Private Educators & Trainers Association of South Africa

Shortage keeps poorly qualified teachers in place

The Department of Basic Education is stuck with more than 5,000 underqualified or unqualified teachers it cannot eliminate because of a tremendous shortage in teachers.

On Monday, department spokesman Elijah Mhlanga confirmed the figures, but said removing the unqualified teachers from the system would create a crisis.

Unqualified teachers were deemed to be those whose highest academic qualification was matric. They were allowed to teach only the subjects they passed in matric.

Underqualified teachers were those who had obtained post-matric qualifications, but have received fewer than three years of on-the-job training.

Mhlanga said teachers in this category created a poser for the department because they taught mathematics, the sciences and technology at all levels, as well as African languages, especially at foundation phase, making them crucial in the basic education system.

He also revealed these teachers were on the same salary scale as qualified colleagues.

“They are teaching in critical [areas] … where there is a shortage [of teachers],” Mhlanga said.

Many of the unqualified teachers, in particular, had been in the system for years and had experience, but did not meet the minimum qualification requirements, so the government was encouraging them to improve their qualifications. Most of these teachers were based in KwaZulu-Natal, one of the provinces worst affected by shortages.

South African Democratic Teachers Union spokeswoman Nomusa Cembi said on Monday that the affected teachers were not to blame for not meeting the department’s qualifications threshold because many had been trained under the old apartheid system.

“It is up to [the] government to develop these teachers who have been in the system for a long time,” Cembi said.

A Centre for Development and Enterprise report said that many South African teachers were ill-prepared for the profession, were not accountable and received insufficient support and training to equip them as competent teachers.

The centre recommended that the government provide high-quality training and meaningful professional support and development opportunities to teachers to enable them to improve their performance.

“Unless this happens, [teachers] cannot be held accountable for what they have never been taught or had the opportunity to learn,” the report concluded.

South African Council for Educators acting CEO Ella Mokgalane conceded that there were challenges in professionalising teaching.

These included inadequate capacity and a failure to clarify and separate professional matters from employment and labour relations issues.

Western Cape drives e-learning initiative

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) says its e-learning game changer initiative in the province is making headway.

This week, the WCED revealed the provincial government is currently connecting schools across the province to high-speed broadband via a wide area network (WAN) as part of the e-learning initiative.

In addition, local area networks and WiFi connectivity are being provided for almost every site and alternative connectivity is provided to schools that cannot connect to the fibre-optic grid.

The provincial education department says it is also progressively providing technology in schools by equipping smart classrooms and refreshing computer laboratories, providing devices, teacher training and support.

Commenting on the progress of the e-learning game changer, premier Helen Zille says: “We chose e-Learning as a game changer because of the potential to reduce the gap between poor and well-resourced schools, by improving access to the best education resources and support.

“The digital revolution is already affecting every aspect of life, including education. Digital technology has the potential to greatly enhance every aspect of schooling, from teaching and learning, to assessment, school management and parent support.”

Introduced in 2015, the e-learning game changer aims to equip learners with the skills to participate in the increasingly technology-based economy in the future.

E-learning has been identified as a tool that will assist increasing access to quality education in disadvantaged communities, providing support for struggling learners, contributing toward teachers’ training and professional development, and improving management and administration at schools.

As part of its e-learning game changer, the WCED is also working to ensure that every school in the province begins to feel the benefits and transformative nature of this exciting project.

“Over the game changer period, we will aim to ensure that every school is able to leverage off the WAN, which will be installed by the end of this year. Teachers and learners alike will have access to a new world of learning and sharing through the Internet. Smart or digitally enabled classrooms will be connected to the Internet. This will ensure that teachers benefit from the increasing volume of quality digital content available on our ePortal,” says Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schafer.

Parents resist mother tongue

Many black parents are preventing efforts aimed at educating their children in their mother tongue out of fear that this will adversely affect their future job prospects, according to Pearson Institute academic Dr Nhlanhla Thwala.

