In 1994, UNESCO and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) declared 5 October “World Teachers’ Day” (WTD), to commemorate the signing of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers in 1966.  On 5 October this year, South Africa joined many other countries in celebrating the 20th anniversary of WTD, and we continue throughout the month of October to appreciate our Teachers.

Some teachers across the country will receive either an automated voice message from President Zuma or an SMS from the Minister of Basic Education via their cell phones during the week. For those who may not receive these, the messages are quoted below:

A.    AUTOMATED VOICE MESSAGE from President Zuma
“Good day, this is President Zuma. A warm welcome back to the last term of the year. During the month of October, as we celebrate teachers, I would personally like to thank you for your hard work and dedication, as a valued teacher.
This month we honour you, as we remind ourselves of how important teachers are to our society.
We entrust to you the future of our children, as you form the basis of building a just society, and your input-your experience, knowledge and skills-are vital, if we are to achieve excellence in education, and rescue our children from unemployment and poverty.
Thank you for your tireless work, and let World Teachers Month inspire all of us to continue working together for a brighter future.  Our Teachers, Our Future!”

B.    SMS to teachers from Minister Motshekga
“We celebrate our teachers on World Teachers Day and during the month of October. Thank you for your hard work & dedication.  Our Teachers, Our Future! Min Motshekga”

NAPTOSA, as well as other teacher unions are members of the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), and have welcomed the collaborative strategy point in place to upgrade basic education.  Although celebrating WTD is a welcome acknowledgement by government and the private sector of the importance of our teachers, remembering them on one day a year will not repair an educational system which needs urgent attention. Constant, concrete action is required if the NECT is to achieve its goals, particularly in the area of professionalising teaching.