The Portfolio Committee received a briefing from a trilateral panel consisting of representatives from the Department of Basic Education (DBE), the South African Council of Educators (SACE) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) on initial teacher education (ITE) programmes and teacher development
The DBE said there was a growing rate of teacher education involving the ITE graduate programme. One of the things allowing this growth was the Funza Lushaka bursary programme; which had been put in place as an incentive to lead more people to study teaching. The Funza Lushaka bursary remained an attractive option for aspirant teachers to consider for at least the next five years and beyond. In the current year, there had been almost 75 000 applications for the bursary. A big initiative funded by the European Union was under way. It was called the Teaching and Learning Development Capacity Improvement Programme (TLDCIP), and focused on research, teaching standards, curriculum frameworks, materials, assessment tools and building capacity. A teacher supply and demand study, and a review of the University of South Africa (UNISA) ITE programmes, was currently taking place.
The priorities for teacher development programmes in 2018 and beyond were induction and mentoring, management and leadership capacity building, assessments, information communication technology (ICT) integration, numeracy/ maths/ technical schools, and reading/ languages/ libraries. There would be a particular focus on strengthening the teaching of reading, building the capacity of the teachers in core methodologies and inculcating the necessary routines, providing extra resources (lesson plans, readers and posters), and developing capacity in districts and circuits to support the teaching of literacy and reading.
Members asked what was being done to train existing teachers, many of whom were now redundant, no longer effective, or had irrelevant qualifications. How could they be retrained to become more effective? What incentives were in place to attract teachers to rural areas, where they were badly needed? What was being done about special needs teachers, as there was not enough support staff such as therapists in districts. They were pleased to see there would be a concentration on Early Child Development (ECD). Other issues discussed included advanced qualifications for school principals, the challenge of SACE being recognised by the SA Qualifications Authority (SAQA), and the extent of IT being taken into account in rural areas. A Member commented that the development programme needed to produce a contingent of teachers who loved teaching and were able to teach. The essence of the meeting was about the production of enough quality teachers to improve the South African education system.
Initial Teacher Education
Mr Gerrit Coetzee, Director: Initial Teacher Education (ITE), DBE, said he would address ITE according to three pillars -- size, shape and substance. There was a growing rate of teacher education and the ITE graduate programme. One of the things allowing this growth was the Funza Lushaka Bursary programme; which had been put in place as an incentive to lead more people to study teaching. The Funza Lushaka bursary remained an attractive option for aspirant teachers to consider for at least the next five years and beyond. In the current year, there had been almost 75 000 applications for the bursary. In 2018, the overall contribution by Funza Lushaka 5 135 bursaries, which catered for 21.7% of the 23 818 students.
Dr Michelle Mathey, Director: Teacher Education, Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), addressed the issues surrounding the quality of initial teacher education. These were:
- Strengthened criteria for the recruitment and selection into ITE.
- ITE programmes must equip teachers with skills for the 21st century, including the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
- Utilisation and integration of information communication technology (ICT) and DBE-developed digitised learning materials.
- The strengthening of African languages.
- The variable quality and delivery of initial teacher education programmes.
- Strengthening the quality of teaching practice -- work integrated learning -- in initial teacher education
- Strengthening Early Childhood Development (ECD) and special needs in ITE.
The DHET also worked towards size, shape and substance when it came to teacher education. Ultimately, the main result must be strengthened ITE programmes that enable new teacher graduates to teach competently as beginning teachers.
A big initiative funded by the European Union was under way. It was called the Teaching and Learning Development Capacity Improvement Programme (TLDCIP), and focused on research, teaching standards, curriculum frameworks, materials, assessment tools and building capacity.
A teacher supply and demand study, and a review of the University of South Africa (UNISA) ITE programmes, was currently taking place. In the same light, the TLDCIP entailed the following:
- Primary teacher education project.
- Teacher education for early childhood care and education.
- Teacher education for inclusive teaching.
- College lecturer education project.
- Strengthening initial teacher education.
Other important things to consider were:
- Strengthening African languages in initial teacher education.
- Strengthening early childhood care and education.
