World Teachers' Day 2017 - let's celebrate our teachers!
Dr Forest E Witcraft, said that: "A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank ... but the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child."
Today I join my colleagues in the WCED in celebrating our teachers who make a difference every day in the life of a child.
The WCED is pleased to mark this day, as we celebrate the important contribution that teachers make in providing quality education in the province.
World Teachers Day represents a significant effort to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development across the world.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) selected 5th October to celebrate the achievements of teachers and to highlight teachers' concerns and priorities regarding education.
The vision of the WCED is to ensure quality education for every child in every classroom, in every school.
We depend absolutely on teachers to make this possible. For this reason, we are committed to acknowledging our teachers who do so much to motivate and inspire our learners.
We have adopted The Year of the Teacher as a theme this year to reflect his commitment.
Our Head of Department, Mr Brian Schreuder proposed 2017 as the Year of the Teacher in order to emphasise the importance of values in education, and the central role that teachers play in teaching and demonstrating these values in the classroom.
As a Government, we have identified six core values that drive our approach to public service. These are: caring, competence, accountability, integrity, innovation and responsiveness.
So many people in the WCED are already demonstrating these values in countless ways.
We will also be using the Year of the Teacher to encourage school communities to identify excellent teachers and principals who are outstanding examples and make a massive difference in our schools and communities.
We will celebrate these role models when we present the Western Cape Teacher of the Year Awards in November, and we will also acknowledge the thousands of excellent teachers who are giving their all, often in difficult circumstances.
I am confident that The Year of the Teacher will contribute to a greater understanding of the role of and appreciation for the teacher by all concerned.
Education is fundamental in any society. As the Provincial Minister of Education, I am deeply appreciative of the service that you render, and for your dedication and commitment to changing the lives of our learners.
Achievement is often anonymous. Some of the greatest things on earth have been done or achieved by people who you have never heard of, quietly dedicating their lives to improving those of others. Our teachers are some of those people, and 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.
The role of a teacher in a child's life cannot be overemphasised. Teachers have learners in their care for hours every day. What they do, what they say and how they conduct themselves influences those children.
I hope they will always continue to have the passion, commitment and resilience that is required of a teacher. Together we can make a huge impact on our province and our country. Our teachers are, after all, the reason why ordinary learners dream to do extraordinary things.
To all our teachers - Happy World Teacher's Day - thank you for what you do.
The power is in your hands to improve our education outcomes and better the lives of our learners and communities in the Western Cape.