Meeting SummaryThe South African Council of Educators (SACE) briefed the Committee on the Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) system in South Africa. Despite the requirement of the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to ensure that SACE had sufficient funding, it had financial challenges, and had underspent in the last year as a result of only receiving money in November. SACE was addressing this point, and was trying to ensure that together the two entities would offer the CPTD system to all teachers. It was emphasised that the role of SACE lay not in actually offering the programmes, but ensuring that service providers were accredited to offer the programmes, monitoring the quality of their programmes and how teachers both attended and benefited, and keeping a register of accredited service providers. It was up to the schools, provinces and teachers themselves to ensure that they did attend relevant courses, and points would be awarded for attendance with accredited providers, over a three-year cycle. It was intended that in the first three years no penalties would be given for failure to qualify for sufficient points, but instead the reasons for this failure would be assessed. SACE was trying to place more emphasis on ensuring that there was development, to enhance teaching to students, rather than penalising non-compliance. At present there was low morale in the teaching profession, and SACE hoped to raise this. It would be necessary to try to minimize overlapping of functions, and SACE suggested in this regard that the Committee should call upon all role players, at one meeting, to outline their functions and roles. It was stressed that the unions and other professional associations would be closely involved.
A research study conducted in 2008 indicated that the country was not yet ready for introduction of the CPTD system, so it was decided instead to conduct a pilot study, which would end in April 2012, and which had involved 144 schools and 3 963 teachers. This was done to test the readiness and management of the proposed CPTD system, and in particular the endorsement process. The Endorsement Committees, presently populated with higher education staff and academics, would be reconstituted to include more educators and quality assurance staff, and to address remuneration of evaluators. Some of the challenges were outlined as the CPTD information systems, particularly because of lack of internet availability, raising teacher commitment and buy-in, working conditions, time and availability of resources, relevance of programmes, quality of providers and capacity to manage the system. A design document had been developed and the pilot report and implementation plan would be approved in the 2012/13 year.
Members commented on the need to address computer literacy, and mechanisms should providers fail to deliver, and asked how SACE would manage the development programme on the ground. They asked about sources of funding, whether the fee charged by the SACE to teachers was sufficient, how registration of teachers would work, and sanctions against those who failed to attend. Members thought that SACE should be able to make binding decisions without the need for referral to other bodies, suggested that SACE should be able to prescribe what should be offered in the provinces, and that feedback was needed from learners. More documentation was requested on the reconceptualisation of SACE, what it would offer on the ground, and funding. A Member suggested that SACE should be doing more to ensure good discipline in teachers, and thought that teachers’ attitudes also needed to be assessed, and urged strong monitoring.
The South African Broadcasting Association (SABC) gave a presentation on the educational programmes that it offered. These covered the whole range from Early Childhood Development, through primary and secondary education, to higher education at Open University level, as well as Adult Basic Education. SABC noted that the educational content was premised both on the national curriculum and on supporting and promoting national values, including diversity. Its offerings were not only limited to the traditional radio and TV slots, but also included print and web-based learning, outreach, community awareness and chat shows and interview sessions. SABC used all languages and tried to embrace all cultures, and tried also to cater for rural audiences, gender issues, and for people living with disabilities. It promoted availability of educational material on all available platforms, although this was not always possible in practice. The production of content was aligned to changing media consumption. It was trying to ensure basic literacy and numeracy, which were essential to improving later education. It was, however, trying to focus on one grade per year. It advocated positive role modeling. Nine themed focus areas were developed in the lead to 2014. Thorough research was carried out both to prepare the programmes and to follow up on them and assess their impact. Challenges still included literacy levels and socio-economic levels, and lack of skills in both education and media, with a lack also of enough radio and TV slots during the day to reach audiences.
Members were critical of the presentation, feeling that it was not focused, was not provided to Members well enough in advance, and that it did not address many important issues. They asked whether there was a strategy to bring maths and science related programmes to rural areas, why the Open University programmes were presented only in three languages, and commented that this programme was not reaching its potential and was of poor quality. A number of questions were asked about programming to cater for people with physical disabilities. Positive comments were made on Takalani Sesame and radio programmes, but Members questioned the wisdom of focusing on a single grade for a year, and suggested that more exposure needed to be given, through methods such as shopping malls, and telling of stories to children. They commented that many programmes were presented at times that children were at school. They urged better interaction with the Department of Basic Education. They asked how the standard and impact of programming was checked, and if there was a regulatory body to ensure programming quality. SABC was asked to provide written responses to all questions.
