22 September 2011

South Africa Needs Thousands More and Better Teachers Every Year | NGO Pulse

South Africa Needs Thousands More and Better Teachers Every Year | NGO Pulse
An examination of teacher supply and demand leads to the conclusion that South Africa urgently needs more and better teachers and that the country’s teacher management and training system needs radical overhaul.

According to Ann Bernstein, CDE executive director: “Many existing teachers are poorly managed and are not teaching effectively. This is partly because many of them have been badly trained. In addition, SA’s teachers are often poorly utilised. For example, there is a shortage of maths teachers, yet many qualified maths teachers are not teaching maths – despite being willing to do so.”

These are among the key findings of a new report by the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), Value in the Classroom: The quantity and quality of South Africa’s teachers.

“South Africa’s education system is underperforming, especially in terms of maths and science results. When compared to many other developing countries, our expenditure on education is not being matched by results, and research shows decisively that good teaching is vital for better results,” said Bernstein.

Now they tell us!

That should have been one of the highest priorities of the first democratically elected government in 1994 -- the transformation of education.

Children who were born in 1994 will be leaving school at the end of this year, and the education of an entire generation of entire generation of school children has been compromised.

We knew that the education system was underperforming back then, and nothing was done, other than introduce OBE (Outcomes-based education) which makes hugely increased demands on teachers, who were for the most part undertrained and badly trained. Instead of introducing a new system, priority should have been given to training and re-training teachers, but "transformation" was merely a buzz-word in the mouths of politicians, and made little difference to the education system.

Certainly it needs overhauling, but we knew that back in 1994. Why have we wasted 17 years? And what hope is there that we won't waste the next 17 years too?

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