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Legal Affairs and Ethics



1.  In this Code, unless the context indicates otherwise any word or phrase defined in the South African Council for Educators Act, 2000 has that meaning and:

(i)     ‘Code’ means the Code of Professional Ethics of the South African Council for Educators;

(ii)     ‘Council’ means the South African Council for Educators;

(iii)     ‘Educator’ means any educator registered or provisionally registered with the Council;

(iv)     Learner’ means a pupil or a student at any early learning site, school, further education and training institution or adult learning centre;

 (v)      ‘parent’ means:

                        (a)  any natural parent or guardian of a learner;

                        (b)  any person legally entitled to custody of a learner; and

                        (c)  any person who undertakes to fulfil the obligations of a person referred to in paragraphs (a) or (b) towards the learner’s

                               education at school.


2. The educators who are registered or provisionally registered with the South African Council for Educators:

2.1. acknowledge the noble calling of their profession to educate and train the learners of our country;

2.2. acknowledge that the attitude, dedication, self-discipline, ideals, training and conduct of the teaching profession determine the quality of education in this country;

2.3. acknowledge, uphold and promote basic human rights, as embodied in the Constitution of South Africa;

2.4. commit themselves therefore to do all within their power, in the exercising of their professional duties, to act in accordance with the ideals of their profession, as expressed in this Code; and

2.5. act in a proper and becoming way such that their behaviour does not bring the teaching profession into disrepute.


3. An educator:

3.1. respects the dignity, beliefs and constitutional rights of learners and in particular children, which includes the right to privacy and confidentiality;

3.2. acknowledges the uniqueness, individuality, and specific needs of each learner, guiding and encouraging each to realise his or her potentialities;

3.3. strives to enable learners to develop a set of values consistent with the fundamental rights contained in the Constitution of South Africa;

3.4. exercises authority with compassion;

3.5. avoids any form of humiliation, and refrains from any form of abuse, physical or psychological;

3.6. refrains from improper physical contact with learners;

3.7. promotes gender equality;

3.8. refrains from courting learners from any school;

3.9. refrains from any form of sexual harassment (physical or otherwise) of learners;

3.10. refrains from any form of sexual relationship with learners from any school;

3.11. refrains from exposing and/or displaying pornography material to learners and/or keeping same in his/her possession;

3.12. uses appropriate language and behaviour in his or her interaction with learners, and acts in such a way as to elicit respect from the learners;

3.13. takes reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the learner;

3.14. does not abuse the position he or she holds for financial, political or personal gain;

3.15. is not negligent or indolent in the performance of his or her professional duties; and

3.16. recognises, where appropriate, learners as partners in education.


4. An educator, where appropriate:

4.1. recognises the parents as partners in education, and promotes a harmonious relationship with them; 

4.2. refrains from offering a bribe in any form to parents; and

4.3. does what is practically possible to keep parents adequately and timeously informed about the well-being and progress of the learner.


5. An educator:

5.1. recognises that an educational institution serves the community, and therefore acknowledges that there will be differing customs, codes and beliefs in the community; and

5.2. conducts him/herself in a manner that does not show disrespect to the values, customs and norms of the community.


6. An educator:

6.1. refrains from undermining the status and authority of his or her colleagues;

6.2. respects the various responsibilities assigned to colleagues and the authority that arises therefrom, to ensure the smooth running of the educational institution;

6.3. uses proper procedures to address issues of professional incompetence or misbehaviour;

6.4. promotes gender equality and refrains from sexual harassment (physical or otherwise) of his or her colleagues;

6.5. uses appropriate language and behaviour in his or her interactions with colleagues;

6.6. avoids any form of humiliation, and refrains from any form of abuse (physical or otherwise) towards colleagues.


7. An educator:

7.1. acknowledges that the exercising of his or her professional duties occurs within a context requiring co-operation with and support of colleagues;

7.2. behaves in a way that enhances the dignity and status of the teaching profession and that does not bring the profession into disrepute;

7.3. keeps abreast of educational trends and developments;

7.4. promotes the ongoing development of teaching as a profession;

7.5. accepts that he or she has a professional obligation towards the education and induction into the profession of new members of the teaching profession.

7.6. refrains from any contravention of the statutes and regulations of the Republic of South Africa, relevant to the Code;

7.7. refrains from indulging and/or being in possession of intoxicating, illegal, and/or unauthorised substances including alcohol and drugs within the school premises and/or whilst on duty;

7.8. refrains from carrying and/or keeping dangerous weapons in the school premises without any prior written authorisation by the employer; and

7.9. refrains from engaging in illegal activities.


8. An educator:

8.1. recognises the employer as a partner in education;

8.2. acknowledges that certain responsibilities and authorities are vested in the employer through legislation, and serves his or her employer to the best of his or her ability;

8.3. refrains from discussing confidential and official matters with unauthorised persons; and

8.4. must inform and declare his or her business interests to the employer prior executing them.


9. An educator:

9.1. makes every effort to familiarise him/herself and his/her colleagues with the provisions of the Code;

9.2. complies with the provisions of this Code;

9.3. discloses all relevant information to the Council;

9.4. informs Council and/or relevant authorities of alleged or apparent breaches of the Code within his/her knowledge;

9.5. co-operates with the Council to the best of his or her ability; and

9.6. accepts and complies with the procedures and requirements of the Council, including but not limited to the Registration Procedures, the Disciplinary Procedures of the Council and the payment of compulsory fees.

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