Western Cape Education Department to expand competency based assessments
Statement by Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Minister of Education
Great schools do not exist without great leaders. Therefore, the importance of having a strong and accountable school leadership team cannot be underestimated. The school leadership team includes the School Principal, Deputy Principal and the Heads of Department (HoD).
This year there will be an increased emphasis on the appointment of quality principals as well as deputy principals and Heads of Department (HoD), which is line with our government’s strategic objective to provide quality education and improve education outcomes.
In order to improve the quality of new principals, last year we piloted Competency Based Assessments (CBAs) for principals.
The pilot involved administering the use of Competency Based Assessments (CBAs) for shortlisted candidates for principal posts. The tests ensure where possible, that the most suitable candidate is appointed, and that training needs are identified.
While some candidates have strengths in specific areas, such as administration, there could be other training needs such as leadership skills and people management that need to be identified, and training provided.
The Assessment was however not compulsory. If the School Governing Body (SGB) decided to include the CBA tool in a recruitment and selection process, it became compulsory for that specific process (Interview, Competency Based Assignment and Competency Based Assessment).
The pilot was well received by the majority of the candidates who underwent the assessment. We also received a positive response from SGB’s and District Offices.
The positive feedback we have received from SGBs and our district offices is an indication of the success of the CBA tool in appointing the best candidate.
Feedback on the individual Competency Based Assessments (CBA) allows for an informed Individual Development Plan for newly appointed principals.
The department has now received requests from existing principals for developmental assessments to assist them in developing further and to contribute to the improved functioning of their schools.
We are extremely encouraged by this and are immensely proud of our principals who wish to be the best they can be.
This year, the WCED intends to expand Competency Based Assessments for the appointment of Deputy Principals and Heads of Department (HoD). Stakeholder parties will be consulted before the actual implementation of this pilot.
A definite date has not been set to roll out the CBAs for these categories, although numerous requests for the assessments of Deputy Principals have been received.
Once a final decision is taken, information on this roll out will be communicated via correspondence, workshops and roadshows prior to implementation.
The Western Cape Government is confident that testing of this nature greatly assists in appointing the right person for the right position, and this in turn will improve the quality of education in this province.
Accountability and professionalism are key, and we will continue to take steps to ensure that we deliver the highest quality of education in our schools.