Professionalisation of the teaching profession


Among the key stakeholders involved in the professionalisation of teachers in South Africa are the Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education and Training, which provide initial teacher education, the South African Council for Educators (SACE), which is responsible for the registration of graduates as professional teachers, the management of the continuing professional development system for teachers, the upholding of the SACE Code of Professional Ethics (as amended) and the development of the  Professional Teaching Standards.

There is a widespread understanding that the state of schooling is influenced by the extent of teacher professionalism, but there is much debate about what exactly teacher professionalism is. In an effort to come to grips with this important issue, the SCNPDI set up a Task Team under the leadership of Professor John Volmink to conduct background research into the meaning of teacher professionalism and the professionalisation of the teaching occupation.  The Task Team conducted a literature review and focus group discussions involving educators, departmental officials, provincial authorities, academics and education stakeholders with a view to gathering relevant input that will help to improve the understanding and practice of teacher professionalisation and inform the development of a collective programme to address the issue.

Read the Task Team report: Understanding Teacher Professionalisation in South Africa.

More on Teacher Professionalistion can be found at: DBE Information for educators; The importance of professional teacher development; Professional Development; Teacher professional development: an international review of the literature.

At the school level, the South African education system is made up of various strata, from the teacher, to the In-school subject committee, to the cluster level. Continued professional development has to take place from the level of teachers upward.

The SCNPDI’s approach emphasises the role of individual teachers and their peers in professional development, and ensures that most of the responsibility for teacher development lies with the teachers themselves. It makes teacher development less of an offsite activity and a more concentrated, teacher led one.  It calls for greater involvement of teachers in their own professional development and more intensive interventions.

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© 2019 SADTU Curtis Nkondo Professional Development Institute