n South African Journal of Higher Education - Education practitioners' understanding of professional development and associated competencies

Volume 19, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



The recent revision of the norms and standards of educator education suggests a new direction in education policy in South Africa. Educator education is now viewed as lifelong learning with the ongoing development of professional competencies. The Committee of Teacher Education Policy (COTEP) considers the professional development of practitioners as one way to improve the quality of professional practice. An analysis of the literature on professional development in education indicates a wide range of interpretations of the concept from the narrow interpretation accepted by COTEP of improving classroom practice, to a broad idea of improving organisational and occupational conditions. This paper explores how education practitioners view the concept of professional development and what competencies they associate with this concept. The author argues that practitioners view professional development as a much broader concept than that accepted by COTEP and suggests that teacher education policy is unlikely to lead to the improvement of professional practice as envisaged by COTEP.

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