Continuing Professional Teacher Development: South African Council of Educators’ briefing
Mr Rej Brijraj, Chief Executive Officer, South African Council for Educators noted that the Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) system was intended to assist the Department of Basic Education (DBE or the Department) and the South African Council for Educators (SACE) in teacher development. CPTD was the result of seven years of work that sought to make teacher development relevant and pertinent to the needs of the country, and to focus energies on its contribution to transformation and the deepening of democracy.
Ms Ella Mokgalane, Professional Development Manager, SACE, reminded Members that SACE was a professional council established in terms of the SACE Act, 31 of 2000 (the Act). This Act mandated SACE to register educators, promote the development of educators and ensure that educators adhered to the Code of Professional Ethics. An additional mandate came from the National Policy Framework on Teacher Education and Development (NPFTED), which gave SACE the overall responsibility of implementing, managing and assuring quality of the CPTD system. The framework also stated that the necessary resources would be provided to SACE in order for it to fulfill its responsibility.
Ms Mokgalane said the CPTD system was now to be managed as part of the SACE programmes. This called for the re-conceptualisation of the professional development division. She said proposals on full staffing and financial implications for SACE would be finalised in March. SACE had financial challenges, despite the fact that the Department should, in terms of the Basic Education Laws Act, ensure that SACE had the necessary resources, and that SACE should be appropriated funding for its CPTD development and management role. SACE would collect fees from educators and accept donations.
A national plan on teacher development was devised after the Teacher Development Summit in 2009. CPTD was central to the plan. SACE and the Department were working closely to bring the CPTD to all teachers, recognising that all educators needed lifelong learning to do their work and continually improve, and that better teachers would help learners improve and become better citizens.
CPTD recognised teacher development activities, by approving and accrediting credible and high quality professional development providers. Programmes should be submitted to SACE for endorsement. Educators would be allocated points once they had participated in endorsed programmes. However, since some of the professional programmes offered to date had not assisted in the classroom situation, the new CPTD system did seek to ensure that all professional development programmes contributed effectively to the improvement of teaching. There was a need for emphasis and reinforcement of the professional status of teaching. SACE needed to provide educators with clear guidance on professional development activities that contributed to professional growth. SACE must also protect teachers from service providers who were not providing effective programmes. Although it was recognised that SACE would have to expand the range of activities that contributed to the professional development of teachers, teachers should also be proactive and initiate their own professional development.
Ms Mokgalane said morale was low in the teaching profession and SACE needed to lift it. She emphasised that SACE did not actually provide the continuing professional development itself, but merely managed and coordinated the CPTD. Provision of CPD remained the responsibility of the School Governing Body, the DBE, and provinces. SACE should provide all teachers with information on how to develop themselves professionally. It would screen and accredit providers of professional development activities and keep records of those accredited. SACE also had to monitor and evaluate the CPTD management system to ensure that it helped improve teachers' professionalism, quality of teaching, and learning.
SACE endorsed professional development fell into categories of personal, school organised, and externally organised development. Teachers needed to earn 150 professional development points in every three years, and would be awarded certificates of achievement on completion of each cycle target. Over time, other ways to incentivise teachers would be found. However, in the first three-year cycle, it was not intended that SACE punish teachers who did not get the required number of points, but would instead find out why they had not managed to do so.
The service providers needed to be registered with one of the three quality councils – Higher Education Quality Council (HEQC), the Quality Council on Trade Occupation (QCTO) and Umalusi. There would be possible contestations and overlaps, but SACE would develop memoranda of understanding with these councils. This was a very important issue and it was essential to avoid litigation. “Providers” would include, for instance, the provincial departments of education, school governing bodies (SGBs), teacher unions, Higher Education Institutions and private providers etc. She reiterated that these providers had to submit their programmes to SACE for approval and endorsement. SACE would only approve providers who could provide SACE endorsed activities. Category A providers had already received accreditation by the quality councils, and their approval by SACE was automatic, but they may still need to be endorsed in terms of the activities they offered. Category B providers were likely to be made up of professional associations, unions, departments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and they could apply for approval only if they offered the programmes themselves.
