Tom Stokes, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Education
GOOD news for education is the announcement today, by KZN’s Education MEC, that “Dokkies” – the old teaching training college on the Berea – will once again be taken over by the department and converted into a Teacher Development Centre capable of housing 3 000 students.
There are currently some 14 000 teachers out of a complement of 90 000, who are either un-qualified or under-qualified. Added to this skills shortage are many educators who although qualified, are not familiar with new curriculums or have a poor understanding of their subject or are teaching in subjects other than what they are qualified to teach. In-house up- skilling is therefore a vital component of any plans to improve teaching in our schools and in many ways is both a cheaper and faster way of addressing shortages than the training of new teachers.
Details of the courses to be offered, the duration of courses and certification for these courses were not given today, but it is evident that the process of transforming plans into action is some way down the road and we would expect concrete evidence of this new college early in 2013. Coupled with this new Institute is the expansion of subject advisory committees throughout the province, with the aim of augmenting the training of under-qualified teachers and plans for a new teacher training college, probably in Umzimkulu.
What is most encouraging is to see the acknowledgement of past errors. The adoption of tried and tested ways to create a culture of continuous upgrading of qualifications amongst out teaching corps and the concomitant professionalization of educators is a welcome step.