Development vision impossible without the backing of teachers: Public Protector
Development and the realisation of the country’s National Development Plan (NDP), the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and other sustainable development goals will be impossible to achieve if teachers did not reclaim their role as nation builders, Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela said at the weekend.
She was addressing the National Professional Teachers Association of South Africa (Naptosa) Breakfast meeting in Durban on the issues of morality and how teachers should reclaim their moral compass.
The Public Protector said the nation builders’ responsibility carried by the teaching profession emphasised the teachers’ importance in the society and the role they had to play in ensuring that these visions became a reality.
“Anything we dream of,” the Public Protector said, “will not be achieved unless it is backed by teachers.”
She praised men and women who everyday go beyond the call of duty to ensure that they delivered a constitutionally provided right to education to every learner-referring to them as the light the world needed to move forward.
Adv. Madonsela said there were many successful stories in society that emerged from encounters with great teachers and that deserved to be praised as multiplying such would benefit many others in the county.
She told teachers from across the KwaZulu-Natal province, who packed Coastland’s hotel conference room that out of their hands and those of their colleagues elsewhere, came nurses, scientists, engineers, lawyers, astronomers, architects, journalists and others.
The Public Protector referred to the discovery of the human species named Homo Naledi at the Cradle of Humankind caves near Mogale City in Gauteng, as work that had been moulded by the teaching profession.
She encouraged those who were doing ‘right things’ to reign in their colleagues whose conduct was not in line with Section 195 of the Constitutions which demands the promotion of high ethical standard in all public servants.
Adv. Madonsela said the recent statistics which revealed that in 2013 the number of school girls that fell pregnant rose to an alarming figure of 99 000, were seriously concerning as some of the pregnancies were a result of inappropriate teacher-pupil sexual relations.
This, the Public Protector said called on teachers to be extra-cautions and protective when dealing with learners when moulding them as they were the destiny of their communities and broader society.
The Public Protector warned teachers of predatory tendencies towards learners and seeing them as potential partners saying this in most cases had devastating effects in the lives of the learners involved.
She emphasised as ‘important than ever’ the role of teachers as character shapers as many parents for various reasons were unable to spend adequate time with their children to transfer values and the faith community was not able to reaching all corners.
Asked about what she thought were the problems facing the teaching profession, Adv. Madonsela said unfair recruitment processes, ghost workers, lack of development and tools to do the job, were some of the problems her office picked up during investigations.
She said to prevent the recurrence of these there was a need for an increased transparency and accountability in the appointment processes of teachers. The Public Protector said she would consider writing to the Minister of Education about the possibility of an establishment of an Education ombudsman to help deal with problems faced by teachers.
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Ms Kgalalelo Masibi
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