By Minister Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Minister of Education:
Today, I join my colleagues in the WCED in celebrating our teachers and the wonderful work that many of them do.
World Teachers Day represents a significant effort to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development across the world.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) selected 5th October to celebrate the achievements of teachers and to highlight teachers’ concerns and priorities regarding education. “Empowering teachers, building sustainable societies” is the World Teachers’ Day slogan for 2015.
The WCED is pleased to mark this day as we celebrate the important contribution that teachers are making in providing quality education in the province.
It goes without saying that teachers are the WCED’s most important resource and that we have to do everything possible to support our GOOD teachers as we strive to improve access to quality education.
The role of a teacher in a child’s life cannot be overemphasized. Teachers have learners in their care for hours every day. What they do, what they say and how they conduct themselves influences those children. That is a lot of power that they have in their hands.
Being a teacher requires much more than just delivering a quality curriculum for our learners. Many of our teachers have to face on-going challenges such as poverty, gang violence, abuse and crime. Often our teachers are not recognised for the important roles they play in our schools and the lives of our children.
I must say that we are very fortunate in the Western Cape to have many educators who continue to go selflessly beyond the call of duty to ensure that their learners receive the best quality education.
The WCED puts great emphasis on acknowledging excellence and recognizing teachers that inspire and motivate our children every day. We will celebrate excellence when we present the provincial Teacher of the Year Awards on 6th November 2015.
Education is fundamental in any society, and whether our learners receive a good education or a bad education can determine the rest of their lives.
As the Provincial Minister of Education, I am so proud of our teachers and am deeply appreciative of the service that they render, and for the dedication and commitment that they have given to teaching and changing the lives of our learners.
The power is in their hands to improve our education outcomes and better the lives of our learners and communities in the Western Cape.
“Teachers who inspire realise there will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how we use them.”
I hope they will always continue to have the passion, commitment and resilience that is required of a teacher and that together we can make a huge impact on our province and our country. Use the rocks as stepping stones and remember the infinite value that you can add to the lives of our children.