played during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying they were true nation-builders.
“Your dedication to the success of our children and the future of our country has been proven time and again, but more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the sake our children and their academic progress, you braved the dangers and risks posed by COVID-19 and returned to the classroom when asked to do so,” said Ramaphosa.
“I appreciate that some may have been understandably and justifiably reluctant to return. Nonetheless you did so, because your passion for education triumphed over fear and anxiety. We remember and pay tribute to those teachers who have succumbed to the virus and those who are still not well. I also wish those who are currently infected a speedy recovery so they are able to return to work to do what they love most, namely teaching our children and nurturing them to be future builders of our country.”
(COMPILED BY INSIDE EDUCATION STAFF)