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'n Model vir onderwyserprofessionaliteit in 'n veranderende Suid–Afrika
Kriel, Lourens Leon Rynardt
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Since 1993 South Africa underwent epoch-making constitutional changes. On the political terrain South Africa moved away from an "apartheid's" dispensation to a political dispensation that offers equality on all terrains to all its citizens. The political changes brought a new Constitution into existence, which includes a Bill of Fundamental Human rights. The other sectors of the society - including education - are inextricably connected to the political changes in the country. Education occupies a particularly important position in the community in as far as education is regarded as the central activity of the community. A changing model for teacher professionalism in a changing South Africa is exceedingly necessary, because the quality, productivity and effectiveness of education in South Africa is under suspicion. Education and training in South Africa do not satisfy the expectations of the community regarding education and training. The teachers (i.e. educators) are being regarded as one of the crucial factors responsible for the poor standard and quality of education in South Africa. In modern society education is a complex chain which involves many role players. The teacher (i.e. educator) must be aware of the fact that the law places a particular liability on him, especially regarding his professionalism. From a judicial point of view the teacher (i.e. educator) is accountable for his professional behaviour and conduct Various statutory changes have already taken place which might have an influence on teacher professionalism. The teacher (i.e. educator) should already have taken cognisance of this. Statutory changes that have already taken place and which might have a bearing on teacher professionalism, are amongst others the new Constitution that includes a Bill of Fundamental Human rights, the Education Labour Relations Act and the Educator's Employment Act. The right to basic education, as included in the Constitution, places an obligation on the teaching profession to see to it that only qualified and competent persons practice as professional teachers (i. c. educators). The Education Labour Relations Act makes provision for a South African Council for Educators, under which all teachers (i. c. educators) must be registered before such a person may practice as a professional teacher (i.e. educator). The South African Council for Educators is also empowered with certain powers and competencies to establish minimum entrance requirements for the teaching profession, as well as to establish an ethical code of conduct to which all educators must adhere. The Educator's Employment Act has already demarcated misconduct and incompetence of teachers (i.e. educators) and makes provision for the procedures to be followed in case of trespassing by a teacher (i.e. educator). The common law determinants such as the rules of natural justice and due process make provision for transparent administrative justice. The statutory and common law determinants provide a framework in which a model for teacher professionalism can be developed. The international community also makes use of set requirements which a person must satisfy before such a person may practice as a professional teacher (i. c. educator). The international community has already refined misconduct stipulations, such as insubordination, immoral behaviour and criminal offences through court verdicts. In the international community's findings the South African Council for Educators might find an additional frame of reference in the development of a model for teacher professionalism in a changing South Africa. All economies, but especially the economy of a changing South Africa, depend heavily on a well-educated citizen force. Well-trained and competent teachers (i. c. educators) are essential in bringing about a well-educated citizen force, which can make a contribution to a country's economy. A model for teacher professionalism in a changing South Africa is a prerequisite for the achievement of this goal.
- Education