Teacher education in South Africa : a critical study of selected aspects of its historical, curricular and administrative development.
Niven, John McGregor.
MetadataShow full item record
This study, in a sense, mirrors the attitudes of the society in which it is based towards a fundamental pedagogical task, that of the preparation of its teachers, Almost throughout the Western world, the concept of elementary education for all was accepted as a responsibility of the society with little thought being given to the preparation of teachers to make the concept a reality. From this emerged, with the dichotomy of full education for a privileged elite, and basic education for the mass of society, the widespread idea that elementary school teachers stood in need of professional training while secondary schoolmasters required only a thorough grounding in academic studies in the university. It has only been with the full realisation about the middle decades of this century of the need for education at secondary school level for all members of society, that the necessity for a welleducated teaching force has become an accepted reality. With this has come the acceptance of teacher education as an essential pre-requisite of a national system of education rather than merely a poor and somewhat depressed Cinderella of the school system. Part One of this survey therefore seeks to examine the origins and early development of systems for the preparation of teachers in the days before the unification of the states of South Africa. Part Two carries on the historical investigation and the growing moves towards the professionalisation of teacher education up to the middle of the present century. Central to the development of this theme is the major problem of constitutional provision for the control of education in the Union of South Africa. The resultant lack of a national policy for education in general and teacher education in particular sets the stage for the second two parts of the survey. Part Three endeavours on a highly selective basis to examine some of the problems which confront the teacher educator and the educational planner at the present time, concentrating in particular upon aspects of demography and the supply of teachers, as well as the nature of the courses offered. The final section of the study examines the reform period of South African education at elementary and secondary school levels represented by the legislation of the decade of the 'sixties. In particular the proposals of the National Education Policy Act of 1967, and its amendment of 1969, regarding the structure of teacher education in this country are examined. Finally, proposals are made with regard to the implementation of this policy in the present decade. Inevitably as this investigation has proceeded, as the power of the researcher's lens has been increased, so the breadth of the study has been replaced by depth. The depth has not been consistent, reflecting the personal predelictions of the investigator. An attempt has been made to examine aspects of the preparation of teachers for the White group only. Previous experience of an investigation into a much more restricted field than is represented by South Africa revealed the practical impossibility feaiofa wider study than this. Can such a study have any function in the educational literature of the society? This is a question which is of concern to every researcher in the field of the social sciences. For the first time since the creation of Union in 1910, and the framing of the famous but ambiguous phrase in Section 85 of the South Africa Act, this country has been able to contemplate the formulation of a national education policy. The relationships between institutions and authorities charged with the preparation of teachers has in the past largely been based on divisive and separatist tendencies. If a national education policy is to be securely based, it must have at its core a teacher force which is committed to its implementation. It is in the hope that teacher education may be based upon policies which draw institutions and authorities together upon a professional basis of common interest rather than upon the coercive effect of ministerial edict that this study may have some slight value. It is in this spirit that it has been undertaken.No abstract available