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Date: 24 Feb 2012
Title: Teachers awarded for their outstanding work
By Clement Moaga
Johannesburg - Dubbed as agents of change and nurturers, teachers were recognised for their outstanding work, dedication and commitment at the 12th Annual National Teaching Awards on Thursday evening.
The event took place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
Addressing guests from all provinces, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that the teachers were being honoured for discharging their duties with excellence and as servants of the people.
"Notwithstanding challenges in education, we are enthralled by exceptional prowess of teachers precisely because teachers are a vital cog in the wheel of transformation," the minister said.
Achievers were selected from 365 447 educators across the country in eight categories, including Excellence in Primary School Teaching, Excellence in Primary School Leadership, Excellence in Secondary School Teaching, Excellence in Secondary School Leadership, Excellence in Grade R Teaching, Excellence in Special Needs Teaching, Excellence in Adult Basic Education and Training, and the Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given to educators with 30 years of unbroken service.
Two accolades were added to the event this year, namely the People's Choice Award given to teachers who have inspired learners to achieve excellence in the classroom and served as role-models for learners and communities, and the Kader Asmal Excellence Award - a special ministerial award named after the former Minister of Education, the late Professor Kader Asmal.
Nkhange Ellias Nemudzivhade, who scooped the Kader Asmal Award, said it was the team work between stakeholders, parents, learners and teachers that was behind his success.
"Each one knows what is expected of them - teachers, learners and parents - with that, nothing is impossible," said Nemudzivhade, who is the principal at Thengwe High school in Limpopo.
Nemudzivhade has been the principal at the school since 1986. The school has been producing a matric pass rate of above 98% for the past five years. It has 287 learners and 64 teachers.
He urged other educators to also "walk that extra mile".
Francois Naude, from Gauteng, who clinched the Excellence in Secondary School Teaching Award, said the year 2011 had been challenging for various reasons, but with the support of his principal, colleagues and learners, he managed to exceed all expectations.
"With a team like that you can fight a war," said the Grade 8 teachers, who is actually a qualified zoologist but opted for a profession in teaching as he found it more fulfilling.
Shehnaz Essop Saloojee from the North West took home the Excellence in Primary School Teaching Award. "The hard work, dedication and commitment have paid off," said Saloojee, who has been a teacher for 26 years.
The Grade 6 and 8 English teacher at Zinniavile Secondary School in the North West added that with the introduction of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), the country was "moving towards a better system and greater future for our leaders of tomorrow".
She said she was prepared for all the challenges with CAPS.
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Mmipe George Mokgehle of Toronto Primary School in Mankweng, Limpopo.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe called teaching a labour of love and a calling to which an individual responds with deep conviction, motivated by the inner desire to contribute to the betterment of the human condition.
"Society as a whole owes much to the teaching profession. Since time immemorial, societies have looked to teachers as socialising agents that imbue the next generation with norms and values [upon] which the future depends. Educators are the legitimate custodians of the cultural elements that define society, shaping the contours of its future.
"Through this noble profession, humanity is socialised into critical and consistent thinking in keeping with the first principles underpinning a social system," said Motlanthe at the event.
He said the nation would be lost without the supplementary parental role teachers play to acculturate children so that they become better human beings armed with an abiding understanding of society and nature.
"As we celebrate and recognise the contribution of tonight's nominees, we hope that their good example will serve to encourage others to continue to give their best to nurture learners into future leaders.
"We believe that every teacher shoulders the aspirations of our nation and that they have it in them to bring the yearnings and dreams of our nation into fruition," he said.
Motshekga agreed, saying that the infinite riches represented by these industrious award recipients offered an idea of where South Africa's education is and where is seeks to go.
She said they had understood the essence of the President's call for more focus on the Triple T - teachers, textbooks and time.
The National Teaching Awards honour excellence in primary school teaching, secondary school teaching, primary school leadership, secondary school leadership, Grade R teaching, special needs teaching and Adult Basic Education and Training.
Now in its 13th year, the awards provide the perfect opportunity for the whole of South Africa to publicly thank and celebrate these heroes and heroines whose work contributes to the development of all other professions. - BuaNews