South Africa: President – Teachers in South Africa are examples of resilience and excellence

President Cyril Ramaphosa affirms that the dedication and commitment of teachers stimulates social development and promotes inclusive economic growth.

“Sometimes working under difficult circumstances, our teachers are examples of resilience, excellence and professionalism,” President Ramaphosa said.

He was addressing the 21st National Teaching Awards (NTA) at the Emperor’s Palace in Kempton Park earlier today.

The president said that even at the height of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, teachers have remained true to their calling, to ensure a collective future.

“We are indebted to the teachers who made our children’s education possible through blended learning and other strategies.

“It is with deep sadness that we remember and pay tribute to all the teachers and other education officials who have succumbed to COVID-19,” President Ramaphosa said.

He said it was necessary to continue to take necessary precautions and adhere to all health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

“I want to encourage more teachers and education officials to heed the best scientific advice available and to get vaccinated against this deadly pandemic.

“Vaccination is not just about protecting your own health and life; it is also about protecting others and ensuring that we can soon resume many of the activities that have been restricted over the past 18 months.”

President Ramaphosa said that in honor of deceased teachers, the government must ensure the safety of teachers and learners and ensure that the teaching and learning environment remains conducive.

The 21st edition of the National Teaching Awards was conceptualized during the tenure of the late Professor Kader Asmal as Minister of Education.

“For him, education was a revolutionary enterprise, the most powerful force in our struggle to end poverty and misery, and the foundation upon which all human endeavor rests.

“His memory obliges us to celebrate the excellence and the dedication of these teachers who spare absolutely nothing of themselves in the project of building a new society in search of a better life for all”, declared the President Ramaphosa.

The president said that teachers bear a great responsibility in a changing world.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is radically changing the way we relate to each other, live, work and educate our children. Technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, augmented reality, blockchain, and automation are disrupting industries across the globe.

“For our children to evolve in a world alongside intelligent machines, they will need to be educated differently than in the past.

“We believe our teachers are committed to managing this transition, and we all have a responsibility to ensure they have the skills and resources to prepare learners for an exciting new future,” said the president.

As a nation, the most pressing challenge is youth unemployment.

“Some of the young job seekers are not well educated and do not have sufficient professional skills and experience demanded by employers in the labor market.

“This places a great responsibility on teachers and education officials, and indeed on all of us to ensure that our schools, colleges, universities and other training institutions produce the skills and capacities that our country needs.” , said President Ramaphosa.

The National Teaching Awards are held annually by the Department of Basic Education to recognize and celebrate outstanding educators who, often under difficult circumstances, remain committed to their noble profession and produce extraordinary results.

The 21st edition of the awards was compared to global teacher reward strategies such as the African Union Teachers Award, Commonwealth Education Awards and the Global Teachers Award. This benchmarking improved the reach and audience of the awards structure and ceremony.

About Shirley L. Kreger

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