Thwala was responding to a presentation made by his colleague Brian Wafawarowa, the executive director for learning services at Pearson, during Edu Week – a two-day sub-Saharan Africa conference on education in Johannesburg.

Wafawarowa tabled a paper on exploring the importance of teaching, reading and writing in a mother tongue to improve literacy and education outcomes, and argued that this would create a conducive learning process.

However, he explained that his paper was not advocating for English to be dumped.

He said studies showed that children who were introduced to their mother tongue in grades one to three and gradually introduced to English from Grade 4 performed better.

“Mother tongue usage can improve literacy in education and improve learning outcomes. The use of African languages can improve productivity in the workplace and enhance social cohesion.

“To achieve this, the role of African languages in education, society and the workplace needs to be affirmed beyond the education system,” Wafawarowa explained.

Thwala said: “This is an elephant in the room. Because of the country’s colonial past, parents still view English as the only language that will get their children into top jobs.”

He said the will of parents not to steer a school in this direction always won whenever thorough discussions about the topic took place in schools.

Status quo

City Press spoke to parents to find out what they thought about Wafawarowa’s call.

Monde Duma, whose wife took Gonubie Primary School in East London to court in 2012 over a language policy dispute to force the school to make isiXhosa an additional first language, said what happened in schools reflected power relations in society.

“In our case, there has never been an appetite to promote and develop our languages, even in this democratic dispensation.

“There is also a tendency for black parents to go along with the status quo by not advocating for meaningful change because of the energy and costs involved in pursuing such projects in an environment where the system is loaded against the black child and parent.”

He blamed former Model C schools, saying they manipulated the elections of school governing bodies, whereby a majority of white parents were elected into the body to defend the status quo.

“Later, the school governing body chairperson goes shopping for a pliant black parent who won’t challenge or advocate for the interests of the black child and parent, but will endorse decisions to legitimise those decisions in the eyes of all parents,” Duma said, adding that African languages were still not given the same status as English and Afrikaans.

“I actually would not blame a parent who thinks that these languages will not put bread on the table and allow their children to compete as equals in South African society.

“From a different perspective, they may be right because there is hardly anything in our society that has transformed – not our education or economy, and you cannot separate the two as they feed into each other,” Duma said.

Aretha Linden said she would like her children to be taught in isiXhosa, but, sadly, society was not so “welcoming” of non-English speaking people.

The standards set by society makes it hard for non-speaking English people to “make it”.

Scish Mtwesi said it was fruitless to learn an indigenous language because children might work in an environment where not a single person understood isiXhosa.

The Dumas lodged their court case at a time when a policy was being reviewed to introduce indigenous languages in schools.

Since then, Eastern Cape education authorities introduced isiXhosa and Sesotho as additional first languages in 372 former Model C schools across 22 districts.

Since 2012, Eastern Cape education department language policy manager Naledi Mbudeshale has spearheaded the project.

At the time, Mbudeshale noticed that former Model C schools’ governing bodies entrenched English as the language of instruction, learning and teaching, and relegated Afrikaans and isiXhosa to additional first languages.

The department provided schools there with a parallel option for a pupil to choose between the two, while English was treated as a home language.

Eastern Cape education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said that, after a successful pilot project, a decision was made to implement the changes.

How corruption is fraying SA’s social and economic fabric

South Africans are not happy. According to the recent Bloomberg’s Misery Index, South Africa is the second-most miserable country on earth. Venezuela tops the list of emerging countries.

This isn’t too surprising considering that the country is embroiled in multifaceted crises. It also has among the highest unemployment and inequality levels in the world.

Unfortunately, recent credit rating agency downgrades as well as the fact that the country is in recession mean that these horrid conditions are unlikely to reverse soon.

Consequently, the poor in South Africa have little chance of improving their lives. They will therefore be even more reliant on the provision of state services. They will also increasingly be on the receiving end of the two extractive systems that are deeply embedded in country’s socio-political and economic systems.

