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ecard17 October 2014 – The 20th anniversary of World Teachers' Day on 5 October marked the start of worldwide teacher celebrations throughout the month. This year's theme is "Invest in the future, invest in teachers". In South Africa, Minister Angie Mothshekga stated a clear correlation between teacher performance and school performance and that teacher developments will be a key component for the Department over the next five years.


An investment for the future of countries

World Teachers' Day commemorates the adoption of the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the status of teachers in 1966. This recommendation is morally binding for all countries.

Teachers are an investment for the future of countries. What today's children will face in adult life cannot be predicted and so the teachers of today and tomorrow need the skills, knowledge and support that will enable them to meet the diverse learning needs of every girl and boy.

In many countries, the quality of education is undermined by a deficit of teachers. 1.4 million teachers are missing in classrooms – and they are needed to achieve universal primary education (UPE) by 2015, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

Added to the challenge of numbers is one of quality: all too often, teachers work without resources or proper training. The stakes are high, because we face today a global learning crisis, with 250 million children not acquiring basic skills of reading and writing

As countries accelerate towards 2015 and the new development agenda is shaped, it is essential that teachers remain a priority.

The Global Thematic Consultation on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda states the essentials for supporting teachers' effectiveness:

  • good conditions of employment, including appropriate contracts and salaries, and prospects for career progression and promotion;
  • good conditions in the work environment, based on creating school contexts that are conducive to teaching;
  • high-quality pre-and in-service training for teachers, based on respect for human rights and the principles of inclusive education; and
  • effective management, including teacher recruitment and deployment.

The international community and governments need to stand united to support teachers and quality learning worldwide, but especially in those countries where the highest number of out-of-school children exists.

This World Teachers' Day UNESCO and its partners invite all to help spread the message that investing in teachers is key. After all, an education system is only as good as its teachers.

On you can find more information about the day as well as an overview of teacher celebrations that will be taking place worldwide throughout October.



Sort out teachers, sort out 70% of problems in education?

integrated-strategic-planning-framework-for-teacher-education-and-development-in-south-africa-1-638At her keynote address at the South African Principals Association (SAPA) conference taking place in Polokwane, Minster of Basic Education Mrs Angie Motshekga stated a clear correlation between teacher performance and school performance.

"Whenever I go to schools that perform well and ask principals what it is that they do to make their schools work, time and again they tell me the same thing: they have a group of dedicated, committed and caring teachers."

According to Motshekga the opposite was also true, more often than not, bad schools were a direct result of bad teachers.

"Where things don't work, teachers are not doing their jobs right. They don't complete the curriculum, they jump topics, they are not in class and they often don't understand the content of what they teach."

If we could sort out our teachers, more than 70% of our problems would be sorted out, she said, adding that also the Department had not covered itself in glory by not providing infrastructure, poor management practices and general.


Major focus area
In an effort to solve some of the many problems in the system, Motshekga said teacher development would be a key component of the next five years.

"Teacher development is one of the major focus areas in this current term of office. This will include various policy reviews including conditions of service, teacher recruitment, deployment, utilisation and development, including their general professional development," she said.

As a start, the department had undertaken a major teacher profiling campaign.

"To succeed in the area of teacher development, we had to determine the quality and quantity of existing skills in our sector, hence we are rolling out the process of teacher profiling.
"This is important in order to ensure that we have the correct teacher teaching the correct subject in the correct grade."

The lack of teacher profiling had resulted in the wrong deployment of teachers, the upshot being qualified teachers teaching subjects they had no clue about, she said.

"I am happy to report that we now have 131 fully functioning teacher training centres. We firmly hold the view that the classroom is a centre piece of learning and teaching. And, at the core of this learning and teaching is a competent and confident teacher." She also indicated to be pleased with the teacher training institutes establised by the unions. 

"Teachers are the backbone of any functional education system. It is within this context that we decided that the best way to deliver quality education was to continuously upgrade the content knowledge of our teachers," she said.

In addition to the institutes, Motshekga said the department had established subject committees and professional learning communities. These, she said, would contribute to curriculum development and the effective implementation thereof.

"Curriculum coverage remains the core business of everything we do in education and therefore it is vitally important that we are all working together on the same page to deliver a quality curriculum both effectively as well as efficiently." 

It was for this reason that the department has established norms and standards, and business processes and plans for grade-specific curriculum management and support.

Schools, Motshekga said, were the most important element of the sector. "Schools are our clients and if anything we do, does not impact on schools, it's not worth doing. Our success will depend on how well we run our schools."

Source: City Press