The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) launched the PDI to assist teachers with mastering the curriculum required to be taught in schools.
Despite a formalised education sector, South Africa still has an incomplete education infrastructure. Added to that is the educational gaps between various learning phases in a number of schools.
“The most difficult issues that we find on the ground is that there are huge learning gaps for the learners, and as a result of that we find that our graduates struggle to take these learners to close the gaps,” Teachers Education And Curriculum Help (TEACH) CEO Richard Masemola told CNBC Africa on Wednesday.
“These gaps are created simply because of lack of mastering the subject by the teachers, and that’s the area we must focus on.”
The PDI’s mandate looks at improving classroom practice, other critical areas such as teacher understanding and mastering of the curriculum, teacher’s classroom practice and teaching towards autonomous development.
“We want teachers to look at professional development as something intrinsic, we don’t want it to be something forced upon them. Naturally we also look at communities of practice, which are so much a part of professional development,” said Margot Johnson, the director of the Professional Development Institute.
So far 6000 teachers have already been a part of the PDI programme.
“In many of our provinces we have up and running teacher development programmes that have been going for a number of years. Depending on where our area is, rural or urban, we will have something for everyone,” said Johnson.
South Africa currently has an amended education curriculum and teachers will have to amend their teaching and learning programmes according to the curriculum requirements, as well as master it in order to teach.
Rural schools in particular experience difficulty in gaining enough support from government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) while teaching in limited circumstances.
“You find that those that are deep in the rural side of things are not getting enough support. Even if you contract other NGOs to support them, because the roads are bad, the places are far away from the cities, they normally don’t get the necessary support.” Richard.