The first is the patronage and state capture machinery as recently documented in a report by leading academics. The effect of this corruption is that the capital allocated for service delivery is wasted, the private sector is crowded out, and the monopolising positions of dysfunctional state owned enterprises distort the economy.

The second is where state capture merges with patronage politics at local government level. This is accomplished by managing and staffing municipalities with unqualified party loyalists – or close associates – who disseminate services inefficiently from a shrinking pool of capital, while further extracting rents through a sub-layer of corruption.

The effect is that the poor must pay an additional tax in the form of bribes for access to mispriced and inefficient state services. In addition, as the looting via state capture and municipal corruption intensifies, service provision and delivery declines. This means that the poor are then subject to bribe inflation to gain access to shrinking capacity. Violent service delivery protests inevitably escalate.

Demographics and education

South Africa’s five year average economic growth rate declined from 4.8% over the 2004-2008 period to 1.9% over the 2009-2013 period. Between 2014 and 2016 it averaged 1.1%. At the same time irregular, wasteful, and unauthorised expenditure ballooned. It’s therefore not surprising that the number of violent protests increased from an average of 21 a year between 2004 and 2008 to 164 a year between 2014 and 2016.

Unfortunately, South Africa’s demographics and education statistics don’t suggest that this trend is likely to reverse soon.

South Africa’s youth statistics are depressing. Young people between the ages of 15 to 35 comprise 55% of the country’s 36 million working age population. Of the 19.7 million youths, only 6.2 million are employed while 3.6 million are unemployed but still actively looking for work, and 1.53 million have stopped looking for work. The remaining 8.4 million are at school, tertiary education, or are homemakers.

Youth unemployment is 36.9%. This is nearly double the unemployment rate among adults. Among black youth, 40% are unemployed compared to 11% of white youth.

Taking the level of education into consideration, 2011 data show that the unemployment rate for 25 to 35 year olds who had less than a matric was 47%, compared to 33% for those that had a matric, and 20% for those with a diploma or post-school certificate. But if one looks at the younger group of 20 to 24 year-olds, 16% are in school, 12% are in post-schooling education, 21% are employed, and 51% are unemployed and not in any education or training.

Considering that the percentage of black professional, managerial and technical workers in the 25 to 35 age bracket dropped by 2% over the past 20 years (meaning that this generation is less skilled than their parents), the statistics in the 20 to 24 age bracket indicates that this trend is likely to worsen.

Worryingly, studies show that countries, such as South Africa, that have a youth bulge and poor education attainment are likely to suffer from political instability. This is because if the demographic transition occurs in a stagnant economy with a high level of corruption then the low opportunity costs increase the likelihood of political violence by poorly educated young men.

Fixing systemic failures

South Africa’s current crisis is a systemic failure extending across national and local government. Although it’s possible that the political cost of corruption is now reaching unacceptable levels, reversing the effects of state decay on the poor will take short-run and long-run interventions.

Short-run measures will need to include holding public officials to account, reforming state owned enterprises and reversing the numerous institutional weaknesses at all levels of government.

But public and private stakeholders will also need to formulate long-run policies that will improve the quality and through-put of the country’s junior and secondary education systems, and entrench youth employment incentive schemes. In addition, skills training will need to be reformed and reinvigorated, and the technical vocational educational system will need to be reconstructed.

If South Africa is to recover, then the country’s badly frayed socio-economic fabric will need to be restitched, not just patched.

Education department gets EU funding to audit TVET colleges

PARLIAMENT – The Higher Education Department has sourced funding from the EU to audit and verify infrastructure at technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges, Minister Blade Nzimande has said.
Nzimande revealed this in a parliamentary response when he was asked about the maintenance of the infrastructure of colleges his department had reported to Parliament.

He said the report on college infrastructure was not yet available, but donor funding had been secured from the EU to undertake a full audit and verification.