Ms Mokgalane explained that endorsement of activities included examining the quality of an activity, to assess how it would contribute to the professional development of the teacher. Only externally-initiated activities would be subjected to the endorsement process. The three criteria used for endorsement included checking fitness of purpose, quality and rating. Only SACE-endorsed activities, offered by SACE approved providers, should be funded by the employer.
She went on to explain how the CPTD-information system would manage information and communication. The CPTD information system offered a CRM system, used by internal staff to capture information, and a self-service portal, to be accessed and used by external service providers.
In 2008, SACE had conducted a research study in three provinces to ascertain the level of interest on professional development programmes among teachers. At that stage, the study concluded that
Ms Mokgalane said there was a need to reconceptualise and reconstitute the Endorsement Committees, presently populated with higher education staff and academics, because it was felt that more educators and quality assurance staff were needed. In addition, the remuneration of the evaluators had to be considered. The register of approved service providers had to be improved, but already SACE had endorsed 300 professional development activities, and teachers were already participating in the pilots. A service providers’ support unit would be established, and SACE was looking to have provider forums throughout the country. All in all, the challenges with the functionality of the CPTD system were being addressed.
Access to CPTD-IS would be a challenge, because of limited availability of internet, and teachers in Gauteng had indicated their preference for manual options, as there were issues with schools’ online system. SACE had been working with teacher unions and provincial officials to test the system, and one aspect that came out was that teachers did not show a lot of commitment to teacher development on its own but wanted to know if participation would carry financial rewards for them. It would be a challenge to get teachers to buy into this programme. Other challenges included discussions around working conditions, time and availability of resources, ensuring relevance of programmes, maintaining good relations with teacher unions, quality of providers, capacity to manage the system, and capacity of the Department to support and monitor PD activities.
Despite all the challenges, she summarised that it was hoped that the CPTD Unit would be successful. A CPTD design document that conceptualised the whole CPTD, as well as an effective information system that could be easily aligned with other systems in the Department, had been developed. The post pilot phase would begin on 1 April 2012 and run to 31 March 2013. During this time, the pilot report and the implementation plan would be approved, there would be testing of the CPTD-information system on a bigger scale, and necessary changes would be effected. The first full three-year-cycle of implementation would begin in 2013.
Mr Brijraj requested the Committee to assist provinces in identifying needs and providers, and providing what the teachers needed. He stressed that the implementation would take place in the provinces. A large amount of money had been set aside for skills development, that previously was spent in other areas, and that should be used effectively.
Mr S Makhubele (ANC) said there was a need to address the lack of computer literacy of many educators. Although this programme was in a pilot phase, it should address all factors that would affect the system once it was fully functional, and therefore should, for example, provide for mechanisms and punitive measures to address failure of providers to deliver. He sought clarity on the categories of providers and the objectivity on approvals, especially in relation to those not yet accredited.
Mr B Skosana (IFP) wanted to know how SACE would manage the development programme on the ground. He sought clarity on the remuneration of evaluators.
Ms F Mushwana (ANC) wanted to know plans for sources of funding. She asked how SACE was hoping to overcome the challenges associated with access to the internet, especially in
Mr K Dikobo (AZAPO) thought that this presentation was not focused, and did not speak to the agenda. SACE gave the Committee too much information, most of which had already been presented to Parliament already. He would have preferred a demonstration of how the system worked.
Mr Dikobo asked how registration of teachers would work. He also asked about sanctions against those who did not attend, stressing that the whole idea was to professionalise teaching. He also asked for clarity on why SACE Council decisions had to go to Higher Education committees for approval, especially since the Department was represented on SACE. He believed that SACE’s decisions should be binding without the necessity for approval elsewhere.
Ms A Lovemore (DA) asked for further clarity on the meaning of “training” and “development”. She voiced concern that provinces should approach SACE to ask for professional development, and believed that instead SACE should prescribe what must be offered, particularly in the poorly performing provinces. She asked if feedback from learners would be considered when deciding on endorsement. She asked for clarity on the suggestion that only SACE-endorsed activities could be funded by the employer, citing an example of whether teachers from a poorly performing school in Port Elizabeth could be encouraged to attend professional development sessions given by a best performing school.
