The Northern Cape Department of Education hosted its 21st Provincial Teaching Awards.
THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Education hosted its 21st Provincial Teaching Awards on Tuesday night at the Protea Hotel in Kimberley, where Premier Zamani Saul delivered the keynote address.
The best performing teachers were awarded in 13 different categories at the ceremony.
All the provincial winners received an honorary blazer, trophy, laptop, data projector, printer and a voucher.
The MEC’s Special Award was scooped by James Mapanka.
Mapanka received this award in recognition of his dedication and commitment to preserving the rich heritage and culture in the Province.
According to a press statement, it is through his service to the department that the introduction of the Nama language was realised in two Northern Cape schools in 2018.
During his opening remarks, the MEC for Education, Zolile Monakali, indicated that the awards are aimed at attracting a new group of young, motivated and appropriately trained teachers to the profession.
Monakali said teachers have been expected to adjust to new teaching methods due to the Covid-19 pandemic and many have excelled in their work during the current difficult conditions.
“Educators present here today have mastered such art. Your achievement shows that despite the ‘times of challenges and controversy’ we face in our education system, our schools continue to have a cadre of torch-bearers, tirelessly working hard to deliver quality teaching.
“Better education is sorely needed by the young and this beautiful country of ours that is in dire need of development,” said Monakali.
During his keynote address, Saul emphasised that education contributes to the well-being of each citizen and the overall development of the country.
“It is not only a medium to improve productivity and growth of the economy but is also an effective tool to enlarge and raise participation in democracy and the transformation of society.
“Thus, the role of education is very important in every nation and teachers take a leading role to nurse the process of cognitive human growth and development through quality teaching from a very fundamental, up to an advanced stage,” said the premier.
He also highlighted how Covid-19 has negatively affected the lives of learners, teachers and support staff at schools.
Saul said the virus has compromised teaching and learning, where a significant drop in the number of school days was experienced due to the periodic closure and opening of schools.
According to the premier, 50 people perished due to Covid-19 in the education sector, of which 43 of those are educators.
“In some instances, teachers had to retire and in some instances resigned due to the increased workload brought by the pressures of work hours in order to complete the curriculum as part of the recovery plan,” said Saul.
“More than 395 schools were affected, with more than 3,600 educators, learners, non-teaching staff and screeners being infected with Covid-19.
“It is encouraging though to report that we have seen a total of 88.3% recovery rate.
“This is regrettably significant in our Province given our demographics.”
He expressed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families for their loss.
Saul further highlighted that the schools are currently confronted by many challenges like teenage pregnancy, teacher/learner sexual affairs, corporal punishment in isolated schools, learners attacking teachers, alcohol and substance abuse, gangsterism and vandalism at schools.
He said millions of rand had to be spent on renovating the schools that were vandalised during the hard lockdown.
“Despite these challenges our teachers were expected to rise to the occasion and teach our learners the values of respect,” he said.
He applauded those teachers and support staff who opted to get themselves vaccinated in an effort to normalise teaching and learning in the Province.
“Vaccination remains our most effective weapon in the fight against Covid-19. It reduces the risk of severe disease, hospitalisation, and death.”
The premier also discouraged those who decided not to take the vaccination from spreading false information and fake news.
“While it remains your right to refuse to be vaccinated on whichever grounds you deem relevant, please do not discourage others.
“I encourage you to first verify facts before forming an opinion and before spreading it as a gospel truth.”
He further urged teachers to encourage 18-year-old pupils to get vaccinated.
Excellence in Grade R Teaching – Tefo Gaebetse
Excellence in Primary School Leadership – Pule Monnane
Excellence in Mathematics Teaching – Bronwen Muller
Excellence in Primary School Teaching – Olorato Malepe
Excellence in Secondary School Teaching – Jan Botha
Excellence in Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching – Lyndal Miller
Excellence in Secondary School Leadership – Nontsikelelo Ziswana
Lifetime Achievement Award – Lebogang Mei
Excellence in Special Needs Teaching – Elizabeth du Plessis and Ms Janine van Aswegen
Special Award: Kader Asmal Award – Lien Joseph
S/Hero Award- Goitseone Disipi
Best Learner Award – Taslin Marthinus