The following six Principles undergird and direct all the activities of NATU
Self-Reliance and Self-Development
NATU believes that in order to successfully pursue its mission, its leaders and all its members must embrace the virtues of hard work, self-sacrifice and depending on its own 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 members. Capacity building has been identified as the greatest need hence the endeavours to put in place programmes and structures for 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 body.
Professional Approach to Teaching Inspired by Children’s Right to Learn
NATU believes that quality education is about teachers teaching and learners learning. The organisation is also mindful and appreciative of the fact that quality education is dependent upon certain conditions and even teaching is dependent upon certain of these conditions. NATU also fathoms the fact that learners under unfavourable 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 wellbeing of its members to ensure that they remain happy and contended 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 the vein, members are urged to refrain from actions which could undermine the goodwill and achievements of the union by aligning themselves with political party or religious groupings/ actions.
Autonomy and Independence
Whereas these two principles complement NATU’s political and religious non-alignment, they go even further to include other structures to which NATU belongs. The union always cherishes and maintains its autonomy, and independence as well as its sovereignty to co-operate with any one 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, “Our affiliation to 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 always committed itself to improving the quality of life of its members mindful though of the fact that there are relevant bodies which 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 her members have to continue to undergo self and collective renewal so that the organisation is able to propel itself forward all the time – with a special emphasis being placed on Shop-Stewards, Branch Executive Committee members and Regional Executive Council members, right up to the Central Executive Board (CEB). To further achieve this, NATU has built more than R12million-worth multi-purpose Conference Centre. This centre marks the fulfilment of a long-cherished self-reliance dream of this organisation.