Mr D Smiles (DA) wanted to know more about the reconceptualisation of SACE, and suggested that documentation on this should be provided to the Committee, to enable a better understanding of what role SACE would play in CPTD. He also noted that attention must be paid to issues of funding, and the Committee must assist SACE to get funding to fulfill its responsibilities. In return, SACE had a responsibility to enforce the code of conduct, and it should make itself heard on conduct, especially during strike actions. No matter how much professional development teachers might undertake, this would not make up for lack of discipline.
Ms C Dudley (ACDP) thought that a survey was needed to gauge attitudes of teachers, the need for professional development and the areas that had responded before.
Mr M Mpotshane (IFP) asked what would happen if the unions did not accept the programme. He also enquired about instances of unprofessional conduct that had been isolated in the 2008 research study.
Ms C Mashishi (ANC) sought clarity on provider forums and outreach programmes.
Mr W Madisha (COPE) wanted to know if SACE was financially sustainable, if it only charged R10 fees to educators. This Committee needed to review some of the reasons why SACE was founded, and he reminded Members that SACE should not be punitive, but attend to their meaningful growth.
Ms N Gina (ANC) wanted to know if teachers were benefiting financially in the system. She voiced doubt whether this system could be managed without monitoring what was happening on the ground, and she did not feel that the presentation had given enough details on the pilot, and had not outlined the challenges in enough detail. The Committee wanted to know how many educators were involved with the programme.
The SACE responded in general to the questions asked.
Mr Brijraj said SACE would take up the issue of funding with the Department, and would ensure that in this year it would get its allocation on time, instead of getting it late, as had happened over the last few years. SACE had been getting about R4 million from the Department for CPTD. SACE had, however, complained that all its own money was funding the CPTD, despite the fact that this was supposed to be a joint venture with the DBE. SACE would record a surplus this year because it could only spend half of the R7.2 million it received last year, having only received the money in November. There was a need for regular engagements between SACE and DBE. There was a feeling that the Department should also contribute to the R10 fees paid by educators to SACE.
Mr Brijraj noted, in regard to the work of SACE, that it had three priority areas. The first one was to register teachers, and in this regard he noted that all teachers in
Mr Briraj said that the role of other organisations involved in education had to be clarified. He suggested that it would be useful for this Committee to invite all the role players into a single meeting and clarify their roles, to avoid competition and overlapping. For instance, the identification of needs for teacher development was “everywhere and nowhere” because, although SACE was inundated with calls for intervention, there was a need for funding of this, and only when the roles of the different stakeholders had been clarified could this be sorted out.
Mr Geoff Harrison, Member of Professional Development Committee, SACE, said people tended to generalise about teachers and schools. There were vast differences between disadvantaged and advantaged schools. SACE had managed, in unique ways, to meet the requirements of level one and two. At level one, a teacher could improve by attending staff meetings or reading educational journals. Level two involved performance in the classroom. Endorsements and approvals only related to level three training, and this was where CPTD came in, and allocated points for actual courses.
Ms Mokgalane said she was glad that the Committee had raised the point that some detail was still lacking, because SACE was still collating data from schools, and that was a difficult task. She suggested that another meeting be arranged, later, to give a separate presentation on the progress of the pilot. She suggested that it had been useful and had indicated a number of matters that now could be taken into account.
Ms Mokgalane noted that if service providers failed to comply with the code of practice, there would be recourse; some could be helped to improve, but others would simply be removed from the database. The approval and endorsement process might take up to four months, from initial receipt of the application, through to the final endorsement by SACE, and then providers’ performance would still be monitored by site visits and audits to ensure that providers were doing what they had promised. Similar checks would happen on teachers, since SACE was putting in place a professional development portfolio, to ensure that teachers were doing what they were supposed to do. They should record their professional development progress in a portfolio, although SACE would not rely solely on this to check if teachers were complying. At this stage, because this was still a pilot project, the units of SACE were operating at minimal capacity. Provider forums would be dealt with after the pilot stage.