“Due to challenges experienced with regards to the appointment of a service provider to assist with the audit, it is envisaged that the process will recommence during the third quarter of 2017,” Nzimande said.

His comments came after he said last week his department did not have information on how many beds were available, and applications received for student accommodation at the colleges at the start of this year.

He had also said a survey was being conducted to determine the number of beds available at the colleges. This was happening as no renovations were taking place, or planned at the colleges, because there was no budget for additional beds.

The only construction for student accommodation of 248 beds was at Umfolozi TVET college, which was funded through the National Skills Fund.

In an apparent effort to find funds for colleges, the department and National Treasury were investigating public-private partnerships in order to provide student housing at the colleges.

This is despite a total of R1.794billion being allocated to 21 universities for the construction or refurbishment of student housing projects for the period between this year and 2020.

The DA has described the situation at TVET colleges as a “crisis” that needed to be addressed if equal education was to be realised.

“The lack of accommodation is a serious problem given the crucial role that colleges should play in ensuring that young people receive technical and vocational training,” the DA’s Andricus van der Westhuizen said, adding that lack of student accommodation fuelled protests at the colleges.

Subsidy allocation

Asked about funding allocated to colleges, Nzimande said colleges were required to set aside 10% of their subsidy allocation to cover costs towards maintenance.

“It should be noted that since 2009, no earmarked capital infrastructure allocations have been received from National Treasury,” he said.

“Colleges are therefore expected to prioritise for the maintenance of infrastructure from their subsidy allocation, which is insufficient to provide for the effective maintenance and upkeep of infrastructure.”

The department allocated R1.1bn in subsidy for infrastructure in 2015-16, R1.2bn in 2016-17 and R1.3bn in the current financial year.

Children who move to the best schools add 28% to their maths marks

Pupils who transfer from a weak school to a top-performing institution improve their maths marks by 28%. And if they are black‚ their language scores go up 12%.

Researchers at Stellenbosch University say they have proved the link between good schools and high marks for the first time by following the same pupils in the Western Cape for six years.

In one group‚ they monitored test results in grades 3‚ 6 and 9‚ and in the other they followed pupils who were in Grade 6 in 2007 through to matric in 2013.

“The impact of attending a top-performing school for learners between grades 3‚ 6 and 9 is approximately a year’s worth of learning‚ based on mathematics test scores‚” said Marisa von Fintel and Servaas van der Berg‚ from the economics department at Stellenbosch.

The researchers used the Western Cape’s centralised education management information system to track the same pupils’ results even when they changed schools. They treated 347 of the province’s 1‚480 schools as top performers based on the results of standardised language and maths tests written at the end of grades 3‚ 6 and 9.

“We know … that there is substantial mobility of learners between schools in the Western Cape‚” said Von Fintel and Van der Berg‚ writing in the Stellenbosch journal Research on Socio-Economic Policy.

“Using this fact‚ and identifying learners who switched between schools‚ in some cases the same learners can be observed as they attend a low-performing (and generally poorly functioning) school and again as they attend a high-performing school.

“For mathematics‚ the results seem to indicate that attendance of a top-performing school improves the test scores of a learner by approximately 28%. The equivalent improvement in language test scores is approximately 6%.”

Black pupils’ language scores improved by 12%‚ and the researchers said this was probably because they received more exposure to English and Afrikaans — the languages in which they were tested — at top schools.

The research also found that pupils who started receiving the child support grant during the study improved their marks. And it showed that schools in poorer areas struggle to produce good results.

Von Fintel and Van der Berg said their findings “illustrate again how divided the school system is. Learners from poor households … are more likely to not achieve a diploma or bachelor’s level pass in matric.”

SA schools have 5‚139 teachers who are unqualified or under-qualified

Every day‚ tens of thousands of school children are being taught by teachers who aren’t qualified to do the job.

The result is that pupils are “not receiving the quality of teaching they’re supposed to be getting”‚ the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) has admitted.

