What regulation is needed to surround professional development of teachers provided by different stakeholders? How much time should schools dedicate to skills development for teachers? Which institutionalized systems are in place to help teachers improve their professional skills and competencies continuously? These were some of the questions discussed during a meeting on continuous professional development (CPD) for teachers in Southern Africa held in Lusaka, Zambia from 24-26 February 2020.
Zambia’s Permanent Secretary (Technical Services) in the Ministry of General Education, Dr Jobbicks Kalumba opened the meeting and emphasised the importance of CPD for the delivery of quality education. He said continuous professional development of teachers anchors the entire education system.
CPD is like foundation and footing of a building which are unfortunately buried and once a structure is standing we forget what it is standing on.
Dr Kalumba said teachers are instrumental in ensuring that learners receive quality education while at the same time teachers themselves also need to become lifelong learners and CPD is an avenue for this to be realised.
The meeting which was held under the theme, “Towards the harmonization of training policies and practices on Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for teachers in the SADC region,” brought together participants from Eswatini, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe to demonstrate and share experiences on CPD in their respective countries. The participants also reviewed Zambia’s draft national CPD framework as well as elements for a regional CPD framework for SADC. The review specifically looked into CPD for the TVET sector, which poses particular challenges in several countries in the region.
All nine countries represented at the meeting have some form of policies or frameworks for CPD in place. Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia have developed comprehensive CPD frameworks and strategies while Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Zimbabwe are still working on national frameworks or strengthening national policies in support of CPD.
The meeting’s recommendations on arrangements for pplanning, coordination and implementation of CPD, approaches to delivering CPD, funding mechanisms for CPD and Monitoring and Evaluation of CPD will help in drafting a regional CPD framework to be presented at the SADC ministerial meeting which takes place in June 2020 in Tanzania.