Exploring the role of school management developers (SMDS) as providers of in–service education and training (INSET) to SSE
Moloi, Sello Winston Fraser
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The first democratic elections held in South Africa in 1994 brought about many changes in the South African education system. Among the new policies and legislations introduced to transform the education and training system was the introduction of Outcomes-Based Education (OBE), commonly known as curriculum 2005 to accommodate the needs of all learners and society as a whole (Williams 2002:2). As a result of these changes, many educators, especially those at secondary schools found themselves in the state of uncertainty about the relevance of their skills in the classroom situation. These educators found themselves in need of skills and knowledge that would enable them to cope with the educational challenges. Ravhudzulo (2004: 1) notes that if SSEs are to move with changes and provide quality education, they need INSET and should be involved in it throughout their careers. After all, educators and principals are a school's most important resource and continual investment in their professional development contributes to raising the quality and standards of learners' learning and achievement. In the Free State Province, for example, School Management Developers (SMGDS) have the responsibility to establish what knowledge, skills and abilities are essential to enable SSEs to perform their jobs competently. Based on the foregoing, an exploratory research study was conducted to investigate the role function of the SMGDS as providers of INSET for SSEs in the Thabo Mofutsanyana Education District (TMED) of the Free State Province. The research was conducted by means of a literature study and an empirical investigation. The literature review explored various definitions of INSET and related concepts as used in the United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa. The empirical study investigated the role of SMGDS as providers of INSET for SSEs in TMD of the Free State Province by using questionnaires administered to fifty-two secondary schools in the TMD. The research findings indicated that there is a need for SMGDS to provide vigorous INSET programmes in order to improve SSEs' knowledge and skills. The type of INSET provided to SSEs becomes relevant only if their needs are addressed. Based on the literature- and empirical research findings, recommendations were made for the Department of Education regarding the need for SMGDS to provide INSET to SSEs. Further indications are that INSET provided by SMGDS improves educator performance in the classroom.
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