President Cyril Ramaphosa has hailed teachers for making it possible for education to continue during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic through blended learning and other strategies.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the 21st edition of the National Teaching Awards at Emperor’s Palace on 6 October, and he said that teachers carry a great responsibility in a changing world.

TEACHERS ARE EXAMPLES OF RESILIENCE

“Working at times under difficult circumstances, our teachers are examples of resilience, excellence and professionalism. Even at the height of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, teachers have remained true to their calling, to secure our collective future.,” said Ramaphosa.

He said that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is dramatically changing the way we relate to one another, live, work and educate our children.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, augmented reality, block chain and automation are disrupting every industry across the world.

READ: Understanding the teaching crisis facing South Africa

CHANGING ENVIRONMENT REQUIRES NEW STRATEGIES

“For our children to operate in a world alongside smart machines, they will need to be educated differently than in the past.  We believe that our teachers are committed to manage this transition, and we all have a responsibility to ensure that they have the capabilities and the resources to prepare leaners for an exciting new future,” he said.

Ramaphosa said as a nation, our most pressing challenge right now is youth unemployment.

Since some of the young work-seekers are not well educated and do not possess sufficient skills and previous work experience demanded by employers in the labour market, that places a great responsibility on teachers and education officials.

“To ensure that our schools, colleges, universities and other training institutions are producing the skills and capabilities that our country needs, we look to teachers to pursue Education for Sustainable Development so that learners are empowered with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to take informed decisions in advancing environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society,” said Ramaphosa.

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