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close this bookRoles and Responsibilities, Institutional Landscapes and Curriculum Mindscapes: A Partial View of Teacher Education Policy in South Africa, 1990 - 2000 (CIE, 2002, 40 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMulti-Site Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER)
View the documentList of Acronyms
View the document1. Introduction
View the document2. A broad contextual framework
View the document3. Origins of the landscape
View the document4. An overview of curriculum changes
View the document5. Curriculum mindscapes
View the document6. The Norms and Standards for Educators
View the document7. Colleges of Education
View the document8. Towards a new teacher education system
View the document9. Some tentative conclusions
View the document10. Questions for the future
View the documentReferences
View the documentAppendix

1. Introduction

This paper provides a partial overview of teacher education policy and its implementation in South Africa in the period from 1990 to 2000. South Africa's post-liberation government has been confronted with many dilemmas and hard choices in its efforts to transform apartheid education. The story of teacher education from 1990 to 2000, with its integral links to both the schooling system and higher education, provides an example of a policy process and the beginnings of its implementation which throws some light on the state's efforts to transform apartheid education. It must be emphasised that this paper is not in any way a formal DoE perspective. Although the DoE employed the author in 1999/2000 and the paper draws on this experience, this is a personal perspective.

2001 will be a critical year for teacher education in South Africa. The last three years of the previous decade saw a radical re-shaping of the shape and size of the teacher education sector, a fundamental revision of the curriculum objectives of teacher education and a rapidly emerging human resource development and management system. This paper argues that all the policy pieces of the jigsaw are in place. There is a coherent policy framework for teacher education. But, it now has to be implemented. The new system exists on paper and in the activities of a broad range of agents, but it has not yet begun to operate. There are encouraging signs particularly on the curriculum front as many universities and technikons have submitted new programmes and qualifications in line with the Norms and Standards for Educators. It is now a challenge to deliver these programmes and to engage in the research and development that will give flesh to the new curriculum.

This paper provides an overview of the last decade as a way of informing what must be done in 2001 and beyond. The questions raised at the end of the paper look ahead at the next year and are in many ways the starting point of the debate. Looking carefully backwards and understanding the origins of the complex system within which we have to work may help us to discern the parameters and constraints, risks and opportunities that face teacher education.

This paper argues that the DoE has acted decisively in regard to teacher education policy in the period from 1995 to 2000 in those areas for which it has responsibility and that these efforts have been undermined by a broader systemic dysfunctionality linked to the complexity of the governance arrangements within the higher education system and the epistemology that informs these arrangements. The challenges raised by this complexity are apparent across all government spheres and are a consequence of South Africa's post-apartheid constitutional dispensation. I argue that part of the lacuna between policy and implementation lies in the proliferation of "regulatory" bodies and the multiplicity of role players and stakeholders represented on these bodies. This has created confusion over roles and responsibilities and undermined the kind of executive decision-making that is necessary for efficient management and implementation.

This paper is not intended as an apologia for the DoE or the government. Rather, it is an analytic device that constructs a perspective of the DoE as coherently and consistently as possible to see what light this may throw on a process that is still very much in progress. This paper is only tentative as it is too soon to fully understand or evaluate teacher education policy in post-apartheid South Africa but it will provide hopefully some ideas about the terrain ahead.