- Strengthening special needs and inclusive education and standards in teacher education. Standards needed to be in place to ensure quality teacher education.
Dr Mathey referred to entry standards for admission to ITE, and exit standards for beginner teacher competences, and said knowledge and practice standards were standards that informed the construction of ITE programmes, content, processes and materials at the curriculum level. If the standards were well designed, collaboratively developed, collectively owned, and taken up into teacher education programmes, they formed a national standard that could provide the basis for greater convergence between teacher education programmes intended to develop teachers of specific subjects, without requiring that programmes needed to follow exactly the same curricula. She also spoke to the teaching practice implementation protocol and concluded that there should be a reciprocal relationship between schools and universities.
Ms Ella Mokgalane, Chief Executive Officer: SA Council of Educators (SACE), addressed the teacher standards and induction programmes, and described the roles of the Council for Higher Education (CHE) as a quality committee, and SACE as a professional body. There were 98 key identified stakeholders who were being consulted on the draft professional teaching standards and the proposed teacher professionalisation path. For Portfolio of Evidence
Mr Coetzee said the education programme should be added value, and not a burden to teachers. He spoke to new teacher induction success factors and elements and the induction of framework for teachers and school leaders, and said a steering committee and a work group had been established concerning that.
He indicated the timeframes for 2018/19:
- New teacher induction working group meeting: 21 September 2018.
- New teacher induction stakeholder meeting: 26 September 2018.
- New principals induction stakeholder workshop: 25-26 October 2018.
- New teacher induction and new principals induction consultation workshop: 18-19 February 2019.
The targeted date for implementation was 1 April 2020.
The last issue he spoke to was teacher development programmes. The priorities for 2018 and beyond were induction and mentoring, management and leadership capacity building, assessments, ICT integration, numeracy/ maths/ technical schools, and reading/ languages/ libraries. There would be a particular focus on strengthening the teaching of reading by strengthening previous and current initiatives, building the capacity of the teachers in core methodologies and inculcating the necessary routines, providing extra resources (lesson plans, readers and posters), and developing capacity in districts and circuits to support the teaching of literacy and reading.
Support for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) would be provided by assisting 12 Districts in maths and physical science, targeting 2 400 teachers in those subjects, and targeting 1 200 accounting and 1 200 economics teachers in 12 under-performing districts. With the help of student teachers, 700 technical maths and 500 technical science teachers had been trained through the UNISA video conferencing facility.
Other issues addressed were the ICT rollout and digital learning competences. Issues arising included the building capacity of key role players in digital learning, professional development for digital learning (and not just ICT skills training), and the need to train teachers to teach effectively using digital tools and resources. He said the White Paper and NCS aims clearly spelt out the pedagogical knowledge requirements – the need for transformational pedagogy to meet 4IR demands.
Ms J Basson (ANC said overspending was an issue that always bothered her when visiting provinces on constituency visits, and this was encountered first in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The overspending happened because government continued to pay teachers who were redundant, no more effective in the system and who had irrelevant qualifications such as domestic studies and biblical studies. What strategies did the trilateral panel – the DBE, SACE and DHET -- have in order to reshape those teachers and allow them to be used effectively in the system, otherwise they ended up being administrators and thus not doing what they were there for.
On another one of the Committee’s oversight visits, they had noticed that there was a need for teachers in the rural areas, but Funza Lushaka bursary graduates were not placed there, in some cases because there was no accommodation. How could the Committee advise the DBE to push them to place the teachers? At times it boiled down to the recruitment strategies. Were more teachers than needed produced in some provinces, or was the recruitment strategy irrelevant? For example, in KZN most teachers were from urban areas and therefore did not fit into rural areas and thus did not want to be placed there. How could this be fixed? It came down to shaping specialisation.
Referring to specialisation for special needs, out of the 21% of educators that were produced, how many would be able to help with the demand for teachers in special schools, because the Committee would like to cover that area and to see it in the statistics. Students for different special needs were needed. There was not enough support staff, such as therapists, in the districts. What plans were there to look at the need for support staff in schools and districts?
