Teacher professionalism and accountability in South Africa: a review of the literature

Governder, Logan, Hoffmann, Nimi and Sayed, Yusuf (2016) Teacher professionalism and accountability in South Africa: a review of the literature. Working Paper. Centre for International Teacher Education.

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This is a review of literature on teacher professionalism and accountability. The theoretical component focuses on English-language scholarship on the topic stemming from the global North and Africa, while the empirical component focuses on longitudinal studies from the global North and southern Africa – currently absent as a coherent review in the literature. The review of theoretical literature indicates that, across countries, the notion of teacher professionalism remains highly contested, and there are doubts as to whether teaching can be spoken of in the same way as other professions. This view hinges on a posited theoretical tension between accountability regimes and the professional standing of teachers. The literature suggests that, as accountability regimes deepen, teachers tend to be conceptualised as lacking in competence and in need of supervision. Teacher autonomy is consequently undermined and teaching is viewed as a “semi-profession.” Within Africa, the review indicates a complex relationship between teachers’ past struggles against colonialism and apartheid, and their present attempts to assert autonomy and participate in educational governance. In South Africa, teachers are seen to embrace hybrid identities that combine unionist and professional traits. Such hybridity is inflected by teachers’ race, class and gender position. There is relatively little analytical and historical work on the ways in which teachers’ professional status is shaped by race, class and gender. This is particularly urgent given high levels of inequality and violence in the schooling sector. The review of longitudinal studies suggests that there is a limited focus on ordinary teachers’ views and perceptions of their professional roles. High profile multi-country studies, such as TALIS and SACMEQ, have focussed largely on teacher education and subject knowledge matters. While TALIS and the Eurydice network research are increasingly gathering subjective data from teachers, there is limited longitudinal data on teachers’ views of their professional lives and the challenges they face. In South Africa particularly, such research is only starting.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Working Paper)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education
Depositing User: Deeptima Massey
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2019 09:54
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2021 10:31
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/85713

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