And with mathematics and the sciences the subjects hardest hit‚ education authorities say the solution to the problem might have to come from outside South Africa’s borders.

Responding to a parliamentary question by the Democratic Alliance‚ the national education department recently admitted that 5‚139 teachers – the vast majority of which are in rural KwaZulu-Natal‚ which stands at the heart of the problem – are either unqualified or under-qualified.

While this was an improvement from 2014 (6‚719 teachers) and 2015 (6‚030 teachers)‚ it is still a worrying situation.

There are‚ according to a 2016 statistical study released by the education department‚ about 435‚000 teachers across the country.

In the response to the DA‚ the department’s revealed that‚ in 2016:

– KZN had 2‚875 unqualified or under-qualified teachers last year‚ 57% of the total number of such teachers across the country;

– The Northern Cape had the second most‚ with 400 teachers; and

– Limpopo was best off‚ with just 15 teachers.

The response also showed that five districts across the country had more than 200 unqualified or under-qualified teachers: eMtshezi (231 teachers)‚ Paulpietersburg (228 teachers) and Ixopo (219 teachers)‚ all in KZN‚ and Ngaka Modiri Molema (218) and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati (201 teaches)‚ both in the North West. Figures for individual districts in the Free State were not provided.

“The subjects most affected include mathematics‚ sciences and technology at all levels‚ and African language teaching‚ particularly at foundation phase.

“The focus of the department‚ at a national level‚ is to address the supply of educators through various initiatives. These include the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme‚ which focuses on mathematics‚ sciences‚ technology and African languages‚ and the appointment of foreign educators qualified to teach scarce skills‚” the response reads.

Newly appointed DA shadow education minister Ian Ollis said the implications of situation were severe.

“This means that‚ every day‚ teachers stand in front of a class without the necessary skills to teach the subject that they are teaching. It is simply wrecking the futures of children who have to be taught by teachers who are not qualified‚” he said.

For him‚ the solution lay in specialist facilities for new teachers.

“We need teacher colleges urgently reintroduced. On the job management for school principals and subject training for the under-educated teachers [is also needed]‚” said Ollis.

The party’s KwaZulu-Natal education spokesman‚ Rishigen Viranna‚ lashed out at the KZN education department over the situation – particularly taking aim at how the poorer‚ more rural‚ parts of the province were worst hit.

“Without a quality education in the gateway subjects of Mathematics and Science they are destined to remain trapped in the cycle of poverty. The DA believes firmly that there is no better teaching tool than trained teachers in classrooms when it comes to properly educating learners‚” he said.

He added that he would request that the situation be urgently discussed at the KZN Legislature’s next education portfolio committee meeting.

SADTU general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said the problem was not that teachers weren’t qualified‚ it was that they were being made to teach the wrong subjects.

“The problem is now you allocate the teacher‚” he said. “You get teachers who are qualified to teach a subject‚ they are they allocated to a different subject. The issue is misallocation of resources.”

Maluleke said that this was largely because of a change in syllabus‚ with teachers not being property trained to meet the new requirements and criteria.

Agreeing with Ollis‚ he said the solution was to re-establish specialist teacher training facilities‚ much like dedicated medical schools.

“There need to be dedicated colleges for education. Universities…given you theory and not teaching practise. We also need more teacher development for those who are in the system. An international norm is that teachers must spend 120 hours [a year] on teacher development. We are living in a changing world‚” he said.

KwaZulu-Natal education department spokesman Muzi Mahlambi said that one of the biggest problems was attracting teachers to rural parts of KZN.

“We were forced to engage the services of unqualified educators‚ some of whom would have degrees but would be referred to as unqualified because they did not have teaching methodology. Post-1994 we referred to them as unqualified protected educators. They were given grace to develop themselves in terms of obtaining qualifications. Many have qualified.

“It would be critical to mention that these educators did a great job for African rural township children during apartheid. Today many of the children are highly educated people and are contributing a lot to our communities. We now have an over supply of qualified educators‚ some we are unable to absorb due to their specialisations that are not in demand in our schools‚” he said.