She said the point to strengthen African languages was good, and wanted to know how far its implementation had gone. The Committee had heard some provinces had started and some had not due to a lack of funding. What was the timeframe to implement the ITE? She asked whether in-service institutions were among the 98 key stake holders that SACE was consulting. SACE had said 50% of the consultations had been done, but when would it reach 100%? Unless it reached 100%, implementation could not take place. When was the SA Qualifications Authority (SAQA) going to recognise SACE, because without recognition the entity’s hands were tied, because SACE’s work was very important? As the “New Teacher Induction: Guidelines for the Orientation Programme” booklet had been approved, she asked about the website so the Committee could view it.
The entity had said there was induction, orientation and one year programme -- was Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) included in the induction, and was the programme for a whole year? The entities’ ambition was to implement it in 2020 April, but in the meantime, how far was CPTD? Lastly on maths and physics, the DBE had targeted 12 districts. What were the names of the districts and how were they selected? The Committee always complained that Gauteng was always the province focused on, and other provinces and rural areas were delayed. What criteria had been used to select those districts?
Ms H Boshoff (DA) said she was very happy to see the DBE, DHET, and SACE were producing so many teachers, but she was afraid that they were also just chasing figures. She asked that the entities provide a report to show what the teachers’ respective fields of expertise were and whether they were placed in their proper places of expertise. She also asked what was being done to retain teachers, and what the dropout rate of the student teachers. The trilateral panel had said the Funza Lushaka bursary remained important in all spheres of training, so she was glad to see the concentration on ECD and special needs. However, a report needed to be made on how many qualified and specialised ECD practitioners existed, and how many were at the national qualifications (NQ)4 level, and how many specialised special needs teachers were there, including the neurological aspect, the Braille and the blind. The report must also include the issue of the coordination between DBE and provinces.
In one of the issues of The Economist, it had been stated that the South African education system was one of the worst in the world, coming second to last in one rating. The economy could not grow without qualified educators, and it was sad to see the production of qualified teachers was being prioritised only now. A whole generation had already been lost. With regards to the 11 Funza Lushaka and neurological needs, was it only the University of Johannesburg (UJ) that was providing the course? Could it not be extended to other provinces and institutions, as some students who perhaps would like to do the course would be prohibited due to not having the means to go to UJ.
She agreed it was good to strengthen African languages, but how many teachers were able to teach in their mother tongue? The presentation had touched on strengthening specials needs and inclusive education, but teachers needed to be capacitated. Often children were pushed into a corner, as the teacher was not able to deal with a special needs child due to the class being too big and the fact that he or she had not received support and training from the district. How many teachers were in the special needs profession already?
Teaching was based on an ethical commitment to the well-being of learners, but the DBE and SACE needed to look at different ways of enforcing discipline for learners and teachers, to ensure safety for both of them. In the past few years there had been too many attacks on teachers, so a solution to this problem must be found. Often learners were placed in detention, but they were looking for it because they could do whatever they wanted to do during that suspension time. Could the Committee be advised whether the 98 stakeholders had been vetted? What had been the outcome of stakeholder meetings?
Reading was indeed crucial but unfortunately most teachers read, but the children could not identify with the pictures or the words, as teachers were not qualified to teach reading. Studies had shown that 75% of Grade 4 learners were practically illiterate and were not numeracy competent. They must be taught the basics of vowels. If a child did not know the basics of a vowel, then he or she would definitely not make it.
Lastly, what did the student training entail, and what was the outcome? Where were the underperforming districts? How many student teachers did repeats each year, and how many had applied for an additional year after completing their four years to further their studies?
Mr A Botes (ANC) said the development of teachers as outlined by the National Development Plan needed to produce a contingent of teachers who loved teaching and were able to teach. That was a requirement not only in South Africa, but all around the world. Initial teacher education was about the initial selection process -- the entry point. South Africa was a developing nation, when children made specific subject choices at grade 9 level, parents and the education system should encourage them to choose subjects or skills that were needed, such as science, maths and languages. What was the spread of funding in these three subjects? There was a deficit in the overall approach as the streaming did not start at the secondary level of education. Higher education was the key service provider, and there must be a dialectical relationship between the key service provider and the biggest employer of teachers, which was the government schools.