Ms Mokgalane stressed that teachers would not earn points by attending courses of providers who were not endorsed, no matter what the teacher unions said. The unions were part of the process, and would continue to be.
Mr Brijraj said that a major priority of SACE was those teachers who were in far-flung and rural areas, who might not have access to the internet. Those teachers could call or write to SACE, and SACE was also setting up mobile offices; details would be provided to the Committee later. SACE took the point about not only managing but also directing provisioning. However, he stressed that professional development was not only about providing short courses, but also about community driven projects and school activities. The involvement of teachers in community initiatives would be considered, and there would be guidelines drawn as to how participation in such projects could qualify for awarding of points. Although this might be difficult to monitor, SACE worked on the basis that teachers were responsible professionals.
Mr Brijraj said that when endorsing, it was necessary to ensure that learners actually benefited, and this was the reason why implementation on the ground would be monitored, through school visits by evaluators.
Mr Brijraj added that it was important for employers to recognise that they were not the sole decision makers when it came to teacher development. There was screening by SACE, hence the call to fund SACE-endorsed providers.
Mr Birjraj promised to give more details on challenges encountered with provinces.
Ms Mokgalane clarified, in regard to approvals, that Category A providers would not have to apply separately to SACE if they had been accredited by the three Quality Councils. Other service providers outside this category must submit their programmes for endorsement to SACE.
Ms Mokgalane informed the Committee that 95% of the 56 providers involved in the pilot were in
The Chairperson asked SACE to submit written replies to outstanding questions, and agreed that another meeting would be arranged to clarify the roles of the stakeholders, and another to address the results of the pilot study.
Educational programmes offered by South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)
Ms Pontsho Makhetha, General Manager: Public Information and Social Development, SABC, said that SABC SABC sought to be the educational content provider of choice in
The SABC believed in inclusive programming and tried at all times to cater for its rural audiences, who might not have access to all media platforms. SABC content further took into consideration issues of gender and people living with disabilities. She said although the SABC used differently-abled persons in production of its content, it needed to do more in this regard.
Ms Makhetha said the SABC’s Education Unit provided excellent educational content on two television channels and twelve public broadcast service stations. The content was focused on the education curriculum, and programming that supported nation building and development. SABC Education was offered through multi-media, not only through radio and TV, including the websites, print, new media and outreach.
The SABC fulfilled the functions of informing, entertaining and educating. The Association for Development of Education in
Ms Makhetha noted that recognition of the need for diversity and independence guided the content, strategy and editorial policies. This was a public service targeted to all citizens. Educational material needed to be accessible on all available platforms, including satellite cable and broadband networks. Despite its best efforts, the Education Unit could not always fit all content to all platforms. However, the Unit produced content that helped develop national culture, identity, language and heritage, thus enriching lives and enriching minds.
Recently, the Unit had been moving to producing content in line with the changing media consumption. The educational content would no longer only be on radio and television, but it would also be made available on digital media. The Unit would support the Department of Basic Education in making
The SABC worked with different stakeholders to build a democratic
The advantage of the outreach platform was that it extended content beyond the broadcast platforms, and this was very effective in getting closer to the rural people and understanding their needs. The numerous platforms allowed for deepening of the educational content and extended its shelf life. Outreach helped the SABC to forge strategic partnerships and brought audiences to the broadcast platforms. The poorly-performing schools in rural areas always approached the SABC to request specific content that they might not otherwise have at their disposal.
Ms Makhetha said the SABC had researched how best it could assist government on the road to 2014. SABC had identified nine themed focal areas, which included literacy and numeracy skills, mathematics and science, agriculture and environment, economics and finance, heritage and the arts, health and well-being, civic and democratic society, and leadership and management. Any other themes that were not aligned to the curriculum were broadcast on the other pillars.
Both pillars sought to align to government initiatives and sub-categories were divided according to themes. Unemployment fell in the leadership and management category. Corruption fell under promotion of values and ethics. Addressing crumbling infrastructure fell under ownership of public assets. Promoting a resource intensive economy fell under promoting business opportunities. She cited an example of a programme like Shift on SABC1, where experts offered advice on finding employment to young people.
