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Change the world

06/10/2022

Enlightening. Empowering. Transformative. Fulfilling. Humbling. Spiritual. Reviving. These were some of the words used by teachers to describe their profession during an appreciation luncheon hosted by Nelson Mandela University’s Faculty of Education in celebration of World Teachers’ Day on Wednesday (05 October 2022).

The Faculty invited its teaching alumni to honour their contribution to what has been known as the “noble profession” on the day that UNESCO marked to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation for the vital role that teachers play in education and development across the globe.

Representing various schools across the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, the celebrated teachers have been in the profession for period of as little as four months, to about 36 years.

Addressing the Faculty alumni, Executive Dean, Dr Muki Moeng, said the gathering was a gesture to appreciate them as a show of pride, gratitude and respect for them and their contribution to the profession.

“You might be going through something that might be discouraging you at this point. This celebration is to remind you about why you decided to take up this profession,” said Dr Moeng.

“It is to encourage you to pause and reflect on the great things that you have achieved thus far.

“So often, teachers are overlooked, their contribution disregarded and their value undermined. Today, we would like to say thank you for the wonderful work that you are doing. We would like to say thank you for flying our flag high. Thank you for teaching under difficult circumstances. Thank you for being the beacon of hope in our schools and communities.”

World Teachers’ Day was established in 1994 and commemorates the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, aimed at addressing the status and situations of teachers around the world.

The recommendation outlines the standards relating to education staff policy, recruitment and initial training, as well as the continuing education of teachers, their employment and working conditions.

This year’s theme is: the transformation of education begins with teachers.

“During your studies with us, we tried to prepare you with the requisite knowledge, skills, attitude and values. We did our best in preparing you to make a difference in your classrooms, schools and communities by being agents of change, hope and social justice,” said Dr Moeng.

“We were thus deliberate in liberating your agency so that you can become transformative teachers.

“I get very impressed when I hear your colleagues, principals and, more importantly, your learners speak fondly of you and the change you have been in their lives. We are blessed as a faculty as we get to see our investment in you.”

A video shared at the gathering, showcasing the work of the Faculty of Education’s Sodlasonke Project – which is an initiative to support needy education students with food as student hunger remains a great challenge – had some of the alumni emotional as they remembered their student days.

Alumnus Godfrey Bakers recalled how, as a student at the Faculty, they fought for such a system that catered specifically to Education students, many of whom were at the mercy of state bursaries that would often pay out late into the year.

“As a student here, I fought a lot for the Sidlasonke programme, where students could get assistance with food. It is so great to hear the Faculty has finally got its own resource centre to assist with student hunger. I was fortunate enough to be from PE, so could go home to eat, but it was heart-breaking seeing my peers from other towns going hungry. I really applaud the Faculty for this,” said Godfrey.

Alumnus Natalie said: “Something that has always been close to my heart and has been a teaching philosophy in the Faculty, is that acknowledging that people can’t learn on empty stomachs, so we appreciate this resource.”

Another alumnus, Phumeza, who teaches at Paterson High School said she got emotional seeing the project come to fruition and dedicated to the Faculty as she was a beneficiary of it.

“I get emotional with this because not only do I know about this project, but I was a beneficiary of it. I thank Mandela’s Education Faculty for loving me and putting up with me. There was no door that was closed to me, and I will never forget that. This place is home. The environment is just welcoming, warm and loving,” she said.

Guests were entertained by the Faculty of Education Choir, which comprises first and second year students.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777
Zandile.Mbabela@mandela.ac.za