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Teacher Development: Policy Papers and Research


Trialogue’s 2020 research found that, consistent with previous years, school-level education (general education plus further education and training) received the largest share of education spend (51%). Tertiary education received one-third (33%) of education spend, up from 28% in 2019, and recovering to more than the 31% allocated in 2017 before government implemented free tertiary education to students from poorer households. The average proportion of education spend directed to adult education remained low at 2%.

Companies spent the largest portion of their education budget on bursaries, scholarships and university chairs (26%), followed by learner development initiatives (24%), in line with previous years. Average education spend allocated to ICT infrastructure (7%) almost doubled compared to 2019.

[Read more on Trialogue's research into CSI in Education]

Relevant Acts and Policies

  • The National Policy Framework for Teacher Education and Development in South Africa

    This 2006 policy document for teacher education was designed to develop a teaching profession ready and able to meet the needs of a democratic South Africa in the 21st century. The aim of the policy was “to properly equip teachers to undertake their essential and demanding tasks, to enable them to continually enhance their professional competence and performance, and to raise the esteem in which they are held by the people of South Africa”. The first of its kind in South Africa, this policy document made it possible for South Africans to debate and contribute to issues central to teacher training and development. 

  • Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications (MRTEQ)

    Issued by the Department of Higher Education in 2015, MRTEQ is the revised national policy on the minimum requirements for teacher education qualifications. The revised policy aligns qualifications for teacher education with the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework 2013. It replaced the MRTEQ of 2011 in its entirety, which in turn replaced the Norms and Standards for Educators (2000). 

  • Teacher professional standards for South Africa

    The 2017 paper Teacher Professional Standards for South Africa: The road to better performance, development and accountability? by the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) provides insights into the conditions under which TPS in South Africa might serve to raise school performance. It addressed three key deficiencies in the education system: many teachers are ill-prepared for teaching, are not accountable, and do not receive enough support and training to equip them as competent educators. 


  • How does professional development improve teaching?

    This 2016 article by a researcher in the United States reviews research on professional development (PD) programmes with an eye towards learning about how different approaches to PD foster learning. 

  • Advancing Professional Teaching in South Africa: Lessons Learnt from Policy Frameworks That Have Regulated Teachers’ Work

    This 2018 article analyses four frameworks used to regulate, monitor and evaluate the work of South African teachers over the past two decades. The authors posit that the ways in which the previous frameworks constrained teacher professionalism has implications for SACE’s Teacher Professional Standards for South Africa if it is to more successfully enhance teacher professionalism. 

  • Annual performance plans

    The Department of Basic Education Annual Performance Plan, 2018-2019andThe South African Council for Educators Annual Performance Plan 2018/19both provide a situational analysis of education in South Africa, together with strategic objectives and annual targets. 

  • Teacher Development Summit (29 June – 2 July 2009)

    This summit brought stakeholders together to review teacher development at the instigation of teachers themselves, supported by the Department of Education, the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC), the South African Council for Educators (SACE) and the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA). Participants agreed upon the need for a new, strengthened, integrated national plan for teacher development. 

  • The Colloquium on Sustainable Change in Education

    In 2018, a two-day colloquium was held to explore ideas emanating from research related to sustainable change at scale in schools in South AfricaThe findings of the colloquium are available here.  

  • Teachers’ and HoDs’ Accountability on Curriculum Coverage: PILO theory of change

    This Wits School of Education presentation explores how PILO’s theory of change sees teacher support and improvement in South Africa and internationally through the lens of ‘accountability’. PILO aims to develop internal reciprocal accountability at system and school level in order to make it self-sustaining. PILO’s theory of change is a description of the operational design of the JikaiMfundo campaign, an education intervention undertaken by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education in partnership with the Programme for Improving Learning Outcomes (PILO) and with the support of the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT). Information about the JikaiMfundo Campaign 2015-2017 can be found here.

  • Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development in South Africa 2011-2025

    This 2011 technical report by the Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education and Training was the culmination of a long process of stakeholder engagement regarding teacher development, which began at the Teacher Development Summit of 2009. The report gives an historical overview of teacher education provision, teacher demand, supply and utilisation, and the preparation and development of teachers by public higher education institutions in South Africa, as well as teachers’ development needs and support structures. 

  • The Initial Teacher Education Research Project (ITERP)

    In 2016, JET Education Services released its final report on the state of initial teacher education (ITE), including the development of student teachers, the early work experiences of new teacher graduates, new teacher recruitment and career choices, new teacher placement and reception in schools, and new teacher distribution. ITERP set out to examine the extent to which the ITE programmes offered by universities are adequately preparing teachers to teach in South African schools. 

  • Does Content-Focused Teacher Professional Development Work?

    In 2016, the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional AssistanceInstituteof Education Sciences (IES) in the United States,published the results of findings from three IES studies regarding teacher PD. The studies examined the impact of the PD programmes on teachers’ content knowledge and instructional practice, as well as their students’ achievement. The findings showed that intensive content-focused PD improves teachers’ knowledge and some aspects of their practice but improving teachers’ knowledge or practice does not automatically translate into improvements in student achievement

  • Opportunities and Challenges for Teacher Education Curriculum in South Africa

    This 2008 book traces the micro-level responses of teacher educators at five universities experiencing the impact of the restructuring of teacher education curricula, which has radically changed the teacher education landscape. The book forms part of the Teacher Education in South Africa series, which documents a wide-ranging set of research projects on teacher education conducted by the Education, Science and Skills Development Research Programme within the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). 

  • Shifts in beliefs, knowledge and skills: teachers’ experiences of instructional rounds practice

    Teachers’ beliefs may provide them with the resources necessary to maintain and improve their instructional practices, according to this 2017 PhD thesisBy collaborating with other teachers and gathering data from their instructional practice, teachers are in a better position to change their beliefs by understanding the roles that they, their learners and the content of their lessons play in their classrooms. 

  • Teacher Development Research Review: Keys to Educator Success

    This 2015 article explains how to get the best out of your teachers and improve student learning. It identifies a range of best practices found by researchers to be critical for ensuring educator growth and success. 

  • Teacher Development Communities of Practice

    According to BRIDGE, the teacher is the main catalyst for developing confident and competent learners. A focus on teacher development, both pre-service and in-service, is essential for long-term impact on the system. The national Teacher Development Community of Practice encourages collaboration between schools, NGOs and other service providers to increase impact and reduce duplication of interventions supporting teacher development. Click here to read more on mentorship in teacher development.