Reading Conference Attracts Hundreds of Educators
Media Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Education
In our strategic plan for education in 2009, we made the commitment to provide educators with opportunities for ongoing professional development and training. To deliver on this commitment, we have increased the budget allocation for the professional development and training of our educators with an allocation of R95.2 million in the 2012/2013 financial year.
The majority of this training will take place at the Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute (CTLI). The institute's main aim is to enhance the professional development of educators especially in managing and implementing the curriculum.
In the 2012 school year, the WCED scheduled a number of training programmes and workshops that will be compulsory for educators. For example, dates for literacy and numeracy training for the Foundation and Intermediate Phases, as well as CAPS training and meetings.
There are also a number of other training programmes and meetings on offer that are optional courses to meet specific needs, such as ICT proficiency, special needs education, training for aspiring school principals, literacy and numeracy workshops and subject-specific training for various grades.
This morning I visited the Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute where over 600 of our Foundation Phase educators are receiving training in the teaching of language and reading skills.
The reading and writing conference, "Teach, Apply and Live Reading and Writing", is a two-day conference aimed at improving the teaching skills of educators by offering programmes such as "Strategies to promote critical reading", "How to teach pattern poetry", "Getting our learners excited about reading" and how best to use readers.
Improving the reading and writing skills of our learners is a necessity and a priority for this government. The 2011 literacy testing of Grade 3 and 6 revealed that the literacy levels of our learners are still low and that they are not reading enough complex texts with comprehension and are not writing long enough paragraphs.
Therefore I am extremely pleased that we have received such a positive and overwhelming response from our educators to attend this reading conference. Originally we had planned for 400 participants; this increased to 500 and yesterday over 600 educators registered!
They have come from all over the province to participate, giving up their school holiday time to take part in the programme. This is very encouraging as this turnout reflects the determination of our teachers to not only improve their teaching skills but also to improve the literacy performance of our school children.
I am also pleased that many of the programmes on offer focus on how best to utilise or encourage the use of school readers and reading schemes. At the end of last year, the WCED delivered over 2 million textbooks and readers to schools across the province. The reading schemes are to support reading development and include large books for shared reading, a graded series of smaller reading books, a teacher's guide and related items to support language development.
These items also include sentence strips and word cards to support shared, group and independent reading development.
Equally important as the training of our educators is the training of our school leadership and management teams. Therefore, I am also pleased that this week we are hosting an induction programme for new school principals on leadership and management.
Fifty of our newly appointed school principals were at the CTLI today taking part in an induction programme which will cover topics such as the legal framework within which principals operate, WCED structures and protocols, school management team alignment and communication.
This programme is one of many this year focused on improving principal and school leadership skills. Other training programmes include courses on the roles and responsibilities of deputy principals and heads of departments, workshops for aspiring school principals and school management team training.