College of Education

Unisa hosts World Teachers' Day celebration

World Teachers' Day (WTD) is dedicated annually on 5 October to honour and celebrate the work of teachers internationally. In collaboration with the Unisa Gauteng Region, Unisa's College of Education organised a  celebration to acknowledge and appreciate the critical role of educators in shaping the world's future.


Prof Thenjiwe Meyiwa

Prof Thenjiwe Meyiwa, Vice-Principal for Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialisation, opened and welcomed the celebrations. She said: "The influence of teachers extends beyond the classroom. Teachers play a fundamental role in shaping lives. Teachers' profound impact on their students' lives is immeasurable and lasting."

Prof Mpine Makoe, Executive Dean of the College of Education (CEDU), took the audience of education stakeholders through a journey of "150 years of shaping teachers," detailing the educative role of Unisa as a Comprehensive Open Distance and eLearning (CODeL) institution.  Moreover, as a pioneer in open distance education, Unisa continuously adapts its teaching methods to meet the evolving demands of the digital age while ensuring quality instruction.

CEDU is responsible for the initial professional education and training of almost 50% of all teachers in South Africa and was established as a response mechanism to address the needs of learners, schools, communities, and national and provincial education departments for well-qualified and excellent teachers.

Established in 1994, WTD observes the signing of recommendations by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 2023 World Teachers' Day celebrations focus on "The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage". The Unisa event comprised three panels that focused on various themes of utmost importance to the teaching profession, featuring renowned teaching and learning experts who shared their insights and experiences with the audience. These discussions served as valuable platforms for educators to exchange ideas and gain inspiration from one another.

Beyond the digitised trained teacher

Lindiwe Vundla

In today's rapidly evolving world, the role of teachers extends beyond imparting knowledge. The theme aimed to highlight the need for educators to keep up with technological advancements and integrate digital resources effectively into their teaching practices. By harnessing digital tools, teachers can enhance student engagement, facilitate personalised learning experiences and prepare students for the requirements of the digital age.

The discussion at the event emphasised the importance of providing professional development opportunities for teachers to enhance their digital literacy skills. Equipping educators with the necessary competencies will enable teachers to leverage technology as a powerful educational tool, ultimately improving student learning outcomes.

The South African teachers' code of professional ethics

The World Teachers' Day celebration also focused on the South African teachers' code of professional ethics. This theme highlighted the significance of a solid ethical framework for teachers to maintain professional standards and ensure the welfare of both students and educators.

Ella Mokgalane, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the South African Council of Educators (SACE), stressed the importance of integrity, professionalism and respect within the teaching profession. By adhering to the code of ethics, teachers can establish and maintain positive relationships with students, parents, colleagues and the broader community. A robust ethical foundation also helps address discrimination, harassment and fair assessment practices.

World Teachers' Day attendees

Strengthening student support services

Recognising the diverse needs and challenges students face, the celebration addressed this topic to emphasise the essential role of teachers in providing holistic support to students, encompassing their academic, emotional and social well-being.

Efforts were made to raise awareness about creating inclusive and supportive learning environments. Teachers were encouraged to develop strategies and practices to identify and address the individual needs of their students. Teachers can foster a nurturing environment that promotes student success by offering differentiated instruction, mentoring, guidance and counselling services.

Recognition and awards

In a moment of pride and gratitude, awards were presented to deserving individuals who have shown exceptional commitment and excellence in their respective roles.

The outstanding educators were recognised for their exceptional pedagogical skills, dedication to student learning, and ability to create inclusive and engaging learning environments. These educators have gone above and beyond to foster a love for learning, inspire students and make a lasting impact on their lives.

In addition, the administrative staff were also acknowledged for their invaluable contributions. The event highlighted the crucial role played by administrators in supporting academic endeavours and ensuring a conducive learning environment.


* By Dineo Horner, Acting Marketing and Communications Specialist, College of Education

Publish date: 2023/11/02

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