400 teachers go back to school

Rethabile Mateka

Rethabile Mateka

Four hundred teachers attended a two-day colloquium at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, aimed at refining their teaching skills.

The colloquium was spearheaded by Canada's deputy minister of education in partnership with the Gauteng education department and Matthew Goniwe School of Leadership (MGSLG) - named after Goniwe who obtained his teaching degree while imprisoned in Mthatha, Eastern Cape.

Goniwe, who later became principal at the Sam Xhalli Junior Secondary School, was known as a disciplinarian who strove to remove absenteeism in schools and also encouraged teachers to stand up for what was right by instilling good values in their pupils.

MGSLG executive director Zanele Mbeje said the delegates from Canada were helping realise the potential that South Africa has.

She said they were willing to learn from Canada, which had more resources than South Africa, and to use their strategies on education development to their benefit.

Mbeje said the education policies, such as the outcomes-based system, were very good and that "all that is left for them to do is to synchronise them".

One of the speakers, CEO of Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat in Canada Dr Avis Glaze, advised teachers not only to contribute in making smart pupils but also to build their characters as human beings.

She said teachers have a responsibility to change pupils' behaviours "because they spend most of their time at school".

"Most people are fired from their jobs because they are dishonest or misbehave, showing that their characters are not developed," Glaze said.

The colloquium discussions included overcoming and sustaining literacy and numeracy challenges with pupils, how school leaders can become catalysts in improving curriculum delivery, and how to maximise parental involvement in education.