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Monday, November 29, 2021

World Teachers Day| SADTU Calls For More Investment In The Well-being Of Teachers, And Honors Educators Who Died OF COVID-19

THE South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has paid tribute to over 1 650 teachers who lost their lives due to COVID-19 pandemic, the teachers’ union said in a statement to celebrate the international World Teachers’ Day.

World Teacher’s Day was launched in 1996 with the motive of promoting help towards teachers and creating awareness about the importance of teachers to meet the needs of future generations. The day is celebrated today in about 100 nations around the globe.

“We are celebrating World Teachers’ Day, for the second time in a row, under a dark cloud of the devastating COVID 19 pandemic that caused untold disruptions to schooling, economy and life in general. In the first year of the pandemic alone, 1 650 teachers lost their lives and dozens more continue to die,” said Sadtu General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke.

“The theme for this year’s celebration, “Teachers at the heart of education recovery” places a heavy load on the shoulders of teachers who are still grappling with the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic.”

Maluleke said the teachers’ union was celebrating the teachers for the role they have played in ensuring that education continues under these trying times.

“They have had to adapt to new ways of teaching using online platforms to reach their learners; they have had to be counsellors to their learners who have lost their parents and teachers; they have had to be safety officers to ensure their schools comply with the health and safety guidelines in order to save their lives as well as those of learners; they have had to sacrifice their precious time with families teaching during weekends and holidays to make up for the lost time,” said Maluleke.

“They are indeed at the heart of education recovery.”

The teachers’ union said for this year’s theme (Teachers at the heart of education recovery) to become a reality, SADTU is calling for increased investment in the well-being, training, professional development and working conditions of teachers to recover the learning losses and to adapt to new ways of teaching and learning that have to contend with the pandemic.

“We need education for our economy to recover. For South Africa to be more productive, we need more educated workers, government has to invest in human resource development and teachers are crucial in producing that educated and skilled workforce,” said Maluleke.

“We celebrate this day under a heavy cloud of austerity measures that have threatened the stability of the education system until the union challenged the government in particular in the KwaZulu Natal (KZN). The union made sure that no educator or education personnel would lose their jobs in KZN.”

He added: “As we celebrate this teachers’ day, SADTU is fully aware of the task at hand to ensure that the gains we have made to safeguard the Status of Teachers as per the 1966 Recommendation are adhered to. We are therefore going to heed the call by our union federation, COSATU to take part in marches across the country on 7 October to make our voice heard against the austerity measures, rising unemployment, safety in workplaces, gender-based violence and many other ills affecting workers.”

“The country needs more teachers, more resources, more training and better working conditions for teachers. Quality education for all is the only sustainable way of recovery where the teachers are at the centre. We therefore demand that education be classified as an emergency in order to release the required financial relief required for an inclusive and sustainable recovery.”

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has also applauded and thanked teachers for their resilience, courage and dedication to their work, even under difficult circumstances brought about mainly by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The past year has been an extremely difficult time for our teachers, hence I take this opportunity to thank all of you, our teachers, for your resilience, courage and dedication to your work under very difficult circumstances brought about mainly by COVID-19,” Motshekga said.

Motshekga said she is proud to be part of the movement to appreciate the role of every teacher across all corners of the country.

“Dear teachers, we acknowledge you on this special day that is World Teachers’ Day. Despite all the daily challenges you are faced with, you have kept going, you have become our hope to produce and harness future leaders, you are mothers of all professions, from whose hands every country is built,” she said. 

The LEGO Foundation said the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the education of 90% of children around the world, and teachers have been on the frontlines to face the major challenges throughout it all.

 To mark the day, the LEGO Foundation was expected to officially launch a new whitepaper that will unpick the innovative methods used by teachers to provide education to children who struggle to access learning.

Specifically focusing on refugee and host communities in East Africa, the whitepaper highlights the central role of teachers and examines the opportunities for integrating play-based learning into teacher professional development approaches.

Commenting on World Teacher’s Day, Sarah Bouchie, Chief Impact Officer at the LEGO Foundation, said:

“The pandemic has brought teachers to the forefront more than ever before, and we should celebrate their heroic efforts to ensure quality education for every child. At the LEGO Foundation, it is our belief that learning through play allows children to reach their full potential. Thanks to teachers, children, including those from vulnerable communities, have been able to continue their learning. If the last 18+ months has shown us anything, it is that we must learn to live with uncertainty and practice the art of the quick pivot. Teachers know this perhaps better than anyone. Together, we can meet SDG4 through a movement of people who are committed to be all in for all kids.”

  • Inside Education
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