DA: How to improve teacher quality

2012-11-01 15:25
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Cape Town - The DA proposed a number of steps on Thursday to improve the quality of school teachers.

Among other things, student teachers should be aggressively recruited from high-demand and rural areas where they would subsequently be placed, Democratic Alliance spokesperson Annette Lovemore told reporters.

This would alleviate the problem of graduates citing personal difficulties in relocating to the rural areas where they were often most needed, she said.

The basic education department should also create an in-house selection and monitoring team to vigorously screen applications for the department’s primary teacher-attraction tool, the Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme.

Currently the composition of the selection team was ad hoc and dependent on institutions.

Industry tools

Lovemore said a departmental team should take primary responsibility for assessing candidates and should use industry tools, such as psychometric testing, to assist in selections.

The department also had to assess and accredit quality tertiary institutions to train bursars. Bursars should be sent exclusively to these accredited institutions.

The in-house selection and monitoring team should track the academic results of all bursars to determine and facilitate academic assistance and interventions where necessary.

The current placement strategy also failed to place all bursary graduates, even as the vacancy rate continued to climb.

This was because of the administrative difficulties associated with placing thousands of graduates in the short space of time between their graduation and the start of the new school year.

The department should co-operate with provincial education departments to fill teacher vacancies as part of the post provisioning process that occurred at the end of every year, which would allow for placement in advance.

Lovemore said a significant problem was that the Funza Lushaka programme was failing.

Poor planning

Every year about 10 000 bursaries were awarded and recipients were then required to teach at a public school for the same number of years for which they received the bursary.

"Poor planning has seen this resource fundamentally under-utilised. Very few of the bursars graduate timeously and even fewer actually become teachers," she said.

In 2012, only 26.5% of the graduated bursars were actually placed as teachers at public schools. This year the department expected only 2837 students to qualify, some 31% of the intake four years previously.

Lovemore said she would ask to meet Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to discuss the DA's proposals.
Read more on:    da  |  angie motshekga  |  education

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