Minister of Basic Educations, Hon Angie Motsekga
Our Partners from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Represented by TALIS 2018 Report Conveners, Dr M Schwabe and Dr N Le Donne
Education International Representative, Mr M.J. Maluleke
Acting Director General, Dr G, Whittle and other Senior Official
Members from our Unions
Representatives from Education Entities
Members of the Penal Discussion
The Principal and Teaching Staff
Members of the School Governing Body (SGB)
Ladies and Gentleman
We meet here today, after President Cyril Rampaphosa in the State of the National’s Address and the subsequent debates in the National assembly, outlined the key priority areas of the this 6th Democratic Administration and Education, with the specific focus on reading for meaning was highlighted. The launch here today of the 2018 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) Country Report is an opportunity for us to gather critical information on how to take the right steps in further building the teaching profession in South Africa.
It is indeed worth nothing that, the representation of different stakeholders present at this gathering is a wonderful sign of the gains made in the education sector and the strengthening of our relations with Labour.
The Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) encourage nations through their education ministries to make meaningful strides towards all learners acquiring knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to establish sustainable and peaceful societies and to have the principled responsibility of ensuring that all learners are taught by qualified, professionally-trained, motivated and well-supported teachers.
The National Development Plan (NDP), which is our Master Plan as government, cautions that the noble aspirations of the SDG and quality education may not materialise if our education system does not overcome human capacity issues in teaching, develop effective management at district offices to offer school support, and minimise the lack of cooperation between key stakeholders.
As we enter into the 6th Administration, this caution will guide and commit us as a Department of Basic Education to make structured gains on improving the professionalism of teaching, create enabling support systems, and build social cohesion.
Andreas Schleicher, the OECD director, makes the point “we need to attract the best and brightest to the profession. Teachers are the key in today’s knowledge economy, where a good education is an essential foundation for every child’s future success.”
TALIS is an international large-scale survey of teachers, principals and the learning environment in schools. It uses questionnaires administered to teachers and their principals to gather rich data on critical factors affecting them. Its main goal is to generate internationally comparable information relevant to developing and implementing policies focused on teaching with an emphasis on those aspects that affect learners. A unique feature of the study is that it affords teachers and principals a voice on educational policy analysis and development in key areas.
The study celebrates teachers and principals as frontline actors in a rapidly changing education context, so it is important for them to share their opinions and input on policy matters and interventions affecting them.
In guiding the sector, TALIS is going to be useful in 3 ways. First, it will help policy makers review and develop policies that promote the teaching profession and the best conditions for effective teaching and learning. Secondly, TALIS findings will help teachers, principals, and education stakeholders to reflect upon and discuss their practice and find ways to enhance it. Thirdly, the study builds on past research while informing the future work of researchers.
The TALIS study is a collaboration between participating countries and economies, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an international research consortium, teachers’ unions and the European Commission. We are glad today to have in our presence an executive representative of Education International, which is the global representative body of teacher unions, Mr Mugwena Maluleke, who is also the General Secretary of SADTU. TALIS is an international study endorsed by teacher unions and we look forward to Mr Maluleke’s input on TALIS.
The first cycle of TALIS was conducted in 2008 and the second one was in 2013. The third round of TALIS in 2018 was the largest research study on teachers growing from 24 countries in 2008 to 48 countries in 2018.
South Africa was one of 48 countries to participate in the study and following the successful training of national, provincial and school coordinators, 2046 Grade 8 and Grade 9 teachers from 169 schools successfully participated in the study. It was encouraging that more than 90% of the expected teachers in South Africa agreed to participate. Again, a sign of a system, eager to grow and learn.
The historical trends in TALIS have shown a shortage of qualified well-performing teachers hindered the schools’ capacity to provide quality education. Teachers also indicated they needed more training in information and communication technology (ICT), special needs education, and teaching in diverse settings.
Teachers whose initial education included content, pedagogy and practice elements specifically for the subjects that they teach felt better prepared for their work than the teachers without this kind of training. These trends continue to feature prominently in the 2018 study.
Nine main themes were selected for inclusion in the TALIS 2018 survey, namely, teachers’ instructional practices; school leadership; professional practices; education and initial preparation; teacher feedback and development; school climate; job satisfaction; human resource issues and stakeholder relations; and teacher self-efficacy. Two cross-cutting themes were added to this list: innovation; and equity and diversity.
The findings of the study is comprehensively covered in the Country Report and readers will find extensive data on the key findings for South Africa, implications for policy that can be extracted from the third round of TALIS, how teachers and principals continuously adjust their practices to changing times and how they best support learners in the development of up-to-date cognitive and socio-emotional skills in our changing world. The Report also examines how initial training and continuous professional development could enhance the knowledge base dimension of teachers’ and principals’ professionalism to drive the success of teaching and learning.
The Country Note for South Africa provides a useful summary of the key findings and policy pointers for our local context. Each participant today, will receive these two reports in their packs.
Lon Watters, the famous teacher said that “a school is building that has four walls – with tomorrow inside”. Today, we are here, at Nelmapius Secondary School, a representation of the schooling system that we are trying to positively impact to better the lives of learners and a nation. The decisions, plans and policies we make must be grounded on “real” schooling contexts and translate into tangible gains in the system.
I therefore invite you to be an engaging audience on the TALIS findings and to be active participants in the deliberations today and going forward.