Teacher Development: Department of Basic Education and SACE briefings

Basic Education

26 August 2014
Chairperson: Ms N Gina (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) appeared before the Portfolio Committee to brief it about the purposes and successes of the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) and implementation of the Continual Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) system.

The DBE informed the Committee that the main purpose of the IQMS was to evaluate school level educators and look at quality teaching and the delivery of the curriculum at schools.  The progressive evolution of the IQMS processes and procedures had been observed at schools.  A number of developmental programmes for teachers had been offered during the 2013/2014 period. These included training in IQMS implementation, home language instruction, school improvement plans and personal growth plans. However, it also highlighted that the IQMS posed many challenges and would need to be replaced by a new system, QMS.  

During the discussion, it was suggested that that the IQMS was a failure, but other Members said it merely needed refining, and the problem was that the Department did not believe in it.  The new system should be given a chance to succeed.   Members asked if there were plans in place to protect principals from teachers who were resisting the IQMS implementation.  They wanted to know if the new QMS would be aligned with the provision of resources, and enquired how peer evaluation was conducted and why subject advisors were a continuous problem.

The South African Council of Educators (SACE) stated that the implementation of the CPTD management system was being phased-in in all the provinces, in line with the approved implementation plan by the Heads of Education Departments Committee and SACE Council in 2012. Its implementation would take place in three cycles. The implementation had already started, with principals and deputies, and was expected to continue beyond 2016 with Post Level 1 teachers and Heads of Departments. Every cohort would go through the CPTD orientation and sign-up process a year before they commenced with their first three-year cycle.

During discussion on the CPTD system, it was remarked that teachers did not know the areas where they needed to be developed.  Members asked if the Department was not wasting money on upgrading aging principals and teachers, and wanted to know what the Department was doing about teacher competency.

Meeting report

Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) presentation
Mr Enoch Rabotapi, Acting Chief Director in Human Resources Development: DBE, said that the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) is part of the broader framework of performance management which, in turn, is a cyclical process that supports accountability of educators at school and district or provincial level. As a result, the DBE has developed reporting templates to enable uniform reports on progress in the implementation of IQMS.

The IQMS has been designed with the purpose of preparing an environment for teacher development, to monitor the overall effectiveness of the institution, to evaluate the performance of the educator, to identify specific needs of educators for support and development, and to promote accountability.

During the 2013/2014 period, IQMS external moderators visited 9 330 schools to monitor its implementation. The moderators prepared on-site school profile reports. The quality of teaching was monitored through lesson observations. (See graph for the findings of IQMS moderators).

The Personal Growth Plan (PGP) focuses on areas in need of improvement where the educator is in full control.  It also attends to areas for which the School Management Team (SMT) is able to provide guidance, and those to which the district office should provide support. Where an educator is under-qualified or needs re-skilling in order to teach a new subject, short courses or skills programmes are provided through the Skills Development Budget of the Provincial Education Department (PED).

The majority of educators who received support on the implementation of the IQMS were from Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Free State.   A total of 32 110 educators participated in workshops on the implementation of IQMS.   During the 2013/2014 period, 934 educators were promoted to Post Levels 2-4.

Regarding training on identified areas in School Improvement Plans (SIPs), 75 224 educators at all post levels participated in the developmental programmes.   Most of the support was provided to teachers in the North West, Western Cape and Free State.  The duration of the workshop varied from one to three days.

Concerning home language training, workshops were conducted in five provinces in the following African languages: IsiZulu (288); Sesotho (127); Setswana (278) and Siswati (254).  11 552 teachers participated in subject-based training workshops in the Foundation Phase.  Included in this figure are 842 members of the SMTs. The majority of the teachers received training in Mathematics and English first additional language (FAL). This trend is keeping in line with the findings of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) and Annual National Assessment (ANA) results, which have identified these subjects as key levers for improving quality across the system.

On the issue of training needs identified for the Further Education and Training (FET) Phase, 5 428 teachers participated in subject-based training workshops in Mathematics, English (FAL), Accounting and Physical Sciences.  Included in this figure were 560 members of the SMT.  Most of these developmental programmes were offered in the Western Cape and Free State. The data on the total number of educators trained in all four phases is limited to key subjects such as: Home Language/s (Foundation Phase), English FAL, Mathematics, Accounting and Physical Sciences.  