He was of the opinion that when one studied to become a teacher, it was a fairly easy process, but the academic achievement rates painted another story. The presentation indicated that enrolments in 2016 were 122 000, but graduates were only 23 000. What was the relationship between those two figures? Was the 23 000 graduate figure a result of the intake of 2011? There had been 74 000 applicants but only 13 000 had met the minimum requirements, which meant there was a quite a stringent selection process. What was the pass percentage? There were also issues about Masters and Doctorate studies. It was best to start by looking at those who were successful in their undergraduate degrees, and they should be the first to receive funding to further their studies.
He referred to the window of opportunity for ECD, from pregnancy to 23 months, -- basically a 1 000-day window. However, if it was from inception, was it not an additional burden being placed on the mother? He suggested that the wording should be changed to “from the point of birth to 23 months”. He was happy about the interest in ECD, as the Committee had a particular interest in formalising that sector to give children a jumpstart if the parents could afford it. The DBE had only just introduced ECD practitioners, which was not really the same as other educational qualifications.
Regarding CPTD, was there an additional membership body to rate the teachers? SACE was supposed to administer professional teachers, but SAQA had said the entity was not capable because of a lack of accreditation. What could be done about that? Later, resources might be taken away to minimise wasteful expenditure. When could the Council get accredited?
The Chairperson asked why SACE was not being recognised by SAQA. When was something going to be done so that the entity was fully part of the system? Another issue was that SACE had said that by 2030 it would have produced sufficient teachers. Given the number of institutions offering initial teacher education, would the country not lack teachers when looking at those who would be going on pension in two to three years? Was the entity matching sufficient teachers with quality? The country needed good quality teachers.
On the improvement of reading, to what extent was it being taken seriously by teachers on the ground? Did they have sufficient time to implement, and what monitoring was being done to ensure that they were implementing? How effective was the emerging evidence base to ensure the improvements regarding reading were happening? Equipping educators with skills for the fourth industrial revolution involved IT. To what extent were rural areas being taken into account? So far, only two or three provinces had begun implementation.
Trilateral panel’s response
Mr Coetzee said that to match supply and demand, the teacher recruitment system must be looked at it in a realistic way. One must know the extent of the need and work on figures emanating from the schools. Schools must be able to give figures of shortages at the provincial and national level so that subject areas were targeted to replace teachers. Teacher attrition was 3%, which was not more than the international trend, and the DBE was delving more deeply into the study of supply and demand, to get a sense of what the need for teachers was. On the question, “what incentives were provided for teachers to remain in rural areas”; there was a policy on rural incentives but it was implemented differently in each province. It was an area that needed to be strengthened, with a more uniform approach to implementation.
A question often asked was, how realistic was it to attract young, newly qualified teachers into rural areas? They were often not married yet, possibly dating at point of graduation, had particular needs for clothing and so forth, so rural areas were not attractive to them. There was a community-based teacher recruitment programme, but it was very difficult to move a young person to a rural community, even if that person had grown up in the community. International reports indicated that it sometimes worked better to take the more experienced teachers to teach in those areas, as they already had established families and it could be easier for such families to settle in a rural area. It was about having the right information and forward planning through the teacher supply and demand study, and to make sure there were incentives.
Regarding teachers for special needs, it must be taken into consideration that it takes four years to produce a qualified teacher. UJ had been the first to include a special needs aspect in their Bachelor of Education (B Ed) programme, with a focus on neurological needs. Funza Lushaka had funded students in their first year that would follow that particular programme, and 11 students had been funded for that particular programme. The bursary had not funded in other universities, such as the University of Pretoria (UP) and University of Witwatersrand (Wits), because they had not included a special needs aspect in their B Ed programmes, but, as soon as a university incuded it, Funza Lushaka would fund students from that university. An obstacle was that unfortunately Funza Lushaka could fund only the B Ed degree or the Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), as it did not fund one-year course programmes.
