Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga used World Teachers Day today to call on all teachers to recommit themselves to building quality education.
"Across the world all teachers who have made sacrifices, often under very trying circumstances and hardships which ensure that their learners get quality education, are recognised on this day," she said in a statement.
"Their contributions to generations of learners should inspire all teachers to strive towards making a difference in their schools and to look forward to doing their work with pride, dedication and sense of duty that befits this noble profession."
The department was working towards addressing challenges teachers face and looked forward to strengthening support for them.
She was also pleased with the increase of young teachers helped by bursaries from the Lushaka Bursary Scheme.
The SA Democratic Teachers Union said this year's theme of "Recovery Begins with Teachers" echoed what the union and many teachers represented.
"When one looks back 20 years later, we commend what has been achieved but the road towards true transformation in education is far from over.
"By educating our children, teachers ensure that poverty is eliminated. Therefore, the role of teachers is central to social, economic and intellectual rebuilding."
Most Sadtu teachers stayed away from school for around three weeks ahead of matric preliminary exams this year as they tried to get a higher pay increase than the government had offered.
Sadtu called on world leaders to prioritise education and invest in the training of teachers.
"Teachers are central in any recovery process, whether from natural disaster or economic crisis. We educate our nation to learn to live together."
World Teachers' Day, held annually on October 5 since 1994, commemorates the anniversary of the signing in 1966 of a United Nations Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers.