THE National Teachers’ Union (Natu) celebrated its 99th anniversary and 17 consecutive years of its incumbent at the union’s helm on Friday, August 4, at the Caluza Indoor Sports Centre.
At the celebrations, the union appointed a founding director for its teacher development institution which, as stated by the newly appointed director, is a “groundbreaking” initiative by a teachers’ union on the African continent.
Professor Sitwala Imenda, who was named the founding director of the Natu Teacher Development Institution, spoke about the organisation.
He called on members to play an active role in the functioning of the institution by identifying pressing issues in terms of teacher development and sharing these with the institution.
Imenda said so far the institution had received 1000 recommendations on teacher development from different regions.
He said once members have shared what they consider to be priority issues on teacher development, the institution would then formulate programmes specific to those submissions; and tailored for each region and the unique issues the regions would have brought to the fore.
“We are calling on you to assist us in shaping this institution,” he said.
The professor said he had noted it is only in the United States that unions focus on members’ development.
“There is also a need for unions to empower their teachers.
“This is new ground we are chartering and at the end we would have paved the way for others to follow,” Imenda said.
He added that building a union and sustaining its vision for as long as Natu has as well as the fact that the union’s current president has managed to swell Natu’s numbers during his presidency are feats worth celebrating.
Speakers touched on various issues pertaining to the union and its members, which include salary increase negotiations for 2018.
“Our members have spoken to the president and they said they want double digits on the table,” said the union vice-president, R.N. Ngcobo.