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20150831 104133-212 October 2015 - Recognising both the extremely important part that teachers play in our society and the challenges that the teachers face on a daily basis, the Department of Basic Education has launched the Teachers Appreciation and Support Programme (TASP) with the theme Teachers: the Heartbeat of the Nation.

This year long programme moves beyond the one day festivities of World Teachers’ Day and calls on all levels of the education system and the social partners to organise interventions and activities to recognise and support teachers in all areas that affect them as people and professionals.


From a day to a year of teachers’ appreciation

World Teachers’ Day (WTD) is an annual event which is commemorated worldwide on 05 October. In 1994, UNESCO and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) declared the 5th of October as WTD to commemorate the signing of the UNESCO/ILO recommendation of the Status of Teaching Profession in 1966.

From 1999, the World Teachers’ Day has been commemorated in South Africa in all provinces on a rotational basis, with the last provincial celebration hosted by the Western Cape Education Department in 2012.

For 2015 going forward, a decision has been taken that the interpretation of the concept recognition of teachers should be wider and should not be limited to the “feel good activities” like the observance of one day on 5 October but be holistic, year long and include areas that affect teachers as people and professionals.

The Minister of Basic Education has therefore launched a teacher appreciation and support programme with the theme “Teachers: the Heartbeat of the Nation.” In collaboration with social partners like the South African Council for Educators (SACE), the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT),  the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) and ETDP SETA.

The envisaged outcomes of this year-long programme are:

  • Improved teachers’ morale which will lead to greater commitment to the school’s overall healthy environment;
  • Attract qualified teachers and to positively affect productivity and efficiency;
  • Reduce teachers’ absenteeism related to such health issues as stress, obesity, and cardiovascular disease; and
  • Have a positive effect on teamwork, morale, and teacher effectiveness.


The importance and challenges of the heartbeat of our nation

Change the GameTeachers are an extremely important part of any society for many reasons. Teachers educate the youth of society; the youth in turn become the citizens, parents, and leaders of the next generation. Teachers teach children and pass on knowledge, skills, values and attitudes in their most impressionable years; what children learn from their teachers at a young age will most likely stay with them in some way for the rest of their lives.

A teacher who can get a learner at a young age to realise the value in learning and a solid education is doing a great service not only to that child, but also to society in general. The more the children want to learn and the smarter that they are, the better a society will be able to develop.

Teachers make up the largest and most important profession; it is through the daily work of the best schools and teachers that over years contributes to the best achievements in society. It is for these reasons that we can say teachers are the heartbeat of our nation and must be recognised as such.

Teaching is a worthy profession but teachers in this country are also faced with numerous challenges which lead to people leaving the profession. These challenges include stress and subsequent health problems, financial challenges and unsafe school environments without the School Management Teams (SMTs) supporting the teachers when they are subjected to on and offline abuse and attacks.


Proposed activities

The Teacher Support and Appreciation Programme (TASP) aims to contribute towards boosting teachers’ morale and focus on their emotional, physical and financial wellness. All levels of the education system and the social partners will be involved in organizing activities.

The Minster has formally launched TASP in a Teachers’ Indaba in Pretorio on 31 August in collaboration with the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) and the South African Council for Educators (SACE). They invited the provincial departments of education, the teacher unions, the education deans’ forum and the social partners to air their views on how they can contribute to hosting and supporting the teachers. On 31 October the Minister will host a World Teachers’ Day Gala Dinner which is organised by SACE.

DBE, PDEs and other government departments could organise seminars, training and other activities for teachers to assist with improving their financial and physical and psychological wellness.

School Management Teams (SMTs) are advised to create a culture of caring in schools that empowers teachers and encourages them to experiment and fail without fear of negative recourse. SMTs should be clear in their communication and acknowledge work well done.

At district and school level learners can be involved to organise activities to appreciate their teachers. This could range from hosting a special assembly where SGBs, members of the community pay tribute to the teachers to encouraging learners to create poster boards or write poems or essays for the school magazine celebrating their teachers.

The above is an excerpt from the DBE Teacher Appreciation and Support Programme (TASP document. To download the full document please click here (PDF, 190KB).


Teacher Appreciation on the Digital Classroom

heart-rate-ekg-ecg-heart-beatIn our Teacher Appreciation and Support Programme section on the Digital Classroom we will host:

  • An interview series in which successful people look back on their own path in education and the role teachers played for them.
  • Reports of the activities happening throughout the year.
  • Competitions for teachers and learners.


You are very welcome to contribute to this section by sending in photo’s, reports and suggestions about how teachers are appreciated and supported. Please send your input to



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