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Media Release

Wednesday, 4 September, 2002

WCED launches Cape Teaching Institute

Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Education Minister

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is proud to announce the launch of a new Cape Teaching Institute, which will provide intensive, in-service training for teachers in the province.

We are particularly pleased to be able to launch this new institute during the Cape Learning Festival, being held during the months of August and September 2002.

A key objective of the festival is to celebrate life-long learning. The institute will play a key role in encouraging life-long learning by our teachers, especially those in disadvantaged areas.

The legacy of the past has presented the department with urgent challenges that we must address if we are to achieve our vision of effective education for all. The institute will help us to achieve this vision.

In previous years, and especially prior to 1994, teacher training programmes were poor and inadequate for certain sectors of our population. As a result, many teachers lack content knowledge and the necessary skills in teaching methodology, which reinforces the disadvantages found in our society.

We believe that the success of our nation is dependent on a vital, informed and enthusiastic teaching force that can lead our young people toward a better future in becoming responsible and highly skilled citizens of our country and of the world in general.

We have found that short courses, over a few days or weekends, have not achieved the results we were hoping for.

We believe that we have to offer longer, more intense training programmes for teachers, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, if we hope to address the serious backlog in the knowledge and skills of many of our teachers. The Cape Teaching Institute will offer courses of between six to eight weeks in length.

Policy requirements and classroom-based research will determine the content and the priority of the training programmes. Research in the Western Cape has shown that teachers require support in three main areas:

  • Content knowledge;
  • Organisational and management skills; and
  • Teaching and assessment strategies.

The institute will also be involved in training and updating teachers on developments in Outcomes Based Education. The publication of the new national curriculum statement has drawn attention once again to the need for this support.

The institute is based at the Western Cape College of Education in Kuils River, which is well placed in the greater Cape Town metropolitan area. The site offers residential accommodation, which will facilitate intensive training for those from further afield.

The facility is purpose built with lecture rooms and small breakaway classrooms. Available resources include computer facilities and a well-equipped library.

Participants will be drawn directly from schools where training is most urgently needed. These needs will be determined by research. Experts in the field will select the course participants. In the longer term, the institute will train about 100 teachers at a time.

The department has selected 50 teachers from 28 schools for the first course, which is currently being held from 19 August to 26 September 2002.

The WCED requires participating teachers to sign contracts governing their participation in the course, and has provided for temporary teachers to take over the duties of teachers attending the course.

The WCED has appointed a consortium from the universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch to provide the first pilot training programme, following a tender process that was launched in May this year.

The consortium has worked closely with the WCED’s Curriculum Development Directorate and Foundation Phase curriculum advisers on developing and finalising the initial programme.

Institute staff will comprise four professional personnel, and administrative staff. The main functions of the professional staff will be to develop content outlines for the programmes to be offered and to assure the quality of the programmes as they are delivered.

We will continue to develop the Cape Teaching Institute in partnership with our schools, pre-service teacher training institutions, sponsors in the private sector and our colleagues in other sectors of government.

By working together on improving the standard of teaching in the Western Cape, we will ensure that more and more of our learners will break through to a better future.

Media inquiries:
Ruhan Robbertze
Cell: 082 577 6551
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