Key to the success of programmes was thorough research. The Unit encouraged research, and despite financial challenges, it would follow up to ascertain the impact of programmes. It would also sustain communication with partners and communities, and promoted advocacy through dialogue and pushing of boundaries It tried to integrate messages across genres and platforms. Lastly, it would engage with experts and audiences
Ms Makhetha said the Foundation phase of education was critical, because it could lead to a good quality product at matric, and stressed that it was in these early phases that young children established how to read, write, count and calculate. Programmes earmarked for this purpose were Takalani Sesame, and Rivoningo Vuwani, but she stressed that this education was not offered as it would be in the classroom, but through enjoyable programmes. After the Annual National Assessment (ANA) results of last year, it had been decided to focus, in 2012, on ECD and the Foundation Phase, to improve results, and it would partner with DBE to provide a TV quiz show, to prepare the grade 3 classes of 2012 for their 2013 ANA. Each year, SABC Education focused on a different grade, to make the interventions worthwhile.
Intermediate Phase TV programmes included Wise Up, I-spelling and Edukite. At senior phase there were progrmmes like Matric Uploaded, FET vocational, Toms, and 48 Hours, where learners were exposed to the field of their choice for 48 hours. Higher learning programmes included Open University, which provided additional study material for students at degree level. Adult education programmes included Khetha, Le rena re a Kgona, Our Moments, and It's For Life. The Unit also offered programmes that sought to motivate educators and develop their professional capabilities, and included programmes such as My teacher made me, Mother of All Professions, Each one Teach one, and First time Teachers. There were also the provincially funded radio slots.
Ms Makhetha identified literacy levels and socio-economic levels as challenges. When educational content was exposed to commercialisation, that had a potential to compromise education values. There were also challenges around lack of skills in both education and media. There was a general lack of TV and radio slots to reach audiences during the day.
SABC’s other interventions included support to the DBE strategy on the curriculum and the development of educators, encouraging parents to tell tales and stories to Foundation Phase learners, with the objective of improving the ANA, and ensuring that parents gave the necessary support to learners at home. The Unit would also develop programmes that drove social cohesion.
Mr C Moni (ANC) wanted to know if the SABC had a strategy to bring maths and science related programmes to rural areas. He asked if there were language challenges with regard to the Open University programmes, which were presented only in three languages. He enquired about plans to ensure that programming also catered for people with physical disabilities.
Ms Lovemore thought this presentation was of a very poor quality. She asked why SABC was focusing on programmes and plans for 2014, as that year would be largely devoted to election coverage. Open University had the potential to be a good programme but had become very boring, with camera shots either out of focus or showing people falling asleep, and the quality of the presenters was poor.
Ms Mushwana noted that radios tended to broadcast in the language of the locality, but asked what language considerations applied to TV programming. She also asked about programmes geared for different disabilities. She wondered if programmes such as My Teacher Made Me could be expanded to all of
Mr Smiles said there was a real need for programmes that catered for people with special needs. He praised Takalani Sesame, saying this was a great programme offering substantial teaching to children. He thought there was a need for a stronger bias to maths and science programmes, especially in the Foundation Phase.
Mr Dikobo commented that the failure to furnish the presentation much earlier to Members contributed to their difficulties in following the presentation, and this had to be improved in future. He commended the good work that SABC radio was doing on education and said it needed to be encouraged. He wondered about the wisdom of focusing on a single grade for a year, which was exclusionary.
Mr M Kganyago (UDM) suggested the SABC should give more exposure to teaching, for instance in Jabulani Mall in
Mr Makhubele asked how that the standard of programming was checked, and if there was a regulatory body to ensure programming quality. He also asked how the SABC checked the impact of its programming. He noted the need to base the education content on values that the South African nation identified with, particularly encouraging diversity. He asked if puppetry, which was very popular with children, could not be used to deliver educational content.
Mr Mpotshane asked how closely the SABC worked with the Moral Regeneration Movement. The President used to complain about the SABC programming when he headed the movement.
Mr Madisha asked about the timing of programming, noting that most educational programmes were presented during the day, when children were at school. He said there needed to be continued interaction with the Department of Basic Education. He also asked how the SABC measured the impact of its programming.
The Chairperson asked SABC to provide written responses to all questions, in view of the shortage of time.
The meeting was adjourned.
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