South Africa’s 4+1 plan to boost maths teachers

25 March 2015

The implementation of the 1+4 teacher development plan, aimed at boosting performance in the senior phase, will go ahead after teacher unions expressed support for the initiative, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) said on Tuesday.

The Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC), a body comprising all teacher unions, had agreed to the 1+4 programme for maths teachers, the department said.

The 1+4 teacher development plan has been developed to address the poor performance of learners in mathematics as well as levels of competency of mathematics teachers in South African primary schools.

A recent investigation initiated by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga into the challenges around mathematics and science and technology (MST) revealed that educator capacity was wanting at all levels.

The DBE said the 1+4 model was based on and supported the concept of professional learning communities (PLCs), which Motshekga launched in August 2014.

The 4+1 model works on the assumption that teachers need assistance with the entire curriculum and not just certain sections of the curriculum, which they presumably have difficulties teaching.

“We need to be extremely radical and do the ‘out of the normal’ in our determination to save our children,” the department said.

While training had already begun in Mpumalanga, North West and the Eastern Cape, the project gets officially under way on 1 April.

The department said the model involved breaking each week into two parts, with one day dedicated to thoroughly preparing teachers for the content to be delivered in that particular week.

Assessment

Teachers would be expected to obtain 80% and above in the post-test. Those who obtain less than that will be supported by subject advisors and classroom visits.

“Heads of departments, deputy principals and principals in the schools will also have to play a critical role in supporting these teachers,” said the department.

This model involves 23 teacher training days a year, up from the previous 10.

“The training sessions that we have had up to now, which have yielded unsatisfactory results normally run for 10 days in a year. This radical approach will expose teachers to 30 days of training, development and support on a weekly basis. It turns teachers into learners, promoting the principle of a teacher as a lifelong learner,” the department said.

The department said school management teams (SMTs) would have to adapt their timetables to support the model, ensuring the instruction time allocated for the senior phase is covered.

SAnews.gov.za