Departmental Bulletin Paper Towards Equality and Equity in Education : Assessing an Initiative to Strengthen Teacher Professional Development in South Africa

Hartell, Cycil G.  ,  Steyn, Maria G.  ,  Chetty, Magesveri

17 ( 2 )  , pp.73 - 93 , 2015-10-31 , 広島大学教育開発国際協力研究センター
In South Africa major educational inequalities and disparities in education are prevalent at especially historically black township schools due to the country’s history and current contexts. Teacher training evolved from the apartheid system which was characterised by deep racial and regional inequalities with poor teacher training and low admission requirements for blacks. Most currently serving teachers received their professional education from the apartheid system which adversely impacts on national assessments and equitable teaching and learning. The poor performance of learners from township schools in national and international literacy assessments prompted the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) to take proactive teacher professional development (TPD) steps to address the issue of equitable teaching and learning and chronic learner underperformance in literacy in the province. This strategy to address equality and equitable learning through TPD is called the Gauteng Province Literacy and Mathematics Strategy (GPLMS). The study examines the effect of the practicing teacher professional development (TPD) on Grade 3 teachers’ understanding and experiences of the implementation of the GPLMS in selected underperforming schools in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. Data on the importance and results of the programme as well as support for the GPLMS were gathered using interviews, document analysis and observation. The mentoring process stood out as the most important contributing factor for effective implementation of the GPLMS. Respondents reflected positive attitudes towards school-based Literacy teacher professional development. The fast pace of the programme, large classes, marking and lack of parental involvement were major challenges. Despite these challenges the new GPLMS provided more equitable teaching and learning opportunities and it improved the literacy assessment levels of the learners.

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