Dr Whitfield Green, Chief Director: Teaching, Learning and Research Capacity Development, DHET assured the Committee that the DBE was trying not to chase numbers, as Ms Boshoff had suggested. He focused on the issue of size, shape and substance, which led to the focus on quality of teachers while enough teachers were being produced. The DBE was trying to work in a more complex way to match the teacher supply and demand. The teacher supply study was very important, because for the first time the DBE would be able to form an enrolment plan that did not just talk to numbers, but addressed the numbers, phases and subject specialisations -- it would be nuanced enough to give that kind of information. It would help to shape the outputs of teacher education much more in line with the system needs.
He referred to the throughput rate, and said it was no use expanding numbers if people were clogging up the system by either dropping out or taking too many years to complete their studies. The DHET had the ability to do cohort studies, to track students and see the progression of those who took too long studying. While it was heartening that the cohort studies showed a better throughput rate in the B Ed degree compared to a whole other range of other courses, it was still not satisfactory. He recalled that the figure was about a 60% throughput rate for a cohort of students in the B Ed degree after eight years, which including UNISA studies. Generally in other programmes, throughput rates were lower; generally 50%, so there was a whole range of initiatives that the DHET was putting in place, such as the University Capacity Development programme, to improve throughput rates and decreasing dropout rates.
Overall, a lot of good changes have been happening over time. He referred to Mr Botes’s comments on the 122 000 enrolments in 2016, but graduates being only 23 000, and said this referred to the total number of enrolments in the system in comparison to the graduates. The headcount was divided by the graduates and it gave one a concept called “graduation rate”. It was a very misleading concept, and a more useful one would be to take the students in their fourth year and divide that number by the graduates -- that would lead to a more realistic answer. There were many more students in first and second year, and attention should be given to the number of drop outs to address the distortion of the results. An ideal graduation rate was 25%, and the actual was 20 %, so it was not too far off.
Ms Boschoff had raised research questions that needed to be taken up. For example, how many teachers were actually specialised to teach in the special needs area? It would inform the entity’s supply issues over areas like ECD, such as what kind of qualifications the ECD practitioners in the system had, and how they could be put on a development path so that it aligned with their qualifications. All these issues needed to be looked into.
Mr Coetzee gave an example of the throughput of the Funza Lushaka bursary. He said an evaluation had done on Funza Lushaka for the period of 2007-2012. It had been found that 81% of students had completed their B Ed within four years. Funza Lushaka took a lot of heart from that because it meant the high selection criteria were contributing to a better calibre of students at the universities.
Dr Mathey answered the question about teachers who were redundant, with old qualifications. She said if teachers fell into that space, and their qualifications were not up to standard, they could do a B Ed if they wanted to and ask for recognition of prior learning. However, if they were misplaced and they wanted to continue teaching in an area they were not specialised in, there was a policy on minimum requirements which also had a programme that gave them the opportunity to actually specialise in the subject they were teaching.
Everyone was excited about the teaching practice implementation protocol, and wanted it to be implemented before the teaching practice started next year. However, the DHET could not make it mandatory for the provinces to actually implement it. They were working to develop the protocol, and were going to be discussing it and presenting it at the indaba.
On the issue of too many teachers and the dialectical relationship between the key service provider and the biggest employer of teachers, which was the government schools, there was a body that DHET, DBE, the provinces, SACE, trade unions and other stakeholders, which met twice a year in each province. It was called the Provincial Teacher Education Development Committee, and it had a relationship with the universities, and it assisted in trying to establish what the needs were, so that the universities could work with the provinces around those particular needs. That was the whole purpose of the PTDC -- for stakeholders to come together make sure that supply and demand, and continuous professional development and initial teacher education, were all looked at as part of one sector.
The University of Johannesburg had centres which were spoken of as hubs. They were the centres for specialisation. They developed programmes, videos and short films, and then other universities that were interested in wanting to offer that specialisation could liaise with that centre of excellence to ask for material. If they needed to re-specialise, there were postgraduate programmes that would allow them to specialise. Of course, across the 449 schools, as Dr Green indicated, a study needed to be conducted to see if the teachers in those schools were qualified and if not, to see how they could be offered a specialisation to help them in that particular area.
