The Department of Education Management and Policy Studies in the Faculty of education at the University of Pretoria has initiated the development of a context specific online continuous professional development course for educational leaders at all levels. Inspired by the Policy on the South African Standard for Principalship and the Five-Year Strategic Plan 2015/16-2019/20 of the Department of Basic Education, the development of this course is a collaborative effort by Prof Johan Beckmann and Mr. André du Plessis from the Department of Education Management and Policy Studies at the Faculty of Education, UP.
Also partricipating is Prof Jukka Alava from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland and [email protected] The course offers a contextually intelligent training programme for educational leaders and aspiring leaders and draws from international and South African expertise and experience in educational leadership and management development. It provides participants with the latest theoretical insights and opportunities for reflecting and designing context-specific home-grown solutions to challenges.
During the first phase of the development a comprehensive document analysis of the competencies of educational leaders as expressed in the Policy on the South African Standard for Principalship was conducted. Thereafter the identified competencies were grouped into sub-themes, after which the sub-themes were further consolidated into ten modules.
The pedagogical approach of the course provides an option to participants to complete an individual module according to their own individual need(s) or to complete the whole course. Participants are required to access on-line lectures (an average of 18 on-line lectures per module) developed by the University of Jyväskylä, as well as other course material such as academic articles, PowerPoint presentations and policy documents. Each module culminates in a seminar session which presents participants, with the guidance of trained facilitators, an opportunity to present their newly-acquired knowledge as it relates to their specific personal and professional context.
Peer assessment is done during the seminar sessions, followed by the submission of an assignment which is assessed on-line, culminating in a participant’s ‘own leadership book’.
The whole course is being submitted for endorsement by the South African Council for Educators (SACE). Such endorsement will enable participants to gain CPTD-points for completion of individual modules as separate short courses, as well as for the completion of all ten modules. A key feature of this course is that it will be accessible anywhere in the country and seminar sessions will be presented nationwide. It is envisaged that the course will be adapted to suit the needs of other countries on the African continent.