As we acknowledge World Teachers Day tomorrow, 5 October 2018, the ACDP has huge respect and appreciation for educators and commends teachers in South Africa and around the globe for choosing this challenging career.
The dedication and hard work it takes - to provide willing, and less enthusiastic students, with an education that will enable them to create and benefit from opportunities in life, to prosper and provide for loved ones and participate meaningfully in our shared future - does not go unnoticed.
World Teachers’ Day 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that recognises education as a key fundamental right and has ensured that inclusive and equitable access for all children is a global priority.
South Africa has approximately 410 000 teachers in the public education system placed at 25 000 schools across all nine provinces that are responsible for educating 12.9 million learners.
Statistics on teacher supply and retention in South Africa show that despite the huge challenges teachers face people are still choosing teaching as a career and many teachers are remaining committed to the task of helping prepare future leaders and nation builders to succeed in life.
Attrition due to teachers leaving the system completely is relatively low and the supply of newly qualified teachers almost tripled over five years - from 8 000 in 2012 to 23 800 in 2016.
While this is encouraging and the department is positive that the supply of teachers is more than adequate to address current attrition levels there is still a perception that our teachers are leaving the public education system en-mass.
The ACDP urges the department not to over rely on statistics which are never the full story and to seriously and urgently address the challenges teachers are facing with regard to lack of effective discipline and violence in schools - violence by learners against both teachers and other learners. This will take its toll on teachers and impact on future learner teacher enrollment.
The ACDP applauds successful initiatives such as the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme which has ensured an adequate supply of new educators especially in scarce subjects. We also recognise efforts to improve the conditions of service and salaries for educators - something to which the ACDP has continued to draw attention over the years.
ISSUED BY CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
4 October 2018