/ MEDIA STATEMENT / The content on this page is not written by Polity.org.za, but is supplied by third parties. This content does not constitute news reporting by Polity.org.za.
In all societies, teachers have played and continue to play a crucial role in the mental and emotional development of the child. To a large extent, the teacher’s contribution in that role shapes a child’s life chances in the form of a solid foundation. Such a solid foundation is required beyond various labour markets that the child might choose as a future worker: industrial, academic, sport and cultural.
In South Africa and across the world, the Covid-19 pandemic has over the past 18 months or so made it very difficult for teachers to play these noble roles. School closures had a very real impact on all students, but especially on the most vulnerable ones who faced additional barriers and risked falling further behind in terms of educational outcomes. UNESCO’s theme for this year’s World Teachers' Day is, ‘Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future', captures and acknowledges the vital role that the teachers play in society in a profound way. Many teachers and learners have lost the battle to COVID-19, that has also taken a heavy emotional toll on teachers and learners alike.
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) salutes every teacher in South Africa, on the continent and globally for their unselfish contribution in continuing the teaching learning process, amidst facing fear and anxiety during the heart of COVID 19 crisis and now as the catchup and restoration continues. The least that the government as the majority employer of teachers can do is to acknowledge these psychological scars and help. Preaching austerity and withholding teachers’ salary increases under these difficult working conditions as the government did in 2020, was indefensible and unjustifiable.
FEDUSA therefore demands that Government places teachers at the forefront of recovery in the education system. The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) can only yield results if investment in teachers are prioritised, to reignite the love for learning in our future generation. The longer learners remain out of school, the less likely they are to return. FEDUSA believes with full conviction that our teachers remain the game changers we need to realise a recovery that is built on inclusivity and equity that will avert a future generation of leaders who are incapable of competing in a global space dominated by artificial intelligence, innovation and technology.
The road to success is always under construction ; Let us not contribute towards deconstructing the future of our children, but instead co – creating the solution. Invest in our teachers, invest in our future.
Issued by FEDUSA