Education MEC Address to the National Teaching Awards - Provincial Awards
Members of the Teaching Profession and the WCED
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure to be here today celebrating excellence in teaching.
Each and every one of the 44 educators that we are honouring here tonight has demonstrated commitment and dedication to the teaching profession. And we are delighted to publicly thank the outstanding teams or individual teachers in our schools.
In preparing for this ceremony, I was afforded the opportunity to reminisce about my old school days and the teachers that made a difference in my life.
It didn't take long before a slew of memories came flooding back and it made me realise just how one never forgets their excellent teachers and the impact they made on our lives.
This was made all too apparent at a funeral service I attended just last week.
Former principal of Camps Bay High School, John Ince, passed away at the age of 74. At his funeral service it became glaringly evident how much this man was admired, respected and loved by hundreds of learners and fellow educators who came to know him over the years. The doors were overflowing with past-pupils; teachers and parents all determined to pay their respects to a man that touched and changed all of their lives.
A Greek poet, Niko Kazantzakis, once wrote - "True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own."
Every day, thousands of excellent teachers go selflessly beyond the call of duty to ensure that their learners receive the best quality tuition they deserve, preparing them for their departure into the outside world.
They influence our thoughts, our outlook on life, they inspire us, and they encourage us to be the best we can be, and for that they are in turn loved and revered by the learners that pass through their classroom door each year.
As Mike Wills quite rightly points out in a column this week, teaching brings rewards way beyond things like monetary gains - the fact that one can change so many lives is the kind of compensation that very few outside their profession will ever receive.
So sitting before me tonight, I have 44 of our province's top teachers who are too respected and admired both within their school and in their communities.
For your contribution towards excellence in our schools I would like to say thank you.
We recognise your outstanding commitment to your learners and we are proud of your achievements.
The challenge of this Government is now to create an environment where you can flourish even further, to get more educators in the Western Cape to emulate the outstanding service you provide each day to your learners, and in turn, treat all educators in this province like the valued professionals that you are.
We have made significant progress in this regard. For example, we have improved the service delivery of our organisation so that it is more caring and responsive to your needs. However, we remain conscious that we have a lot more work to do, and my commitment here tonight, on behalf of all of us in the Western Cape Government and the WCED, is to keep working hard until we achieve success.
Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Tel: 021 467 2377
Cell: 072 724 1422