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TALIS training empowers provincial coordinators

A two-day training session on the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) took place at the DBE building in Pretoria from 8 to 9 May 2024. The training was conducted by the National Assessment Directorate and was attended by Provincial TALIS Coordinators and relevant DBE officials. TALIS is the largest and most in-depth international survey about teachers and their working conditions, managed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The aim of the survey is to fill key international and national data gaps in terms of teachers, teaching and the impact that teachers have on learning. It provides an opportunity for teachers and school principals to give their input into education analysis and policy development in key policy areas. International comparisons from TALIS will allow participants to identify common challenges and to learn from other policy approaches.

South Africa's (SA) initial participation in TALIS, as the only African country, was in 2018. The first TALIS cycle was in 2008. In 2024, SA will participate in TALIS for the second time, joining 58 countries from six continents. The level SA participates in, is International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) Level 2, lower secondary, an equivalent of Grades 8 and 9. The ISCED is a standard framework used to categorise and report cross-nationally comparable education statistics. Within the ISCED level 2, SA selected to take part in the Core Survey and Teacher Knowledge Survey (TKS) which is a new module in TALIS. The survey is sample-based, and 401 schools were sampled to take part in 2024. Within the sampled school only teachers teaching Grades 8 and 9 will take part. The survey is conducted online.

Core survey comprises of two questionnaires, the Principal (completed by the school head) and the Teacher Questionnaire (completed by the sampled teacher). The TKS questionnaire is only completed by teachers. The difference between the Core Survey and TKS is: The Core Survey collects information primarily related to five policy issues such as Teacher recruitment, selection and preparation; Professional development; Teacher practice; School-level policies and practices shape the learning environ­ment and impact the work of teachers; and Teacher and principal job satisfaction. TKS collects information on teachers’ knowledge and is general pedagogical knowledge, which can be described as teachers’ specialised knowledge for creating and facilitating effective teaching and learning environments for all learners, independent of the subject being taught.

“The TKS is not an individual assessment for teachers; it aims to better understand what teachers on average know about pedagogy and how this contributes to their teaching and learners’ learning,” said Ms Dikeledi Mathebe from the National Assessment Directorate.

According to the KwaZulu-Natal Coordinator, the challenges faced in the province delayed certain TALIS preparation activities, as she stated, "Schools resistance was highlighted by not handing over survey Teacher Listing forms on time, hence we had to request contact details from provincial districts, due to the POPI Act." However, it is thought that such hurdles would be overcome by TALIS Coordinators working together. The North West Province Coordinator stated that, “the training content was informative as it clarified processes to be followed, unpacking of the training manual and the administration and monitoring”.

In closing, Ms Mathebe expressed her gratitude for the presence of all attendees and their feedback saying: “We will continue to work together in identifying common challenges and improving education policies, these sessions were informative and well-presented and we are looking forward to feedback as the provincial coordinators share this survey with TALIS coordinators, teachers and principals”.

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