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Speech by the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, delivered at the Opening Ceremony of the University Accredited Blended Learning Course held at the University of Johannesburg, 11 July 2016

Programme Director 

Provincial officials,

Subject Advisers and NECT Curriculum Coaches

NECT Specialists on Learning Programmes and Trackers

Subject Advisers

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives a great pleasure to be given an opportunity to participate in this NECT training of Subject Advisers and NECT Curriculum Coaches.

As you already aware, the objective of this intervention, under NECT teacher professionalization programme is to increase curriculum coverage at the appropriate depth as required by CAPS. We seek to do this through the use of materials (Teacher Toolkits), teacher training and in-school teacher support.  Curriculum coverage is measured by comparing the number written exercises assigned by teachers with the minimum number of exercises prescribed by CAPS.

Programme Director, we have to do more to ensure universal curriculum coverage in our schools. The picture painted by the NECT Monitoring is not encouraging. The team found that curriculum content coverage is still below the CAPS requirements. For example in a province - for Mathematics in the content area of Number Operations in Grade 4 in 2015 (Term 1- 4) the average curriculum content coverage was at 26 exercises completed out of the CAPS norm of 85 exercises for the year (30%) and for 2016 (term 1-2) at the current rate it is likely that 68% of the curriculum content will be covered.

One of the critical factors that often reduce curriculum coverage is loss of teaching days. Therefore, from a management perspective there is a need to protect at least 170 days of teaching time. Punctuality and attendance (time on task) has to be constantly monitored through the use of appropriate tools. This also necessitates communication between the school and home to facilitate parent involvement in schooling and education of their children.

The NECT Coaches work side by side with Subject Advisers to (a) introduce the Teacher Toolkit, (b) support teachers in its use and (c) facilitate routine use of the Toolkits.  To date 11 000 teachers are now using the Lesson Plans and Trackers.

The role of the Subject Advisers is critical in three respects namely - Firstly, Subject Advisers are part of the system and therefore have much to do to ensure sustainability of practices introduced by the NECT.

Secondly, Subject Advisers have the task of integrating the use of Teacher Toolkits into the existing Provincial and district teacher development programmes.

Thirdly, Subject Advisers have a critical role in replication of the use of Toolkits in the non-Fresh Start Schools, so that all schools in the NECT districts benefit from this innovation. To date 7428 teachers in non-Fresh Start Schools have been introduced to the Lesson Plans and Trackers.

The Provincial officials, while getting a deeper understanding of the innovation, are well positioned to scale-up the innovation to non-NECT districts in the province. The DBE works closely with NECT, Provinces and districts thus ensuring uniformity in implementation and provisioning of the Toolkits, starting with soft copies. It is encouraging to note that the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga have already commenced with replication and scaling up the use of Teacher Toolkits.

With regard to teacher support by Subject Advisers, the time has come to make better use of our resources. How do we use ICT in teacher support, apart from the conventional face-to-face in-school support? Subjects Advisers could look at the use of social media and apps such as “WhatsApp”, YouTube, and Virtual Professional Learning Communities.

The introduction of Learning Programmes or Teacher Toolkits requires self-reflection and conversations between teachers and their HODs in a school at least once per week. How will this work in small schools? How do we facilitate, build and support the habit of constant reflection and professional discussion amongst teachers on range of issues such as learner progress, curriculum coverage, teaching methods and assessment? Subject Advisers work in their Provinces to deal with such questions. This is also an opportunity for cross-district and cross-province collaboration to address some of the common questions raised in workshops you have been attending.

The task ahead is to increase the pace of curriculum coverage and quality learning and as Subject Advisers and NECT Coaches you have a crucial role to play. The fate of future generations of learners is in our hands.  We can ill-afford to fail them.

I thank you.

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Written By: WebMaster WebMaster
Date Posted: 7/14/2016
Number of Views: 1459

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