The highest standards for teaching, training and learning, supported by the professional body over a career.

Dual professionalism: deep knowledge, conceptual understanding and expertise in teaching and learning processes and contexts, matched with expert subject knowledge and skills.

High-quality education and training means more than impressive scores and metrics relating to learners and employers. Professional teachers and trainers have deep knowledge, conceptual understanding and expertise in teaching and learning processes which they can apply in a diverse range of contexts for a diverse population of learners. Professional practitioners have high standards and need the freedom and space to innovate with their delivery methods and their curriculum to meet the needs of this diversity. Such innovation might include for example, the effective utilisation of modern and emerging learning technologies or the development of specialist learning resources for learners’ with learning difficulties and / or disabilities.

Being given the space to reflect on research findings on the most up-to-date and effective teaching methods, and improve and experiment with practice to identify what works best for particular contexts with learners is essential.  Professional teachers and trainers prioritise time to reflect on and improve their practice where they are able but they must also have the space to keep up to date with the subject area which they teach, as well as technological developments and other developments in practice.

It is one thing to be qualified as an Industry Professional – but that doesn’t make someone a good teacher. In order to ensure equivalence in both disciplines, a separate, specific teaching qualification is critical. Teaching is far, far more, than merely sharing skills and showing people how to do something.” Adult and community learning teacher

Choosing to teach or train your chosen academic or vocational subject specialism is testament to the passion individuals have for the subject but also their commitment in skilling and up-skilling this and future generations in the workforce. Practitioners must therefore be equipped to keep up to date with both teaching and training methods, and developments within their specialist field. They must be afforded opportunities to update and refresh their own vocational skills, have an acute awareness of developments and advances in technology and have an understanding and appreciation of related social and economic developments. This comes to the heart of our belief that vocational education has to be about more than practical skills, but it a holistic learning experience, grounded in the culture and practices of the trade or profession itself.

What is the difference between a facilitator, trainer and presenter?

Some people call themselves trainers and other facilitators. However, is “facilitator” really an appropriate term when the “facilitator” exclusively lectures and uses Power Point? Are facilitating a strategic planning session and teaching someone how to do that really the same thing?

  • The root of the word “Educe,” literally means “to bring out.”
  • The root of “facilitate,” of course, is “facile,” or to make a process “easy.”

It’s no wonder confusion exists. The greatest trainers and facilitators do share many characteristics and behaviours. However, the role of trainer and facilitator are ineluctably different and that it’s important to distinguish between them. This will not only help reduce confusion about the terms, but more importantly ensure they retain real meaning.

These three roles are not the same thing.

  • The presenter. The presenter is a person delivering a message across to the “other side.” For example, this person is giving the latest sales numbers in a business meeting or letting members of the band boosters know the details of the upcoming candy fundraiser.
  • The trainer. Even though the term “training” is broadly accepted for the field of adult education, some in our field argue that “training” itself is an unacceptable word. The key feature is that the “other side” comes to the occasion prepared or expecting to learn. In addition, a trainer typically has more knowledge than the audience on the given topic. For example, someone who teaches an advanced Excel class should have more skill than those who come to class to learn.
  • The facilitator. The definition of facilitate is “to make easy” or “ease a process.” The facilitator is not the same as presenter or trainer.
    • Unlike the presenter, the facilitator is not a one-sided delivery of a pre-arranged speech.
    • Unlike a trainer, the facilitator does not necessarily know more than the “other side.”

Hundreds of Zululand educators ‘not qualified’

MORE than 1 100 unqualified and under-qualified teachers have been appointed in the Zululand, uMkhanyakude and King Cetshwayo districts last year.

Out of 2 875 teachers lacking the necessary qualifications appointed in KwaZulu-Natal last year, the three local districts combined employed 1 179 unqualified or under-qualified educators.

This was the shocking revelation by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga in Parliament this week.