NATU’s Mission Statement says: Teach the children of the nation like never before and bring joy to the classroom.
This Mission Statement reaffirms NATU’s commitment to (a) its primary aim of defending the rights of the children – as well as safeguarding, adhering, and dedicating itself to working unselfishly for the right of teachers to teach, and (b) ensuring that the classroom experience is pleasurable to both the learners and teachers.
The Six Bedrock Principles of NATU
The following six Principles under gird and direct all the activities of NATU:
- Self-Reliance and Self-Development
NATU believes that to successfully pursue its mission, its leaders and all its members must embrace the virtues of hard work, self-sacrifice, and depending on its power and resources. In this regard, self-development is about applying an introspective approach and realising one’s shortcomings. So far, NATU has succeeded in identifying areas of development and the means to improve the conditions of the organisation and its members. Capacity building has been identified as the greatest need hence the endeavors to put in place programs and structures for the development of leaders as well as members’ teaching skills. These measures have helped NATU not to be a numerically strong organisation yet weak because of ill-informed members.
- Freedom of Association and Right to Organise
NATU upholds the freedom of association and right to organise. Therefore, NATU believes that membership of any union should be a voluntary option and compulsory membership should only be to a professional registering council.
- Professional Approach to Teaching Inspired by Children’s Right to Learn
NATU believes that quality education is about the teacher’s teaching and learner’s learning. She is also mindful and appreciative of the fact that quality learning is dependent upon certain conditions and even teaching is dependent upon certain of these conditions. NATU also fathoms the fact that learners who find themselves learning under unfavorable conditions become uninterested in learning. For teachers, professionalism is a foundation of educational practice. However, for the educator to be professional, s/he requires the satisfaction of certain basic needs. Working under conditions that do guarantee his/her future security of tenure at school and even working without necessary resources, renders the teacher demoralised. It is one of the aims of the Union to fight for the well being of its members to ensure that they remain happy and contented professionals.
- Political and Religious Non-Alignment
NATU believes that teachers are at liberty to join any political party of their choice. It encourages its members to belong to church denominations of their choice. However, members should always be cognisant not to confuse their political or religious affiliations and ambitions with those of the Union. In this vein, members are urged to refrain from actions that could undermine the goodwill and achievements of the union by aligning themselves with a political party or religious groupings/actions.
- Autonomy and Independence
Whereas this principle compliments NATU’s political and religious non-alignment, it goes even further to include other structures to which she belongs. This union always cherishes and maintains its autonomy, and independence as well as its sovereignty to co-operate with anyone on matters affecting education. It is possible for this union to declare a strike even when its national or international affiliates advise to the contrary. Thus, the union exercises its sovereignty, autonomy, and independence in the best interest of its members and structures. It is for this reason that Article 15 of the union’s constitution succinctly states as follows:
Our affiliation with other organisations shall be on a federal basis while we maintain our total independence and freedom from any form of insubordination.
- Enhancement of all Aspects of the Working Life of Educators
NATU has always committed itself to improve the quality of life for its members mindful though of the fact that there are relevant bodies that are responsible for promoting professionalism among teachers. Moreover, NATU continues to assist its members to grow in their understanding of the terms and conditions of their employment. It is also committed to educating and training its female members to assume leadership roles in not only its echelons but also in those of other organisations. NATU also believes that its members have to continue to undergo an intensive equipping program that is aimed at propelling itself forward.
Special emphasis is put on shop-stewards, branch executive council members, and regional executive committee members right up to the Central Executive Board (CEB). To further achieve this, NATU has built a more than R12 million-worth multi-purpose conference center. This center marks the fulfillment of a long-cherished self-reliance dream of this organisation.