It is reported that schools are progressively implementing recommendations in the reports of moderators and there is an increase in the confidence of principals to implement the IQMS, Personal Growth Plans (PGPs) and SIPs for development and support.

Mr Rabotapi concluded by recommending that, firstly, all managers in schools, district and provincial offices must lead by example and drive the business case for formally managing performance. This would ensure there is sufficient capacity within provinces to manage the IQMS processes and procedures in line with the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) Collective Agreement 08 of 2003, and provide monthly/quarterly reports to the DBE on this.

Secondly, all managers should be trained on the standard process for managing poor performance at different levels.

Thirdly, support programmes must be documented and rolled out to all managers so that managers are trained, among other things, in identifying and addressing job or subject content-related training needs.

Lastly, he indicated that a new system by the name of QMS (Quality Management System)

would replace IQMS, because the DBE decided not to continue with it in its current form. The IQMS structures posed many challenges in the sense that they put no responsibility on the principal to implement the IQMS, it only made them members of the structure. It was open to multiple interpretations and made assumptions that teachers are professional and mature, and would be honest in identifying their areas of improvement and weaknesses. The new QMS is the reformation of an existing system.

Continual Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) presentation
Ms Ella Mokgalane, Senior Manager in Professional Development and Research: South African Council of Educators (SACE), informed the Committee the CPTD is a system of recognising all useful professional development by approving quality and credible professional development providers, endorsing relevant and good professional development quality activities and programmes, allocating professional development (PD) points to such activities, and crediting the CPTD account of each teacher with the PD points that each has earned.  This system is targeted at school-based teachers.


Educators engage in three kinds of SACE-endorsed professional development (PD) activities and programmes:

- Teacher initiated activities (Personal);
- School initiated activities (School); and
- Externally initiated activities (offered largely by the SACE approved providers)

Educators have to earn their professional development points from each of the three types of professional development activities.  Educators would report their participation in PD twice a year manually on a form prescribed by SACE, or electronically on the CPTD self-service portal twice a year – May to June, and October to November.  Each educator would be expected to achieve 150 PD points on their PD points account in every three-year cycle.  SACE would issue a Certificate of Achievement to each educator who achieved the 150 PD points.

The implementation of the CPTD Management System is being phased-in by SACE in all the provinces in line with the approved implementation plan by the Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) and SACE Council in 2012. The implementation process focuses on:

- Orientating and signing up educators to participate in the CPTD management system and earn 150 points in the three year cycles;
- Approval of service providers and endorsement of all PD programmes that are presented to teachers;
- ongoing advocacy and communication of the policy;
- ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

The CPTD Management System is being implemented in cycles, with the first cohort being principals and deputy principals from 2014 onwards, the second cohort being heads of departments from 2015 onwards, and the third cohorts being Post Level (PL) 1 teachers from 2016 onwards.  Every cohort would go through the CPTD orientation and sign-up process a year before they commenced with their first three-year cycle. The purpose of signing-up for the CPTD Management System is to:

- Create a clean and updated database of educators and schools with relevant information/fields/ variables for teacher education and development planning and decision-making purposes;

- Create individual CPTD accounts/records of educators/schools for participation in the CPTD System and professional development uptake;
- Provide educators with login details (username and password) through an SMS so that they can access the CPTD self-service portal.


The sign-ups have been done manually and electronically through the CPTD self-service portal accessed through the SACE website (www.sace.org.za), mobisite (www.sace.cptd.gov.za), and the
CPTD self-service walk-in centre.  A cellphone app is being developed.

It has been observed that principals and deputies are sending representatives (PL1 teachers and HODs) to the orientation and sign-up sessions, and this was resulting in knowledge gaps and variances on the number of sign-ups.  A trend of information gaps was picked up on policies, legislation, new educational initiatives, Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) related matters, and the role that they are suppose to play in developing and supporting teachers.

This trend starts to explain why some of the School Management Teams lack authority and are unable to manage their schools. It also explains, to a certain extent, some of the misconduct cases that are referred to SACE daily, instead of SMTs resolving them at school level.

This confirmed the information gap existing among some of the principals and deputy principals and that the previous CPTD advocacy and communication efforts focused largely on the PL1 educators, and less on principals and deputy principals.

