Teaching standards to professionalise the teaching profession

“Once recruited, it is important to train and empower teachers in preparation for the system and programmes to meet minimum standards,” said Mr Enoch Rabotapi, Chief Director for Education Human Resources Development and Curriculum and Professional Development during the Teacher Professionalisation Indaba, hosted by the DBE in Pretoria on 12 October 2018. The lndaba offered a platform for different stakeholders to disseminate available research on the Education Sector and engage in conversations on teacher professionalisation as a whole. The main objective of the lndaba was to share current research and future initiatives planned for quality teacher professional development and teaching standards. 

The main topics on the agenda included deliberating the recommendations for the Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme (FLBP) Improvement Plan, as well as the draft Professional Teaching Standards for Teachers and Phase Specialists which will be available in English, isiZulu, Sepedi and Afrikaans.

Mr Rabotapi mentioned that the FLBP had to be evaluated to assess whether the Programme was operating as intended, evaluating both the appropriateness and the effectiveness of its key deliverables for operational efficiency. Research indicated that the teacher development master plan had to be strengthened to ensure that the Programme was recruiting the ideal candidates. Mr Rabotapi also shared current work on the development of a draft SADC Regional Framework for Teacher Professional Standards and Competencies and possible policy implications for teacher professionalisation.

A panel of experts representing teacher unions, the South African Council for Educators (SACE), Jet Education Services and the University of the Witwatersrand under Dr James Keevy, shared the stepping stones towards the development of the professional teaching standards for the South African content in a multi-stakeholder perspective. “The Lighthouse idea points the way towards three dimensions in respect of standards. Teachers should be building communities in their classrooms, in their profession and within their communities. Teachers must also possess the necessary competencies and content and pedagogical knowledge required. Continuous assessment, self-reflection and self-appraisal are also required,” explained Dr Keevy.

Mr Gerrit Coetzee, Director for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) said that, “It was important to rethink the role of incentive programmes such as the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme within the context of free Higher Education, and to explore policy options to ensure sustainability”. Five options were shared with the Indaba ranging from expanding the District and Community Based Teacher Recruitment programme and meeting the emerging priorities of Early Childhood Care and Education, Inclusive Education, the Three Streams Model and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Indaba fuelled deliberations and provided useful insights resulting in a high level summary of areas of collaboration for further research, and key areas for collaboration in teacher development.

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