She moved on to answer the question of ECD regarding the first 1 000 days. The policy that had been gazetted in 2017 laid down minimum requirements for quality teacher education in early care education, and offered opportunities for caregivers, facilitators and practitioners to strengthen what they might have at the NQF level 4 or 5 by undertaking a professional qualification which was listed in that particular policy document. The entity had been very pleased by the collaboration between the universities in developing programmes which would be on offer in 2020, as well as the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges, which offer NQF 1, 2, 3 and 4 for the practitioners and the caregivers, as well the community education training (CET) colleges and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). What was currently being worked on with SAQA and stakeholders, such as the Department of Social Development (DSD) was to see how the caregivers and practitioners were articulated into a professional qualification.
Dr Granville Whittle, Deputy Director General: Educational Enrichment Services, DBE, referred to the redundancy of teachers that was common in KZN. He said part of the problem was that the teachers did not meet the curriculum needs of the schools, and they were quite old and close to retirement. It was therefore hard to decide if reskilling and training from scratch should be provided for them knowing that the moment one finished training them they could leave the system, so the DBE was trying to work with the province to find creative ways to deal with that. The public service had no retrenchment tool at the moment. In the current round of negotiations it had been introduced, but the unions had rejected it, so it was a particular problem to KZN that the DBE would try to address.
The issue of therapists for schools was a bigger problem than education, as were not enough skills in the quantities that were required. In 2017, the Eastern Cape had applied for 52 educational psychologists, and in the end they had been able to appoint only 12. In Rwanda they had consciously developed skills for auxillary services after the genocide, like therapists at schools to help children who were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Maybe that was a model that could be looked at also in South Africa.
The website where the booklet could be found, as requested by Ms Basson, was education.gov.za.
On maths and physics, the DBE had targeted 12 districts and the ones targeted had been the worst performing in the NSC exams in maths and science. Most of them, seven or eight, were in the Eastern Cape,while a few were in KZN and another in Limpopo. A list would be sent to the Committee.
On ECD, there were about 24 000 teachers in the system and of those, about 5 000 were qualified in ECD. At the moment, training programmes were being offered for these 24 000 practitioners, some though did not even have Matric. This was a rather difficult challenge, because the DBE was hoping to implement a new policy next year. There had been a discussion around the 0-4 age period with the Department of Social Development which had been about moving the function with its budget to the DBE. The notion of pregnancy was important. The health status was important for learning, especially in the first 1 000 days. In places like the Northern Cape, there were high levels of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) due to what some parents do during pregnancy. All of that impacted on the development of the child in the first 1 000 days.
At the DBE’s annual report briefing, the DG had spoke about discipline issues. After the meeting, the DBE and DHET had planned to meet to talk about what could be done jointly to improve the skills level of teachers, as it was an important area of teaching and learning.
On ICT in the rural provinces, the Eastern Cape was catching up fast. Laptops and tablets had been provided to teachers. Provinces were at different stages of development, and it was heartening to see the Eastern Cape catch up.
Ms Mokgalane referred to SAQA recognition, and said the NQF Act required all professional councils to be recognised by SAQA so that the professional organisations could continually have the professional development which was mandatory, and it needs to be linked to the process of registration. Secondly, all professional councils must develop professional designations, which were something foreign in the education sector. Most professional councils, like the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) would have those certified designations. There were sticky issues around recognition. The administrative issues were easy, but the challenges were firstly around the designation, as the professionals were asking what was in it for them - did it come with additional remuneration or not, and so forth. Secondly the culture of professional development in the schools was also a challenge. Then in terms of mandatory continuous professional development, linking it to re-registration, the unions had begun to disagree as they worried about what would happen to the teachers that did not satisfy the requirements. The process outlined was that one must participate for three years and if a teacher did not reach 150 points, they would give them a one-year grace period, and if after that they failed to comply, their membership would be discontinued.
Part of the 98 stakeholder sessions had been about how the collective in the teaching profession began to agree with those things. Although the letter of intent had been submitted, until such time that SACE and SAQA agreed with regards to the issue of re-certification and the professional designation, there would not be any progress. However, out of the professional consultations that had already taken place, some of the sticky issues were beginning to be settled so that by 2020, the submission would be done. It would be easy for the newly qualified to be certified. The challenge was that the bulk of practising educators were seeing a threat arising from the whole process of certification. It was an issue of mind-set and a change that needed to be worked on closely with the stakeholders so that fear was not brought into the teaching profession.
