Pretoria – The launch of Subject Committees and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are set to radically transform Basic Education to meet the needs of the 21st century learner, says Minister Angie Motshekga.
Speaking at the launch, on Thursday, Minister Motshekga said Subject Committees and PLCs will provide a uniform mechanism for subject teachers and other subject specialists to contribute to the continuous process of curriculum development and effective curriculum implementation.
She said at the heart of quality education is the effective curriculum delivery.
“Effective curriculum delivery is a principal indicator of quality basic education and teachers are the vehicles through which the curriculum is delivered,” she said.
Minister Motshekga said a transformed education system must offer all children a real chance to be citizens of the world.
“When we say every child is a national asset, we mean all of them deserve better, a state-funded quality education.
“We therefore have a duty to accelerate the radical transformation of the basic education sector so that the girl child of the 21st century can truly enjoy the freedoms that come with a democracy,” she said.
In 2010, the Ministerial Project Committee (MPC) for the Curriculum, Assessment and Policy Statement recommended the establishment of Subject Committees.
“The Subject Committees are strong vehicles to promote discussion and inputs by subject specialists on curriculum policy development and implementation, and the proposed subject committee structures are well-defined and regulated at national, provincial and district levels,” the Minister said.
She said the Subject Committees cater for all the bands in the schooling sector such as Early Childhood Development (ECD), General Education and Training (GET) and Further Education and Training (FET).
National Subject Committee
The roles and responsibilities of the National Subject Committee are to:
- Serve as the locus of authority for curriculum management, review and change;
- Provide ongoing curriculum expertise, guidance and leadership;
- Provide a forum for the review of national strategies as well as national and international analyses of assessments;
- Strengthen areas of co-operation and articulation in the subject offerings in the GET and FET Phases;
- Maintain a watching brief over the subject area, focusing on local and international best practices;
- The National Committee will invite expert contributors to the discussions on an ad hoc basis;
- Ensure a common vision for the subject and its implementation and to ensure that each province works toward the same objectives for the subject and to ensure the desired outcomes of the national examinations;
- Ensure that the principles of inclusion find expression in all aspects of curriculum implementation and assessment; and
- Oversee the establishment of provincial subcommittees including communities of practice discussion groups.
Provincial Subject Committee
Provincial departments of education will establish Subject Committee in line with those established at national level, taking into account regional differences in provincial organisational structures.
The roles and responsibilities of the Provincial Subject Committees are to:
- Monitor implementation of the specific subjects at provincial level and to record and convey inputs from District Subject Committees
- Inform the national subject committee on matters pertaining to teaching praxis and curriculum development;
- To facilitate two-way communication, District Subject Committees must communicate responses from the provincial structures back to the school clusters; and
- Provide quarterly progress reports of implementation of the subject to the national subject committee.
District/Cluster Subject Committee
The roles and responsibilities of the District/Cluster Subject Committee are to:
- Highlight issues for tabling and discussion in the Provincial and National Subject Committee meetings;
- Districts will establish subject committees. These subject committees may be established at district cluster level, as appropriate, to monitor implementation of the specific subjects and to record and convey inputs from subject teachers. The cluster level may be constituted in the form of a circuit or a cluster of schools;
- To facilitate two-way communication, District Subject Committees must communicate responses from the provincial structures back to the circuit/school clusters;
- Provide quarterly reports regarding implementation of the subject to the provincial Subject Committee; and
- Inform the provincial Subject Committee on matters pertaining to practice and curriculum development.
The proposal that Subject Committees should be established at national, provincial and district levels was approved by the Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) at its meeting, in March, this year.
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
The PLCs are slanted towards teacher professional development as articulated in the Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development (ISPFTED).
“PLCs as envisaged in ISPFTED are communities that provide the setting and necessary support for groups of classroom teachers, school managers and subject advisors to participate collectively in determining their own developmental trajectories, and to set up activities that will drive their development,” Minister Motshekga said.