Western Cape teacher wins top national award for primary school teaching | Western Cape Government


Western Cape teacher wins top national award for primary school teaching

27 March 2017

We are very fortunate in the Western Cape to have many educators who continue to go selflessly beyond the call of duty to ensure that their learners receive the best quality education. 


It therefore gives me great pleasure to congratulate Ms Smit, Ms Campbell and Mr Linz for their excellent achievement at the National Teachers Awards held this past weekend.


Marika Smit of Bottelary Primary School, Kraaifontein, won South Africa’s top award for Excellence in Primary School Teaching at the National Teaching Awards announced at a gala event at the Gallagher Estate, Gauteng, on Saturday, 25 March 2017.


Cecelia Campbell of Erika Primary School, Mossel Bay, took third place nationally for Excellence in Technology-Enhanced Teaching.


Leon Linz, Deputy Principal of Good Hope Seminary High School, took third place in the Kader Asmal Award category, for teachers who have demonstrated the key values represented by Asmal’s leadership.


The WCED entered the winners of the Western Cape Teaching Awards announced in November last year.


The WCED has adopted The Year of the Teacher as a key theme in 2017. We are using this time to acknowledge and celebrate our excellent teachers.


The national awards have provided us with another opportunity to celebrate our teachers and we look forward to many more opportunities for doing so.


Asked to comment, Smit paid tribute to the other candidates for the award, and said they all deserved to win.


“It’s also great because I can be an example for my kids in this way. I always tell them to think of the future and reach for their dreams. Through this, maybe I can inspire them to overcome their circumstances” she said.


Smit has been teaching for four years, three of them at Bottelary Primary.


She decided to become a teacher who treats learners with barriers to learning with patience and dignity, after observing her sister’s struggles with barriers to learning.


Her lessons are always learner-centred and effective. She stimulates critical thinking and ensures that every learner participates because she is determined that each and every child must learn to succeed.


She designs her own learning material and creates a colourful and friendly environment in her class so that learners can feel free and comfortable.


She teaches concepts through movement, rhymes and songs to enforce diverse learning intelligence.


She maintains extensive records, plans her lessons thoroughly and assesses diligently. She encourages learners to take responsibility for their own learning. Results show excellent progress.


The school serves poor rural communities facing hardships that include poverty, domestic violence, crime, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and illiteracy.


Smit responds to every child’s needs and tries to remedy social challenges creatively, including puppet shows during Life Orientation lessons.


She deals with key social issues, and teaches learners how to treat each other with respect and with a good understanding of diversity.


She often visits parents at their homes to remind them of their duty to ensure that their children are attending school on a daily basis. She communicates digitally with parents and encourages them to visit and attend parents’ meetings.


She believes that there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child develop holistically into a functional South African citizen, despite social challenges.


Meanwhile, Ms Campbell has embraced the use of technology to improve the language and mathematics skills of her learners.


Campbell is an eLearning Master Trainer for the WCED, and has trained teachers on the effective use of key eLearning systems. She is also an accredited SchoolNet trainer and IT facilitator.


She works closely with eLearning advisors in the Eden Karoo Education District and provides computer application support to schools in her area.


Mr Linz was nominated for the Kader Asmal Award because he demonstrates the key values that Asmal represented.


These include being an educational activist who leads by example, having a feel for social justice, and being a teacher who displays intellectual tenacity and rigour.


Every child deserves a teacher who will not give up on them, will see their potential, and will encourage them to be the very best that they can be.  I am so pleased to see that our excellent teachers are being acknowledged for their hard work and commitment to education.

Media Enquiries: 


Jessica Shelver

Spokesperson for the Minister of Education, Debbie Schäfer

Tel: 076 175 0663


Millicent Merton

Western Cape Education Department

Tel: 082 324 1284