Another issue that came to the attention of SACE was that the majority of principals and deputy principals are aging. Because of this, some of them did not value participation in the CPTD system because they argued that they are nearing retirement age. This is likely to impact on the level of professional development uptake by this cohort, as well as on the sign-up variance.

Misinformation and confusion around the CPTD System and IQMS has been recorded. Most of the participants in the orientation and sign-up sessions were confusing the CPTD Management System with IQMS. Others thought the CPTD Management System was replacing IQMS.  Because of this confusion, SACE worked with the DBE in developing a pamphlet that explains the relationship between the CPTD Management System and IQMS. The pamphlet was distributed to schools through the Provincial Education Departments and stakeholders.

(Tables and graphs detailing the statistics for sign-ups (principals, deputies and HODs), age and race of principals and deputies, and  figures on foreign teachers and principals, were presented)

The implementation has already started with principals and deputies and is expected to continue beyond 2016 with Post Level 1 Teachers and Heads of Departments.  In order for principals and deputies to participate in this three-year cycle, they would need to produce a Needs Identification Process (IQMS/ANA and NSC Diagnostic Reports/Self Reflection/Misconduct Cases) and develop a Professional Growth Plan.

The SACE has received 205 provider approval applications and 178 have been approved by SACE. and they are from the following sectors: private providers, higher education institutes, teacher unions (4), schools (independent), Provincial education departments and non-governmental organisations.

A provider must be SACE-approved to offer SACE-endorsed PD activities, and plans are afoot to have provider forums ready by the end of 2014 in all provinces.   To date, 550 PD programmes or activities have been endorsed. The endorsed programmes cover a wide range of topics and areas, such as information communication technology (ICT), leadership and management, communications, mathematics, physical science, special education needs, school discipline and policy development.

The Council of Education Ministers (CEM) lekgotla took a decision to refocus the mandate of the CPTD programme of SACE to prioritise key strategic areas, such as mathematics, science, technology and languages, CAPS, School-Based Assessments (SBAs) and ICT, among others.

IQMS Presentation
Mr M Mabika (NFP) commented that the IQMS had failed. He wanted to know if there had been cases where educators had been reported to have failed dismally in executing their duties, because he found it hard to believe that such acts had not been recorded.

Mr D Mnguni (ANC) disagreed with Mr Mabika. He reasoned that the IQMS had not failed, but only needed refining. The only thing which made it problematic was when the IQMS implementation made the school come to a halt. He suggested that the HODs should make class visits regularly, not only once, and this should be included in the IQMS.

Mr H Khosa (ANC) supported Mr Mnguni, saying the IQMS had not failed -- it was only that the Department did not believe in it.  It was unnecessary for the Department to remove ‘I’ and retain ‘QMS,’ because with ‘I’ it sounded realistic.

Mr A Mpontshane (IFP) suggested that the Committee should wait until the QMS had been implemented and then look at what made it different from the IQMS.  He added that it was good the Department had pinpointed its weaknesses.

Responding to these comments, Mr Rabotapi explained that, irrespective of whether IQMS had failed or not, every system evolves and the education of the country had been undergoing reforms. The Department always looked at its processes and decided if they were relevant to the context we were in.  In its current form, it would be a big mistake for the Department to continue with the IQMS. The QMS was there to reform an existing system, not to come up with something new. It would address the challenges posed by IQMS. That is why the ‘I’ was removed. The IQMS had its time and objectives, but now it needed to be reformed.

Ms C Majeke (UDM) asked if there were any measures in place to protect principals, because they were experiencing resistance from teachers regarding the implementation of the IQMS.

The Chairperson added that many complaints were coming from teachers that the IQMS was taking up a lot of their time.

Mr Mpontshane commented that the Department was allowing itself to be held to ransom by resistance from principals and teachers, and that it had known for three years that the IQMS was not working.

Mr Rabotapi responded that there was legislation that looked after the protection of principals. The IQMS prescribed certain processes, so when the principals took action, their actions had to follow the prescriptions of the IQMS.   The intervention of the Department now was to strengthen the management of the school.  The QMS would be aligned with other policies to make sure the principal was an accounting officer.  The principals would be the accounting officers, and it would be up to them to make it a success.

He told Members the only way of implementing such an important system like QMS was to have a buy-in.  The Department was trying to talk with teacher unions so that there could be consensus. The finalisation of QMS still had challenges. The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) was unhappy about structures not included in the QMS. This revolved around the issue of staff development and powers given to principals. SADTU wants the process to be democratised, and principals not given full powers, as they would abuse the system.

