The Hotel Osner in East London was packed with educators, government officials and representatives of the private sector last Thursday all dressed to the nines to celebrate the annual Eastern Cape Teachers Awards (ECTA).
According to keynote speaker and department of education (DoE) deputy director general of planning in the Eastern Cape Penny Vinjevold, the awards ceremony gives the department the opportunity to celebrate teachers and their achievements.
Vinjevold called on teachers to become “ambassadors” to help promote the good work the DoE is doing.
“Makhaya Ntini is an ambassador for cricket and we have wonderful ambassadors for rugby, for the arts, for music and of course, Miss and Mr South Africa,” she said.
“I know some of you will be a bit cynical about all this because the recent relationship between teachers, educators and the DoE has not always been warm. So if I ask you to become our ambassadors, you’ll say ‘Well you’ll need to do a better job if I’m going to become an ambassador for you’.”
However, Vinjevold said that the ECDoE has done a lot of good recently that elevate it above other provinces.
“On October 15, all teachers have received laptops. That has not happened in any other province,” she said.
“It is clear that the Eastern Cape teachers have a head start [on the 4IR] because they all have computers.”
The department’s implementation of post provisioning norms (PPN) has also helped schools in the province in budgeting effectively.
PPN involves letting schools know before the upcoming academic year how many teachers they will have, allowing them to plan their finances accordingly.
Vinjevold also acknowledged the department’s failure to post enough level one bulletins “because we still have too many teachers in excess”. However, she said the department is working to fix the situation.
“We also have to make sure that we give all our young graduates coming out of our universities.
“By the end of this year, if things go well, we will have appointed over 2,500 new teachers, thousands of deputy principals and HoDs.”
Vinjevold also promised that all schools will have their textbooks delivered by the end of November. She also pointed out how the department is working to improve the rate of reading among pupils.
“We’ve produced readers and fact-books, 16 to 20 stories in each of them, that every child will get so we can establish a culture that is largely missing in the Eastern Cape, that of households reading together,” said Vinjevold.
Finally, she said that the department is working hard to deliver desks and chairs to schools.
“By the end of this year, we will have delivered over 2,500 desks and chairs to schools. We’ve still got 40,000 to go. We’re racing to get those delivered on time,” Vinjevold said.
Vinjevold said that while teachers should act as ambassadors for education, they shouldn’t just be praise-singers for the department.
“Ambassadors should never be uncritical. If something is going wrong, if there’s something we’re not doing right, please tell us,” she said.
Ten teachers from BCM walked away with awards by the end of the ceremony. They were, in no particular order:
- Boniswa Dayile (Khalethu Special School) – Excellence in Special Needs Teaching, second place
- Maryke Reed (Stirling High School) – Excellence in Technology Enhanced Teaching and Learning, second place
- Vuyiswa Mbuthuma (Zanokukhanya Primary School) – Lifetime Achievement Award for 30 unbroken years in education, cluster award
- Nozihle Mbokomba (Dumisa Primary School) – Excellence in Teaching Natural Sciences GET, second place
- Luvuyo Mngqibisa (Zanokukhanya Primary School) – Excellence in Teaching Mathematics GET, second place
- Liesle Colin (Southernwood Primary School) – Excellence in Grade R Education, second place
- Zoleka Bandla (Parkland Special School) – Excellence in Primary School Teaching, cluster award
- Unati Dlulane (Vulamazibuko High School) – Excellence in Secondary School Teaching, second place
- Michelle Rothmann (Southernwood Primary School) – Excellence in Primary School Leadership, second place
- Victor Pakade (Ebenezer Majombozi High School) – Excellence in Secondary School Leadership, cluster award
- Ian Galbraith (Lilyfontein School) – Kader Asmal Achievement Award