Any efforts aimed at improving teacher education and development would only be successful if it were a collaborative effort by South Africa’s education stakeholders.
The framework outlines a 15-year roll-out of improved and expanded teacher education and development opportunities with the aim of improving the quality of teaching and learning in schools. It is a collaborative effort of the DBE; the Department of Higher Education and Training; teacher unions; the Education Labour Relations Council; the South African Council for Educators; the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority and the Higher Education South African Education Deans’ Forum.
Addressing the launch, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said that the competence levels of teachers in subject knowledge and teaching skills is a key variable in the improvement of the schooling system.
“Our targets on teacher development include consistently attracting increased numbers of young qualified teachers; filling vacant posts; achieving the appropriate number of hours teachers spend in professional development activities; reducing teacher absenteeism and ensuring full coverage of the curriculum.”
As a means of achieving this goal, the DBE aims to establish the National Institute for Curriculum and Professional Development, which will be responsible for developing a system for teachers to identify their development needs and access quality development opportunities to address these needs.
However, Minister Motshekga was adament that while the framework was not yet finalised, “we have no luxury of waiting for the long process.”
Already substantial work is being done. “Recruitment of teachers has improved considerably. Higher Education institutions have indicated that they have received high quality applications. Their intake has increased by close to 40%, in part due to the Funza Lushaka bursary programme, explained Motshekga.
“The Funza Lushaka programme has already produced close to 5534 teachers in only four years. For the 2009/2010 cycle the DBE and the provinces have invested more than R714-million on the development of teachers.”
The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande told the audience that the challenge now shifts from producing the framework to implementing it.
“This challenge should not be understimated,” said Minister Nzimande. “We must ensure that the collaboration that characterised the development of the planning framework is continued in its implementation”.
“This is not a DBE plan. Its not a DHET plan. Its not a teacher union plan. It is our plan!”
Nzimande went on to say that a target had been set to produce 12000 new teachers annually by 2014.
Pictures from the launch