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State plans to license teachers

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Newly qualified teachers will have to obtain a licence to practice their profession should a far-reaching proposal by the Department of Basic Education get the green light.

But while education role players welcomed the possibility of such a tool being implemented, as it could improve the quality of education, they have also raised concerns.

The department is seeking to improve the level of professionalism in the public school sector and strengthen the induction process for new teachers.

During a recent meeting of the National Assembly committee on basic education, the department reported on “the process towards the professionalisation of the teaching profession through the licensing of teachers”.

According to a statement released after the meeting, the department was working with the South African Council forEducators (SACE) “to professionalise teaching through the licensing of teachers”.

“The proposal is to provide newly qualified teachers with provisional registration and to require them to meet teacher professional standards upon completion of an introductory three-year programme in order to obtain full registration.”

Departmental spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said teachers were now registered (with SACE) as soon as they were qualified. This registration was permanent.

Dr Anthea Cereseto, president of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation (Naptosa), said the union was aware of the proposal and the SACE process.

“Naptosa supports any move that will improve the quality of education in South Africa, so we support this proposal in principle.

“We will have to have competent people assessing the teachers. It will have to be ensured that this is done professionally and neutrally.”

Riyaadh Najaar, chairman of the Progressive Principals’ Association, shared Cereseto’s sentiments.

“If, at the end of the day, this will benefit our learners by improving the quality of education in our schools and raising the level of professionalism, then this is something that we will welcome.”

Gavin Davis, the DA’s spokesman on Basic Education, said: “In principle, we welcome the proposal to license teachers and ultimately to test teacher competency as part of this process.

“A licence system has the potential to improve accountability, and enhance pride in teaching as a profession. We will comment further on the proposal once we have more details on the standards being set and how these standards will be measured.”

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union was asked for comment, but had not responded at the time of going to print.

[Source: Cape Argus]
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