"Teachers must be lifelong learners, as learners and technology change all the time. Learning how to be a lifelong learner is important. This is something we aim to teach our students and should be something that each of us should be pursuing in our daily professional lives."
These were the sentiments shared by Prof Sarah Gravett during a two-day seminar on August 27 - 29 2018, in Soweto Campus.
The Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), together with Education International (EI), the Open Society Foundation Education Support Program (OSF-ESP) and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) hosted a two day seminar entitled 'The Future of the Teaching Profession in Africa: Teacher Learning, Professionalism and Growth.'
''If we want sustained development in any country, we must have excellent teachers," explained UJ's Prof Sarah Gravett, Dean: Faculty of Education.
The purpose of the seminar was to enable an open, informed and critical reflection and discussion on common challenges and opportunities for strengthening teacher learning, professionalism, and growth in Africa. It seeks to share initiatives that are being undertaken on the continent, in order to support cross-country exchange and learning, to better understand what is necessary to strengthen teachers' development and growth and to explore possible opportunities for collaboration.
One of the speakers Martin Henry from Education International stated, "Tell me about the quality of your teachers and I know who you are. In this seminar, we opt to share ideas, experiences & research to speak to us about how to bring teacher quality. Our African Continent needs quality education."
About 80 participants represented a range of key education stakeholders in Africa. The event saw representatives from teacher bodies, ministries of education, regional and international organisations, academics, NGOs and experts in the field of education committed to enhancing the development of the teaching profession.
The keynote speakers included Prof Sarah Gravett; Martin Henry, Education International; Mary Metcalfe, University of Johannesburg; Hugh McLean, Open Society Foundation Education Support Program; and Velaphi Mamba, Open Society Initiative Southern Africa
The seminar shared and reflected on challenges, emerging trends and learning from different contexts in Africa regarding the development of the teaching profession; Building possibilities for collaboration within and across country contexts around issues of teachers' learning, professionalism, accountability and development; Identifying the role of different stakeholders in shaping policies and processes related to the teaching profession and, where relevant, to develop joint commitments to strengthening teachers' development and growth.