Teacher Professional Standards for South Africa

It is widely recognised that improving the quality of teaching and learning is essential to address this education crisis and several initiatives are being undertaken to develop Teacher Professional Standards (TPS). As a contribution to these initiatives CDE commissioned research on the development of TPS in a range of developed and developing countries. Set within a theoretical framework of the South African schooling cycle, the research findings provide insights into the conditions under which TPS in South Africa might serve to raise school performance. Click here for full the report.




A BALANCING ACT: Assessing the quality and financial viability of low-fee independent schools

Low-fee independent schools (LFIS) are a growing phenomenon in South Africa. In many parts of the country, they offer an alternative choice of education to poor communities, they address the lack of public schools, offer access to better quality learning, and fulfil parents’ desire for schools with a religious affiliation or alternative philosophies not provided for by public schools. In South Africa, as elsewhere, there is growing interest from investors and donors to support these schools or invest in them.

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THE REAL COST OF COMPLIANCE: THE IMPACT OF SOUTH AFRICAN REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS ON INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS

The private education sector has grown virtually across the board in developed and developing countries. Internationally, governments are making greater use of private participation in education to assist in meeting their education policy objectives. As part of an overall reform strategy for South Africa’s ailing education system, the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) has become increasingly interested in the potential of low-fee independent schools to provide quality education to disadvantaged learners. In its latest research publication, the CDE explores the cost facing these schools of complying with regulatory requirements.
 
 

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TEACHER EVALUATION IN SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS

  

This CDE publication is the third in a series on the lessons for South Africa from international and local research on teacher evaluation as a means of improving teacher effectiveness. The first CDE publication in 2012 examined the international experience of teacher pay for performance initiatives and found that there was no consistent evidence that they improved learning outcomes.

Accordingly, in 2014, CDE decided to investigate teacher evaluation more broadly across a wide range of countries to explore the connection between teacher evaluation, teacher effectiveness, and student achievement. The key finding was that well-designed performance-based assessments, which assess on-the-job teaching based on multiple measures of teaching practice and student learning, can measure teacher effectiveness. An integrated teacher evaluation model which combines these assessments with productive feedback and professional learning opportunities can increase teacher effectiveness and student achievement (see CDE’s 2015 report, Teacher Evaluation: Lessons from other countries).

This report, the final in the series, examines teacher evaluation policy in South Africa and looks for best practice, using the international findings as a reference point. From interview research we present key stakeholders’ perspectives on the evolving policy framework and how school leadership in a small sample of public and independent schools experience teacher appraisal and professional development.

CDE’s analysis reveals that the current policy is deeply flawed, resulting in very limited implementation in those public schools interviewed. We identify some examples of best practice in the sample of innovative and well-resourced independent schools. These findings and CDE’s international research raise fundamental questions about the new performance-based teacher appraisal policy (the Quality Management System, or QMS) that is in the wings, as well as the new system for managing professional development. Are they good enough to significantly improve teacher effectiveness and learning achievement?

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Teacher Evaluation: Lessons from other countries

  

Research has identified effective teachers as the most critical factor in determining student achievement. Countries around the world have focused on teacher evaluation as a process that can be used to both assess and improve teacher effectiveness, through strengthening accountability and supporting the professional development of teachers. In South Africa this is a pressing issue.

This CDE publication is based on research that explores the connection between teacher evaluation, teacher effectiveness and student achievement across a wide range of countries. It reveals different approaches, common trends, best practice, important debates and valuable lessons for South Africa.

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INVESTING IN POTENTIAL: The Financial Viability of Low-Fee Private Schools in South Africa

Low-fee private schools (officially known as ‘independent schools’) are growing rapidly in South Africa. The interest of corporate and philanthropic investors in ‘affordable’ independent schools has given rise to key questions: Is it worth investing in low-fee independent schools? How financially viable are they? What is needed to ensure they offer quality education and are financially sustainable?

This report outlines the findings of CDE’s analysis and modelling of the financial viability of low-fee independent ‘stand-alone’ schools and chains of schools to determine the key factors that influence financial viability. CDE’s modelling points to the potential of low-fee independent schools to provide affordable, good quality schooling to poor communities on a sustainable basis.

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Low-fee private schools: international experience and South African realities

 

In a new report, the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) combined international insights into low-fee private (independent) schools, and new research examining the latest developments, new and emerging players, and the significance of low-fee schools’ growth in South Africa. Here, as in other developing countries, low-fee private schools are growing. CDE estimates that those charging fees below R12,000 a year are educating a quarter of a million children in disadvantaged communities.

The debate about their role in the education reform South Africa seeks is thick with ideology and thin on facts. What do we know about low-fee schools here? What can we learn from other countries? Can we find the right combination of public and private provision to ensure that more and more young South Africans have access to a good education as soon as possible?

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Teachers in South Africa: Supply and Demand 2013-2025


CDE has released an important study examining South Africa’s teacher supply and demand for the next decade. This work is of national importance, valuable to both the Department of Higher Education and Training (supply of teachers) and the Department of Basic Education (employer of teachers) which were involved in developing the model.

The indicators suggest that South Africa will produce sufficient teachers to meet the growing demand over the next decade. However attention needs to be given to significant projected shortages for different school phases (for example Foundation Phase) and subjects (languages, mathematics and mathematical literacy). There are also considerable inefficiencies in the graduation rate of teachers from higher education institutions which need to be addressed. South Africa will face challenges arising from the unusual age profile of teachers (as a result of years of very low graduate numbers in the first decade of the 21st century) and the resignation of more qualified teachers than unqualified ones.

The current data sets available for decision making are generally inaccurate, incomplete and inconsistent. However, the model provides a sound basis for high level policy considerations regarding teachers.

 

 

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WHAT DOES RESEARCH TELL US ABOUT TEACHERS, TEACHING AND LEARNER PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS?

 

This report summarises original research carried out by CDE on factors which have an impact on the teaching and learning of mathematics and science in a sample of urban and rural public high schools. It also reviews the findings of a number of other current reports and studies which address these factors. The report concludes with recommendations about the changes needed in public and private sector policy and practice, if pervasive and deep-seated challenges to better mathematics achievement in schools are to be successfully addressed.

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MATHEMATICS OUTCOMES IN SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS: What are the facts? What should be done?

 

South Africa is significantly underperforming in education, particularly mathematics teaching and learning. Fundamental reforms are needed in the public sector. Business leaders need to incorporate an understanding of private education and other market experiments and schooling innovations in their overall perspective and priorities for intervention and reform.

Read more in a new CDE Insight, MATHEMATICS OUTCOMES IN SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS: What are the facts? What should be done?

 

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Background reports

 

MEDIA COVERAGE, OP-EDS AND MEDIA RELEASES
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