We can’t wait for 25 years for good teachers
The SA Council of Educators (Sace), the professional body for teachers, told City Press this week about its plans to professionalise the occupation.
The measures the organisation is devising include provisionally registering teachers fresh out of university and completing their registration once they have proven they can do the job in the classroom.
Sace also plans to have different levels of registration for career teachers, who will be promoted to top posts, including principal and head of department, only if they have proven they can do the job for which they are applying.
This is fantastic news and moves to professionalise the teaching occupation and improve the standards of teaching in the country are long overdue. However, it comes with a catch. Sace CEO Rej Brijraj told City Press they would consider implementing competence tests for established teachers, but these had long been resisted by the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union, which has consistently resisted attempts to weed bad teachers out of classrooms.
For those teachers already in the system, Sace is piloting a programme aimed at encouraging them to develop themselves professionally, and they will have to earn 150 points over a three-year period to maintain their registration.
However, teachers can score points not just by attending training programmes to improve their teaching, but by attending staff meetings at their schools – something that should, in all fairness, be a basic requirement. They can also score points by attending union meetings – where improving teacher quality may not necessarily be top of the agenda.
Brijraj said it would “take a generation” (that’s about 25 years) to implement the proposed reforms. But considering how shocking pockets of our school system is, do we really have that long to wait?