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The dual economy of schooling and teacher morale in South Africa Yael Shalem Ursula Hoadley.

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Presentation on theme: "The dual economy of schooling and teacher morale in South Africa Yael Shalem Ursula Hoadley."— Presentation transcript:

1 The dual economy of schooling and teacher morale in South Africa Yael Shalem Ursula Hoadley

2 What do studies show us? Studies on teacher supply and demand: normal attrition rate amongst older teachers but a high attrition rate among younger teachers who ‘first join the system, test it and leave for something preferable after a few years’ Studies on job satisfaction: high job stress, role expansion and intensification are high predictors for teachers’ leaving the profession Studies on job stress: time pressures, educational changes, administrative problems, professional distress and pupil misbehavior, and related illnesses Systemic evaluation, educators workload and news papers

3 The problem to be investigated Current research reports on many factors that contribute to teachers’ low morale and experience of job stress what is missing is the big picture -“The prevailing educational settlement of teachers’ work” Without the big picture, we don’t know if measures taken by government to reform the system (mainly to raise learner achievement) would be appropriate, given the above state of teachers (low) morale and (low) job satisfaction.

4 Teachers’ low morale needs to be considered in the context of these structural conditions School management of accountability demands Curriculum reform enduring economic inequalities

5 Enduring economic inequalities

6 Social and economic inequalities Workers would have taken, in 2003, 111 years to earn what an executive director earned in a year, and, in 2004, 150 years. In the mining industry in 2004, it would have taken a worker on the minimum wage 257 years to earn what a mining boss earned in a year. (Legassick 2007, 483) 68%, or 12.3 million children (mainly African rural children) family’s income less than R1200 per month

7 Child poverty 68%, or 12.3 million children (mainly African rural children) family’s income is less than R1200 per month 2.6 million children (almost exclusively Black) live in backyard dwellings or shacks in informal settlements and, 5.2 million children (more than a quarter of all children in South Africa and predominantly Black) live in overcrowded households (2006); The families of 45% of children use inadequate sanitation facilities and rely on unsafe or distant sources of drinking water.

8 Poverty and achievement strong correlation between the former race category of schools, social inequality and achievement the largest proportion of formerly white schools are in quintile 5 (best off) and the largest number of learners in formerly Black schools are in quintile 1 (worst off) overwhelming majority of children in the low-performing 80% of schools are poor and African physical conditions of the child’s health (stunting, poverty and school completion) child-rearing practices (reading practices, skills embedded in linguistic interactions between parents and children)

9 Unequal access of teachers to schools with learners of high socio-economic background Home 2 nd (3 rd ) site of acquisition Child’s physical health Childs’ poverty

10 Quasi- market for teachers inequalities at the level of the school

11 Inequalities at the level of the school School fees : Parents in the richest schools spend 570 times more on added private support to the school than in poorer schools Public spending: per black learner has increased by 75% ; per white learner has more than halved. But if we include school fees in the calculation, 34% more is spent on every public school learner in the richest quintile compared to the other four quintiles’. Teacher salary: the new salary structure is based on the 1995 baseline qualification and years of experience of each educator. It continues to reproduce past inequities of pay differentials between teachers. De facto, the salary of educators with higher qualifications and more years of experience is still being rewarded Distribution of teachers into schools: wealthier, suburban schools fill posts with well qualified teachers.

12 Jansen: ‘A dual system that nurtures pupils’ vain hopes’ ; Fleisch: A bi-modal distribution of achievement Taylor and Yo: ‘class is displacing race as the critical factor in the determination of the composition of South Africa’s schools’

13 Quasi-market of teachers’ labour –very few teachers have access to schools in quintile 5 and 4 Teacher salary policy School fees policy and public spending 2 nd site of acquisition Child’s physical health Childs’ Poverty

14 Constant change coupled with bureaucratic demands of accountability

15 Organisational changes 4 curriculum changes within a short space of time Teacher subject knowledge Teacher confidence CAPS: content specification curriculum coherence time specification skill specification in relation to content Curriculum implementation and access to specialised knowledge a larger reservoir of specialised knowledge better mentoring possibilities for novice teachers good teaching practices of individual teachers who are motivated to transform their practice effective school management that mediates between state’s regulation and the reality of the school

16 Unequal access of teachers to schools with high level of organisational resources School regulation Underspecified curriculum Teachers knowledge Childs’ Poverty and Physical Health Dual economy of schooling 2 nd site of acquisition; school fees ; social and cognitive resources

17 4 crucial variables that mediate teachers’ work 1.Access to learners’ who are cognitively well- prepared for schooling, are physically healthy and whose homes function as a second site of acquisition; 2.meaningful learning opportunities in the past and in the present and a reservoir of cognitive resources at the level of the school; 3.a well-specified and guiding curriculum; and 4.functional school management that mediates the bureaucratic demands on teacher time.

18 Category 1: lack access to all 4 variables 1.60–70% of teachers in South Africa 2.work in schools for the poor and produce poor student achievement 3.These teachers would have to expend much more effort to develop their learners and the task is insurmountable given they lack access to the above variables 4.If the management at the school level is unable to mediate the intense bureaucratic demands of accountability systems, these teachers will start experiencing role intensification without any necessary improvement in student learning. 5.Low morale and lack of job satisfaction

19 Category 2: have access to 4 variables 1.very small % of teachers 2.work in rich schools 3.their effort to develop learners and to transform them into a productive citizenry is supplemented by the instructional time of the learners’ home (second site of acquisition and in some cases by the aid of a private tutor, a third site of acquisition). 4.These teachers enjoy reasonable levels of autonomy when their learning and teaching time is protected by school leadership that is confident to filter the bureaucratic demands of accountability... 5.Their access to cognitive resources and their confidence may compensate for poor curriculum 6.High level of teacher morale

20 Category 3 (1) Access to variables 2, % of teachers 2.access to variables 2, 4 3.teachers who work in middle quintile schools -a significant proportion of learners in these schools are cognitively under- prepared for school and are not aided by extra instructional time in the home. But, 4.the teachers in these schools have acquired specialised knowledge and have access to knowledge resources in and outside of school 5.these teachers would have to expend more effort to transform these learners. Their effort is not supplemented by a second site of acquisition 6.School leadership is important these school protecting teacher time to exercise discretion. We can expect that these teachers’ morale will be higher than teachers who work with the same kinds of learners but are subjected to management that requires blind compliance.

21 Category 3 (2) Access to variable 1 10% Teachers who work in ‘stagnating’- formerly privileged schools.. teachers in these schools have access to learners who are healthy and cognitively prepared for school they have acquired specialised knowledge and work in reasonable physical environments. Yet they do not have access to new learning opportunities and thus their access to knowledge resources is limited These teachers display low levels of collaboration and motivation and rely heavily on the second or even a third site of acquisition.

22 The evidence shown in this paper goes against a commonly held view that school failure is a result of teachers’ inefficiency argues that it is time to flag the intractable pattern of inequalities that are produced because of the close association between children’s cognitive development and family poverty, adversarial market conditions, bureaucratisation of teachers’ work and a radically new curriculum.

23 What should be done teacher shame and blame must be stopped immediately. What is needed is true recognition of the differential effort required of different teachers in adding value to child’s background recruitment campaign “teachers matter” differential pay (packages) relative to the effort teachers must expend to develop their learners accountability is not one fits all, different school conditions must be respected use test-data to develop teachers


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