About Ethics Department
The purpose of the Ethics department of SACE is to ensure compliance with the Code of Professional Ethics for educators; to protect the dignity of the profession and to revise the Code on an annual basis. Its core objectives are:
- To enforce, maintain and implement the Code of Professional Ethics for educators in the country.
All complaints received by the department are investigated in order to determine their validity and to ensure that matters complained of, are those of an ethical nature. It is important to point out that SACE does not deal with labour-related matters. These are matters relating to employer/employee relationship.
Depending on the nature of the complaint, all matters are either investigated telephonically, through letter writing or by on-site investigations. In the process of maintaining and ensuring that the Code is adhered to, the department consistently guarantees the basic human rights of all those involved, as provided for by the constitution.
Whilst the Code of Ethics speaks to particular ethical breaches which fall under SACE’s jurisdiction, the Disciplinary Procedures set out a fair process for all investigations and a fair procedure for all hearings that are conducted by the Council. In terms of its disciplinary procedures, Council is authorised to, among other sanctions, remove the name of an educator from its register, where the educator has been found guilty of unprofessional and unbecoming behaviour which has the effect of bringing the profession into disrepute. This means that if an educator’s name is struck off the SACE register, he or she cannot practise as an educator in institutions of learning within the country, and depending on the nature of the contravention, his or her name might also get reported to the Department of Social Development for listing as a person not fit to work with children.
Whilst many have viewed this department’s objectives as being overtly punitive towards educators, this criticism is not true. The department has through out the years, been requested to conduct workshops on ethics and educators’ rights. This would then enable educators to professionally develop themselves and in turn be attuned to their rights and responsibilities as educators, acting in accordance with the ideals of the profession.