SACE Professional Development and Research Mandate
The Professional Development and Research Department of SACE get its mandate from the following national policies and legislation:
- SACE Act no.31 of 2000 as amended by the Basic Education Laws Amendment Act (2011)
- Section 5(b) of the SACE Act prescribes the professional development mandatory functions in terms of promoting, developing and maintaining the image of the profession, managing a system for promoting the Continuing Professional Development of all educators (CPTD Management System), advising the Minister on various teacher education and development matters, and researching and developing a professional development policy. In addition, the SACE Act stipulates the professional development discretionary functions in terms of developing resource material and conducting training programmes in consultation with the employers, compiling and printing a professional journal, and establishing educator professional assistance facility.
- On 26 April 2007, the Minister of Education promulgated the National Policy Framework for Teacher Education and Development in South Africa (NPFTED) [Government Gazette No. 29832]. Section 53 of the policy framework states that,
“…the South African Council for Educators (SACE), as a statutory body for professional educators will have overall responsibility for the implementation, management and quality assurance of the CPTD system. SACE will be provided with the necessary resources and support to undertake that role”
- The SACE Professional Development mandate is supported and enhanced by the Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education and Training’s Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development in South Africa, 2011 – 2025. The plan indicates the following explicitly:
“that it (the plan) must be considered by other planning processes such as those related to IQMS, WSE, NEEDU and the SACE CPTD Management System. The Teacher Education and Development (TED) ICT support system will be linked to the SACE CPTD Management System”
- SACE’s role of managing the CPTD Management System has been strengthened further through National Planning Commission’s (NPC) National Development Plan released in August 2012. The Plan acknowledges SACE as key role player in continuing professional development of teachers and the promotion of professional standards. The Plan’s Education Section states the following:
- ”Teachers must take the initiative to identify the areas in which they need further development and approach the department for assistance to access training opportunities. Courses that are in line with the requirements of the teacher’s job must be fully subsidised by the government and should take place outside term time. On completion of the course or professional development activities, teachers should earn points towards meeting the Continuing Professional Teacher Development requirements of the South African Council for Educators (pp307-308).
- With regard to providers offering professional development activities to educators, the Plan indicates that there is a need to:
“Allow a wide range of training providers to offer professional development courses for teachers, subject to approval by the South African Council for Educators (pp307-308)”
- it also recognises teacher unions’ role in providing professional development by indicating the need to:
“Assist unions in developing the capacity to implement continuous professional development strategies for their members. Over time, accredit professional development institutes linked to unions so that they can offer continuous professional development that earns points towards meeting the Continuing Professional Teacher Development requirements of the South African Council for Educators. (p. 308)”
It is clear from this mandate that SACE must play a role of managing a system for Continuing Professional Teacher Development and quality assuring the provisioning of professional development in the country. In line with this, it is important to mention that “SACE IS NOT A PROVIDER OF CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT”. The CPTD Management System will not provide professional development activities to teachers and SACE cannot be a player and a referee at the same time. It will help SACE to work with teachers and providers to improve the provision and take-up of professional development activities and manage that. SACE must also promote professional standards and improve the image of the teaching profession.
Lastly, has gone through a process of redefining its scope, role, and functions with the aim of strengthening some of its areas of focus. In doing so, it has put the role of promoting research on professional matters as one of its main priorities. This role affords SACE an opportunity to strengthen its functions in terms of:
- coordinating and undertaking research on professional matters for purposes of informing SACE programmes, Council decisions, national policies, advising the Ministers of Education, Council and the profession as a whole. The advisory role appears in various sections of the Act – in sections 5(b)(ii) under professional development with regard to teacher education, and development matters and 5(e)(i)(v) under general with regard to any educational aspect the Minister may request it to advise on, and on any relevant education aspect.
- ensuring that at all times that the advisory functions are informed by consultations (where necessary), evidence-based research, and information in the registration database, ethics database, and the CPTD Information System;
- Publicising and disseminating research findings through various channels;
- Conceptualising and developing programmes that will promote practitioner based research (by educators). This will contribute to their professional development and to the profession as a whole; and
- Supporting all the SACE Divisions and units on policy, research, planning, and monitoring and evaluation matters.
Against this background, the Professional Development and Research Division of SACE is led by the Senior Manager Professional development and Research and have three sub-divisions - Provinces and members, Providers and Endorsement and Policy and Research.