Ms A Lovemore (DA) staid she was concerned about the level of accountability at district level, and asked if there were instruments in place to help.  She commented that the recommendations about IQMS were not about the implementation of the system, but about schools.

Regarding accountability, Mr Rabotapi answered by saying a change of instruments would not work. The only thing the Department needed to do was to work on the attitudes of people. The instruments were there, but if the attitudes were rotten, there was nothing the Department could do.

Mr Mabika asked if the new QMS would be aligned with the provision of resources at schools, because a lack of resources could hamper the performance of an individual.

Mr Rabotapi said that contextual factors were retained in the QMS. Teachers were still made the most important resource. However, the absence of aids did not give them an excuse not to teach. The teacher had to look at the context in order to address the situation. The Department was trying hard to put mechanisms in place to solve the challenge of resources.

Ms H Boshoff (DA) asked how the peer evaluation was conducted.

Mr Rabotapi said it would no longer be part of the QMS, because certain structures had been done away with. The standardisation and verification of peer evaluation was not going to rely on provincial reports, which most often contained inconsistencies. There was a framework in place which would address this matter, and would be implemented soon.

Chairperson commented that the issue of subject advisors had been a problem for a long time. She wanted to know what their job description was and why they were not doing their work.

Mr Rabotapi explained that the job description of subject advisors was being reviewed. Sometimes some problems were caused by a lack of capacity. There would be a new way of appointing HODs and subject advisors. Appointment measures would be strengthened. For instance, subject advisors were supposed to support HODs, but when that did not happen, it made life difficult for HODs to do their work.

CPTD presentation
The Chairperson commented that one of the weaknesses in the system was that teachers did not know the areas where they needed to be developed.   As a result, this made it difficult for the Department to budget and prepare for teacher development.  Even though the Department had a working relationship with SACE in order to thrash out issues affecting the profession, the Teacher Development Programme would rise or fall in the hands of provincial Departments.

Mr Khosa wanted to know why the Department was wasting money on up-skilling aging principals and deputies.

Ms Mokgalane explained the Department was not wasting resources by upgrading them.  Learning was a life-long affair. Even during retirement, the Department could still hire or employ them because they had experience in administration and teaching.

Ms P Basson (ANC) asked what the CPTD was planning to do to develop an HOD who was not performing in his or her field. She further enquired how soon the Department could come up with measures to speed up disciplinary cases that seemed to take too long to be resolved, because some educators left a school and found a job at another school or government department before their cases were finalised.

Regarding the HOD affair, Ms Mokgalane indicated that SACE could play an advisory role and come up with recommendations that would be forwarded to the Department in order to find ways of solving the problem. Concerning disciplinary processes, she said SACE had put measures in place. Now everything would be solved within three months, so that a person could be expelled if found guilty. She reminded the Committee that SACE was there to support the Department, provide access to information and make recommendations, and part of its monitoring and evaluation was to do site visits.

Ms Lovemore enquired what the Department was planning to do to address teacher competency, and in what instances would points not be allocated.

On the issue of teacher competency, Ms Mokgalane elaborated that the Department was strengthening its capacity to address the issue. There was a programme that had been developed to train subject advisors and a unit within the Department had been created to oversee this three-year programme, run by three directors.  It would also look at the training of HODs and SMTs.

Regarding point allocations, she said that points would not be allocated for non-endorsed activities. Educators were free to participate in those activities, but could not submit documents to SACE for claiming points.

Ms Boshoff wanted to know if the Department had the staff to capture the manual applications of principals and deputies.

In her reply, Ms Mokgalane admitted there were capacity problems, but pointed out that interns were helping to capture the data. Sometimes delays were from the provincial Departments that were withholding forms, and not submitting them to SACE.

Mr Mnguni commented that SMT and school governing board (SGB) meetings should be held regularly, not four times a year, in order to get points because a principal would not do meetings for the whole year and only hold them for four consecutive days at the end of the year. That would not be good for the administration of the school.

Ms Mokgalane concluded by ensuring the Committee that the Department and SACE were doing a follow-up on the issue of foreign principals and very young local principals, and the HR unit of the Department was busy profiling the qualifications of all educators, HODs, subject advisors and principals.

The meeting was adjourned.

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