These days there seems to be confusion is regards to the definition of the word qualification. We must understand that this word, qualification may refer to both academia as well as practical qualifications (experience). We need to stop using the word as we please and use it according to the correct definitions. What qualifies a teacher to enter a classroom or even label them as such? Is it the paper they possess which states that they have completed a 3 or year diploma or degree? Is it the number of years’ experience or is it the level of competence?
When looking to analyze these questions we need to take into account that many people have very many different opinions on these questions and all opinions must be respected.
After a period of three to four years (depending on course duration) a student would receive a diploma/degree to certify that they have now successfully completed their modules of study and have passed and been awarded a diploma/degree to be able to go out into the real world and work as a teacher or a better word to use is an educator.
However, the newly graduated teacher enters looking for a job only to be told that they must be registered with a body known as SACE (South Africa Council for Educators) and receive a SACE number in order to practice as an educator. SACE seems to have become the all powerfull of education in South Africa, with nobody really understanding what they really do.
In many countries today, especially countries who are leading in education, their teachers are directly registered with the ministry of education in those countries, yet in South Africa, it does not happen like that.There must be a middle man- SACE.
The procedure to obtain a teachers license from SACE is one of the most questionable procedures currently.
To ellaborate, if you are a South African citizen applying you must personally go into the SACE office within your province and apply by filling out a pointless form, submit your ID along with qualifications and experience letters, note that this must all be South African ( if you are a South African applying for the license).Your teaching at schools, as well as experience letters, should all be from South African schools not overseas, however the SACE website does not specify this,To me this is ridiculous because any teaching experience from any school should be accepted provided the applicant submits official documents from the school they worked with, and right now, any teacher with international teaching experience should be accepted considering South Africa’s disastrous ranking in world education.
In addition to the submission of required documents, applicants must also pay a fee of R200 for South Africans and R400 for foreign educators with an annual levy of R120.
What has SACE really done since its opening? Professional development topics have no relation to what it needs to be.The SACE points program from 2014 is still in its pilot program which is evidently failing.Professional development needs to be based on what is happening global education.Effective classroom environments that work well.Understanding students of the 21st century rather than assuming topics that would work which has just failed.
In order for our education system to improve, in order for our teachers to thrive, we must pay attention to increasing the hours of professional development that both engaging and modern.We must stop focus on whether or not the Professional development course is accredited or not, but rather does it ad value to teachers and can it, in turn, reflect in students behavior and performance in class? We must stop being brainwashed by “accreditation”.It isn’t about points or certificates but about adding value.
How is SACE assessing teachers in order to award a teaching license? they are just taking for granted that a teacher is competent because they have studied a teaching program.This I feel is the biggest mistake they are making and it is because of this that we have so many issues in schools today.The department of education seems to be more interested in teachers compiling paperwork rather than whats really going on in the classroom.Paperwork needs to be forgotten, we live in the digital age now! Teachers need to spend their time enhancing their capabilities within the classroom and not on pointless paperwork.SACE needs to effectively evaluate teachers before issuing a license.They need to perhaps have newly graduated teachers, teach for at least a year and then have them apply for their license.The application for the license needs to be a rigorous one, their needs to be a portfolio of evidence submitted with the application in order to prove a teachers competence in order to qualify for the license.If a teacher fails to meet the criteria for the portfolio then they should revisit the sections they are facing difficulties in.Along with a portfolio of evidence should be an interview with the teacher.The process needs to be a logical one, not an illogical one just to make money.
It’s like obtaining a drivers license, I cannot just go into the driving school office and submit documents, pay my fees to wait a few weeks and then get my drivers license.There are logical processes and assessments in order to deem an applicant competent.Once all evaluative procedures are passed a license is issued.
We must understand that no matter how many degrees and certificates a person may accumulate over time, it does not necessarily equate to practical competence. What we mean by this is that when we look at the ministers of both education departments, and I still fail to understand why the department was broken down into two separate divisions as it makes no sense. Both ministers maybe well qualified for the job academically however they do not know what is going on in the classrooms. They would speak as if they know but they fail to really understand what is really going on because if they did there would be a substantial improvement already.It is and will always be the practical experience that proves to be more successful.
Those in power assume they know what’s going on however the sad reality of the situation is that they know nothing about what’s going on. They pass laws and policies according to the degrees they hold which are now outdated and by this, I mean that the content that is being taught at the B.Ed. level of study is terrible.I ask many new teachers to talk to me about the education systems in other countries and they just cannot do it.I ask them to talk to me about the different examination boards and different curriculums and they simply cannot answer me, I also ask many who study early childhood development to discuss the emerging and successful approaches to ECD and they cannot tell me about them. I ask about methods of differentiation and why are they not interested in using them and the answer I get is that these methods take up too much of the teachers time. Such an attitude is an attitude that must be done away with and can only be done at a tertiary level. The most shocking thing about my findings is that it is not only new teachers but also many experienced teachers.
Teacher training needs to be brought back immediately.We need to follow the systems of the most successful educational systems being Singapore and Finland.We need to follow the model of the IB Curriculum.We need to develop our students to become critical thinkers and not spoon fed.We need to enstil responsibility and independence into them.We must assist their social development in more meaningful ways and together with parents, we must encourage family time so that they may bong and experience the sense of togetherness which makes them less selfish and more caring.