Rhodes University Dean of Education, Professor Di Wilmot, gave the Matthew Goniwe Memorial Lecture at the Eastern Cape Department of Education’s World Teachers’ Day Celebrations held at the International Convention Centre in East London on 4 October. The title of the lecture; “The World has moved, have our teachers moved?”, was linked to the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Professor Wilmot started the lecture by paying tribute to Matthew Goniwe, a great Mathematics and Science teacher whose life was taken prematurely before asking: “What would Matthew Goniwe say if he was present here today?”
“Would he be proud of what teachers are doing and achieving?”, she asked the audience to reflect on the type of society we have become – a society in which teachers and learners are no longer safe, where gender-based violence is pervasive, teacher unions often aggressive and disruptive and in which corruption is rife.
The memorial lecture was framed around key questions including: Why must our teachers move? What’s enabling and what’s constraining them from moving? Have our teachers moved far enough, and are our teachers moving fast enough? The lecture generated a lot of questions and comments from the audience of some 400 teachers, principals, and departmental officials.
A robust panel discussion followed after the lecture with representatives from the three main teacher unions and Professor Wilmot engaging on the issues that had been raised in the lecture.
World Teachers’ Day is celebrated globally on 5 October. The Eastern Cape Department of Education held a World Teachers’ Day Celebration this year at the International Convention Center over two days, 4-5 October.
The Daily Dispatch reported that; “The event saw 44 awards given to deserving schools, principals and teachers for their role in improving the standard of education in the province. The province achieved a 70.6% pass rate – a 5.6 percentage point (or 8.5%) increase from 2017, the largest improvement in the country”.