Newly qualified teachers can easily be overwhelmed at the beginning of their teaching careers if they are not supported.
According to the Acting Chief Director of Education Human Resource Development at the Department of Basic Education (DBE), Lala Maje, newly qualified teachers are not fully equipped to deal with the challenges that they face in schools.
To address this, the DBE is phasing in the New Teacher Induction Programme (NTIP) to help newly qualified teachers to transition smoothly into the classroom environment.
As part of the programme, the newly qualified teachers are paired with mentors who have more experience in the teaching profession so that skills can be transferred among themselves.
“Effective induction can ease this transition and enhance a new teacher's ability to make an impact on learners,” says Maje.
The programme is also meant for teachers who come from abroad and those who had left the teaching profession for more than five years before returning.
Maje says she has first-hand experience of being a teacher since her career also started in a classroom more than 20 years ago.
“What you experience at the beginning of your career as a teacher can make or break you. For example, teachers have to mark attendance registers, prepare lessons in advance and get approval from heads of departments before they can teach.
“They deal with different attitudes from learners and maintain order during the lessons, apart from ensuring that teaching and learning takes place,” she explains.
Maje says this is not easy if the teacher is new from university.
Establishing the NTIP
Discussions of establishing the NTIP started about 15 years ago when Minister Angie Motshekga suggested that newly qualified teachers needed to be supported.
The NTIP was established following the Teacher Education Summit that was held by DBE in collaboration with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in 2009.
The department through the Initial Teacher Education Directorate collaborated with DHET, provincial education departments and partners including the South African Council for Educators (SACE), Joint Education Trust Education Services, the North West University, the University of Witwatersrand and the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB) to develop an induction programme for all new teachers that join the teaching profession.
Maje says the programme was piloted during the 2020 school calendar year and the department took a decision to phase it in this year in schools selected by the DBE in education districts in the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Western Cape.
“The aim is to ensure that all new teachers will be part of the programme from 2024 moving forward,” explains Maje.
She adds that DBE in collaboration with VVOB will provide the support required by the provincial departments in implementing the programme to create a common standard across the board.
Maje says SACE will soon determine the duration of the programme, according to their professional standards for teachers.
After completing the NTIP, the newly qualified teachers will be equipped for the classroom environment.
During a roundtable discussion recently held by the DBE, VVOB representative Gerrit Coetzee explained that guiding material has been developed to assist newly qualified teachers and mentors.
“When the newly appointed teachers are supported and mentored, they become more confident in doing their job in the classroom, school and community. The NTIP also aims to guide the new teachers on areas of continued professional development,” enthused Coetzee.