You failed! Principals battle to pass teaching course
What's more, a lot of teachers haven't been doing their homework
About three quarters of principals and deputy principals who participated in a teacher development programme have failed to achieve the minimum score required.
A system known as Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD), is administered by the SA Council for Educators (Sace) and is aimed at improving teaching and management styles.
Sace has set aside R16m for its administration this year.
Teachers are expected to achieve a minimum of 150 professional development points within three years by participating in a range of activities.
But almost 75% of principals and deputy principals – 3,458 out of 4,628 – who participated failed to achieve the minimum points in the stipulated three-year period.
The three categories of tasks for which teachers are awarded points include those that are self-chosen, school-initiated and those organised by the education department or service providers.
For example, a self-chosen task could include reading an educational article from a magazine, newspaper, journal, research paper or website, with teachers who read a minimum of four of these being awarded 10 points a year.In an article published in the April edition of Educator’s Pulse, a Sace in-house publication, the author expresses disappointment over the results of the first group of principals and deputy principals who participated in the CPTD system from 2013 to 2016.
“It is equally disappointing to note that the majority of the first group either did not participate in the system or participated but did not reach the expected minimum of 150 professional development points,” the article stated.
“This happened even after the council extended the reporting period to June 30 2017, mobilised teacher unions and the South African Principals Association to organise support sessions and also developed and implemented the acceleration plan to support them, which unfortunately very few attended.”
Despite the poor results, Sace has set itself an ambitious target of getting more than 158,000 teachers, heads of department, deputy principals and principals to complete self-initiated professional development tasks this year and a further 174,639 next year.
It has earmarked R16m for the implementation of CPTD this year.But Anthea Cereseto, an education consultant and former headmistress of Parktown Girls High in Johannesburg, who strongly supports the CPTD system, believed that the problem was largely an administrative one.
“Principals and deputy principals struggle to upload their points onto the Sace system electronically. When I submitted points, I couldn't do it electronically and I had to e-mail them to Sace.”
“There’s more than 400,000 teachers and the system is enormous and requires a lot of manpower. I don't know whether Sace is sufficiently human-resourced to carry it out.”
Cereseto said that another problem was that there were not enough relevant programmes for teachers that were offered free of charge.
“There are programmes that teachers can access. They look on the Sace website for programmes and service providers but somebody has to pay the service provider. Sometimes providers do it quite cheaply and others are very expensive.”
She said that the idea behind CPTD was that teachers would choose programmes to improve their own knowledge to help them become better teachers or managers.
“But quite often they don’t choose those programmes. They just choose programmes that are easily accessible to accumulate a lot of points although they [the programmes] are not particularly relevant.”Sace spokesperson Themba Ndhlovu said there was a misconception that the process “leads to extra administrative work”.
He said schools and external providers were also not reporting activities that teachers had participated in to Sace.
He said they were getting feedback from teachers while visiting schools.
“Some say they are leaving the system in the next three years, so why should they participate in it.”
He said the council had taken a decision not to impose punitive measures on teachers who did not participate.
“The rationale was that we are registering professionals. Why should we then move from the premise that says they are not going to comply? Can we give them a fair chance for them to get used to the system and understand the implications of the new system?”
Ndhlovu said that the CPTD system will be reviewed at the end of next year, adding: “The review will not be considering stopping the implementation of the system. It will be informing the strategy for the next phase.”