4.5 Timeframe and roadmap

As stated earlier in this chapter, the MoE/DoE is a key actor in organising the teacher policy development process. The Ministry should, at the outset of a teacher development process, clarify the phases and stages of the process, identify the relevant bodies to be involved, the timeframe and the costs.

Developing and implementing policies (Chapter 5) is a costly, time-consuming and complex enterprise, both technically and politically. Providing a suitable timeframe is thus crucial to ensuring support from teachers and other stakeholders. A roadmap can be helpful in outlining how the goals of the policy will be implemented and realised. For instance, South Africa’s Integrated Strategic Framework for Teacher Education was planned for overall implementation between 2011 and 2025. Each individual objective within this policy has its own specified schedule for implementation including timeframe, resources, and targets.

Clearly identifying priorities within the policy can help determine the timeframes and order in which activities to advance policy objectives will be initiated. Success of some policy objectives may depend on other policy objectives being achieved. Therefore, timeframes of some activities or policy objectives may act as foundations for other activities. The relationships between the different facets of the policy goal should thus be well analysed and understood (Haddad, 1995; WHO, 2001; ILO, 2012).

The checklist in Table 4.3 suggests some key questions to address in developing a timeframe for the policy roadmap.

  • Is there clarity on what needs to be done first?
  • Are all resources needed to implement the policy in place?
  • Is the timeframe realistic and feasible?
  • Is there a clear roadmap for implementing the policy?
  • Are all actors clear about what they need to do and by when?

We conclude this chapter by providing a detailed case study of the development of South Africa’s teacher policy (Box 4.11). South Africa presents an interesting example of the policy development process and progress made to date. It is similar in many ways to the policy cycle and planning framework – including its overlapping and non-sequential aspects – discussed in this chapter.

Chapter 5 focuses on plans and organizational capacity for implementing an agreed national teacher policy.


Prior to the significant democratic change in 1994, teacher education and development were fragmented along apartheid lines. In 1995, a teacher education audit was completed, which pointed out the effects of the separate provisions, the challenges which existed to improve them and options to address them. Teacher education was a provincially controlled competence, with 102 colleges of education of varying quality, generally low, in operation. The audit was followed by the adoption of the 1996 Norms and Standards for Teacher Education, which described competences for teacher qualifications and minimum competences for qualification types. In turn, this was followed in 2000 by the Norms and Standards for Educators in Schooling, through which teacher education became a nationally defined competence, incorporating the 120 colleges of education into higher education institutions. The new standards for teacher competences delineate seven roles for teachers and notions of applied and integrated competences. The document also describes the teacher education qualifications framework in line with the National Qualifications Framework. Importantly, these documents focused on competences and qualifications, without reference to the wider context of issues such as supply, demand and ongoing development in the teacher field.

The rationalisation and amalgamation of colleges occurred within the context of merging higher education institutions in the country. Although the aim of closing the colleges and moving teacher education to higher education institutions was to improve quality and standards, a number of unintended effects and difficulties occurred. One was the low subsidy allocation to education faculties, which resulted in reduced enrolments. This has led to growing concern, in recent years, regarding the decreased supply of new teachers for a system requiring more and better teachers, especially in scarce skills areas like maths, science, technology, the foundation phase and the new subjects introduced by the new curriculum.

There were also important structural developments: the Education Labour Relations Council was established to negotiate agreements between the teacher unions, which have high membership rates (88%), and the state. The Council has played a significant role in a variety of issues of teacher policy, such as salaries, working conditions and performance appraisal. In the arena of teacher professional development, however, progress has been slow.

The second important structure established is the national South African Council for Educators (SACE), which is responsible for the professional registration of educators and their professional code of ethics. SACE has also worked on instituting portfolios for professional development. It has recently been given the mandate to manage the Continuing Teacher Professional Development System, which will make teachers’ participation in professional development compulsory and recognised.

All of these developments were important and necessary, but there was a sense among key decision-makers in the field that a more comprehensive approach was needed to address the scale and pace of issues being faced. As a result, a Ministerial Committee on Teacher Education (MCTE) was set up in 2001. A comprehensive six-volume report was produced, which presented a view of the situation at the time, and laid out 42 wide- ranging recommendations for consideration. The report included extensive discussions and consultations with all key agencies and actors in the field. The MCTE report was adopted by the DoE and turned into a National Policy Framework for Teacher Education and Development (NPFTED) that was approved in April 2007. The process took twelve years from the time discussions began after 1994.

The NPFTED covers a range of areas in initial professional education of teachers (IPET) and continuing professional teacher development, and includes a section on support systems for teacher education and development. The naming of these two areas seeks to emphasise the intended professionalisation of teachers and strong continuity between initial preparation of teachers and their continuing development in practice. The process of developing the NPFTED also used a wide consultation approach, consisting of presentations to different levels of decision-makers in the MoE, national and provincial departments of education, unions and other key stakeholders.

The NPFTED covers a range of key areas that correspond to those generally identified in policy development, both in sub-Saharan Africa and internationally. These are:

  • Approval and recognition of teacher education programmes for employment
  • IPET routes to qualification
  • Recruitment campaigns
  • Quality management and assurance
  • Teacher education support systems.
For more information: Sayed and Mohamed, 2010.

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4.4.6 Capacity of MoEs