On 27 February – 2 March 2019 the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE), held a workshop for the Continuing Professional Development (CPD Framework) for teachers and supervisors in Zimbabwe. The workshop’s objectives included establishing a stakeholder consensus on the need for a CDP Framework for the Education Sector; developing a strategy for the development of the Framework and a roadmap; and establishing a CDP Framework Working Group.
The purpose of the Framework is to guide the design and implementation of continuing professional development programmes for the teachers and learners. The underlying aim for the CPD Framework is to improve the quality of teaching and learning practices, and raise student learning outcomes at all levels of the education system. The Framework will also contribute towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal Four (SDG 4) on the provision of quality education and lifelong learning for all.
In 2015, the Ministry developed the Teacher Professional Standards (TPS). The development of TPS acknowledges that teachers constitute the backbone of any education system, and their standards in terms of knowledge, skills, and values make an immense contribution to the delivery of good quality education. The development of TPS was a major milestone in the Ministry’s efforts to enhance the capacity of teachers and ‘restore the [professional status of teachers’ which had been eroded during the period of economic downturn which the country experienced in the period between 2000 and 2008 (Ministry of Education 2015). The stipulation of professional standards has, as one its main aims, the provision of benchmarks for self-assessment of teacher performance which lays the basis for teacher professional development programmes. Through TPS, teachers are able to assess their professional competencies against a set of stipulated standards and, on the basis of their self-assessment, they can then come up with their own professional development plans to address skills gaps that would have been identified.
The advent of the updated competency based curriculum launched in January 2017, to some extent, placed new demands on the teacher. To deliver on the new curriculum, the teacher is expected to acquire a whole set of new competencies based on the principles set in the TPS document. According to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (2015:41), “The curriculum framework stresses learner-centred approaches. The focus on learning revolves around learners as the engage in the search and discovery of new knowledge. The teacher acts as a co-explorer and facilitating knowledge discovery in order to arrive at an objective understanding of content and demonstration of skills so acquired”. The same notion is amplified in the Ministry’s Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) 2016 – 2020 which talks of “strong focus on improving the standards of teaching and the opportunities for teachers to develop their professional knowledge and skills.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has put in place a number of in-service training programmes to capacitate the teacher in line with the provisions of the TPS as well as the demands of the new curriculum. While the programmes have made some impact in enhancing the skills of the teachers, it has been noted that the programmes have tended to be on an ad hoc basis with a number of stakeholders supporting some areas and not others. Therefore, a structured continuing professional development programme for teachers and their supervisors through a framework will articulate the skills gaps and development needs of the teachers and supervisors and in-service programmes to address the identified needs.
The development of the CPD Framework will be consultative in approach, and shall be informed by a situational analysis and document reviews. Individual and group consultative meetings will be held with a wide range of stakeholders at national, provincial, district, cluster and school levels. These will include Principal Directors, Directors at Head Office and their deputies, Provincial Education Directors and their deputies District Schools Inspectors, Schools Inspectors, the Public Service Commission, University and Teacher Education College lecturers, Head Teachers, school teachers and Teachers’ Unions, among other stakeholders.