Speech delivered by the General Secretary of SADTU on the WTD hosted by the ELRC, Durban

5 October 2013

Programme Director, Chairperson of the ELRC, Deputy Minister of Basis Education, MEC for Social Development� in KZN, Vice President Of Education International Madam Irene, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Basic Education, leaders of trade Union Parties both National and the Province and DOE, the General Secretary of ELRC, Representative of SACE, ETDP SETA, UMALUSI, all teachers present here, the Staff of ELRC, all protocols observed.
We bring you revolutionary greetings from the 260,000 thousands members of our Union across the country.

We are truly humbled by your presence in this celebration hosted by the ELRC in our beautiful province of KZN under the UNESCO slogan " A call for teachers". We feel honored and privileged indeed to stand before you today as the teachers of our country. It is a great honour for us a a union to be amongst you, the nation builders of our society. We are truly inspired by your courage, motivation, dedication, passion, compassion, commitment and above all your daily sacrifices in building a prosperous nation. You continue to inspire our young people who come to you for knowledge, attitude and skills . You are an inspiration to the young and old who without you might have lost hope because of the grinding poverty they face on a daily basis. You are the hope of our people because your motive is to create a learning nation.

We thank you for your work and the vision you are driving to build self standing human beings. We celebrate you today because you are teacher; you are teachers, social workers, nurses, doctors and everything to our children in your care.

We thank you today for your courage in the face of attacks by those who lack the appreciation of the unbearable conditions you sometimes find yourselves. We thank you, our teachers for fighting better conditions because your fight is driven by your deep love for your people. We thank you for being the voice of the voiceless as members of the trade union movement. We celebrate you, our teachers because your profession is the mother of all professions. We celebrate you for fighting against casualisation of the ECD educators because you are the ones who know that education is a liberation tool. We honour you for standing up against de-Professionalisation� of our noble profession.

As we call for teachers, we remind ourselves that The locus of our political programme is still the abolishment of class, race and patriachical relations of power as interrelated antagonistic social contradiction. This abolishment is further informed by our resolve to underwrite any policy that strives to realise;

  • a united state based on the will of all the people, without regard race, sex, belief, language, ethnicity or geographic location;
  • a dignified and improving quality of life among all the people by providing equal rights and opportunities to all citizens;
  • and the restoration of the birthright of all South Africans regarding access to land and other resources.
  • a society based on the best in human civilisation in terms of political and human freedoms, socio- economic rights, value systems and identity.

As we call for teachers we assert that Life is about growth, and to grow we need a guide, a mentor, a Teacher. A teacher is a guide who has been down the path before us. Man has been on this planet for a vey long time and each generation has been a teacher to the next generation. Imagine if each generation could not teach and communicate its learning to the following generation. It is the relationship of Teacher and Student which enabled early Man to take the twig and create the flute and then the wheel. Man has learned well to teach and to learn and thus to constantly build on the knowledge which our teachers have tough us.

A call for teachers acknowledges the critical role of teachers and education in the development of the society.

This international slogan implores on all teachers to appreciate that the Shifting tasks confronting the NDR will continue to redefine our professional role In the South African political landscape,

It calls on the teachers to confront The unequal structure of society as a product of apartheid colonialism in our teaching.

It is indeed a call for teachers to remain agents for change as we reassert Our uncompromising focus on using education as liberation of the mind tool.

It is call to deepen Our pro-poor transformation trajectory we have adopted as a country.

It is indeed a call for teachers in response to The catastrophic social engineering consequences as a result of a curriculum transformation that is Bantu Education system-decorated.

It is a call that recommit ourselves as teachers to Our mission to create an education system that consolidate a developmental state agenda.

This commitment is necessary because the knowledge consumerist culture of our society has led to a growing dependency on policies that are developed outside South Africa and yet expected to thrive in our country. Whilst some of the policies find theoretical resonance with teachers, it is the practical implications of these policies to learners and parent environment that make them suspect in terms of achieving set outputs. Thats why the critical need to create a policy analysis and making capacity within and for our ranks in the ensuing period.

This call therefore makes the following demands:

  • Commitment by the government to improve the salaries of teachers
  • A commitment by government to invest in the recruitment of high calibre students as candidates for teaching
  • A commitment by government to embark on an intensive continuous teacher professional development
  • A commitment by all of us to create safe and conducive learning and teaching environments
  • A commitment by government and business to invest in the provision of the necessary financial resources to improve schools infrastructure
  • A commitment by government to include teachers in the development of the curriculum
  • A commitment by government to improve the working conditions for teachers through collective bargaining .
  • A commitment to deal decisively with ill disciplin e in schools
  • Finally a commitment by all of us as teachers in particular to teach the skills to our learners to KNOW, to DO and to LIVE TOGETHER.

We thank the ELRC EXCO for the decision to involve the teachers in the celebrations this day is about you. We thank the general secretary and the staff, unions and the provincial department in ensuring that the event is a successful one.