Part of the recertification was also about fitness to practise. SACE said from next year onwards, police clearance would be required to vet those who wanted to register, but those who were already practising must also be dealt with. The challenge was now that if some criminal offences had been suspected and SACE finds one guilty, did it mean that those teachers would be chucked out of the system? Her point was that SACE, SAQA and the unions needed to agree on certain issues before they could move forward to receive recognition from SAQA. The process must be finalised by 2020.
In-service training institutions were part of the CPTD system. The nine provinces were part of it, and by implication the 124 teacher development centres, plus district centres that were dealing with continuous teaching development, would be part of that particular approval process.
On the requirements for promotions, one of the issues was that currently the requirement came from the employers, and the requirement was only membership to SACE, and obviously the necessary qualification for the promotion. One of the things the Department was working on was a qualification for aspiring principals, which was an Advanced Diploma in Education. It was reaching finalisation so that when new principals come into the picture, they would have attained the qualifications.
On the issue of enforcement of discipline, it was reported in the last meeting that the Minister had called a “Safety in Schools” summit held on 12 October, which was attended by many stakeholders across departments and also outside the teaching profession. A lot of processes and resolutions had come up, and it was the responsibility of all stakeholders to go back and implement them. The DG and the Minister said by the same time next year, a review must take place to see how much had been implemented. She said the issue was a challenge and a complex one. She was personally dealing with the enforcement of legislation within education, especially around discipline and ethical issues. Despite the fact that there was legislation, there were still challenges involving matters other than the legislation. SACE needed to come up with lot of processes and resolutions to be implemented. From SACE’s own CPTD programmes, there were close to 50 or more positive discipline and restorative justice programmes that had to be rolled out to educators. Violence was due to three things -- physical assault, sexual abuse and verbal abuse. Unless thorough research was done to understand the complexities and issues, solutions would not be appropriate. The professional teaching standards were about to be gazetted, and a strong message on ethical teaching needed to be sent, that teachers were accountable to the public and to their learners.
The Chairperson thanked the delegation for their responses.
Mr L Mnguni (ANC) said it must be agreed upon that there was a challenge in education system. There were disparities in practice. Was there any way to ensure that more time was given to aspirant teachers for practice? One must have an advanced diploma for a promotion, what else were they looking at? What about previous achievements? The points system had been spoken about for a long time -- when was SACE going to start with that? The Committee had not seen finality on that yet. Was there any way to bring the training colleges back? There was no synergy between colleges.
Dr Green said the debate around practice and theory had been going on for a long time. There was strong motivation for colleges to be integrated. The majority of teachers in the system were college-trained teachers. It was not an easy issue but it needed to be addressed and the weaknesses must be revealed. Universities had autonomy but also they had to be publicly accountable. The teaching practice must be integrated into the curriculum. Steps were being taken to emphasise teaching practice. Going forward, there might be a need for new institutions, as UNISA could not produce so many teachers on its own.
Dr Whittle replied that university-trained teachers were much better, but a lot of work had been done at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), as they had integrated practice into their curriculum. There was a lack of skills due to lack of practice in universities. Regarding school leadership, a bad principal meant a bad performing school. The DBE had worked with the Labour Relations Council to have a performance contract to hold principals accountable and to check performance. Principals had different skill levels and capacities. The advanced diploma was to encourage them to upgrade their skills, but it was not a precondition for their promotion or employment.
Ms Mokgalane said that in the 2017/18 annual report, it had been reported that there were about 340 000 teachers who had now signed up for the CPTD system, and the members agreed that there had been progress made with regards to that particular programme. The programmes were running, but the only challenge was the lack of consequence management systems being linked to the recertification and re-registration. There would be some who would not take it seriously due to the lack of punitive measures. Through teacher professionalisation processes and consultations, SACE was trying to bring teacher unions on board so that they could see the benefits of agreeing to consequence management.
The meeting was adjourned.