Do you understand CPTD?

In keeping with the widely held belief that teachers should continue to deepen their knowledge and refine their skills throughout their careers as do members of most other professions, the South African Council of Educators (SACE) have launched the Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) Management System. Everyone will be required to ‘sign up’ for the CPTD Management System which is a different process to the required SACE registration of all teachers.


 2013 saw the orientation and ‘sign up’ of the first cohort of the system, principals and deputy principals. The first year of their three year cycle began in 2014 and they are presently in their second year of implementation. According to a recent SACE newsletter, 82% of the target set for the signing up of principals and deputies has been achieved. Heads of Department were required to ‘sign up’ in 2014 in order to begin their first year of implementation in 2015,  secondary school teachers will ‘sign up’ in 2015 and begin the first year of their three year cycle in 2016 and finally primary school teachers will ‘sign up’ in 2016 and commence their three year cycle in 2017.  Everyone is required to earn 150 professional development (PD) points over their three year cycle.

But what does earning 150 CPD points over a three year period actually entail? Will it cost teachers a lot of money to participate in expensive SACE endorsed activities in order to earn their points? Will teachers, who are already hard pressed to find time for everything they have to do, have to sacrifice even more time to participate in these activities? According to SACE, not necessarily if teachers plan their participation in the three types of professional development activities carefully and wisely.

Teachers will have to earn their Professional Development (PD) points from three types of professional development activities:

·       Type 1 - Teacher initiated activities

·       Type 2 - School initiated activities

·       Type 3 – Externally initiated activities ( SACE endorsed activities)

Type 1 and 2 Activities are not submitted to SACE for endorsement. Teachers are responsible to participate in them and report on them in their Professional Development Portfolios. . Type 3 Activities, on the other hand, go through a quality assurance process with SACE in order to protect teaches against dishonest service providers and poor quality activities. Teachers are urged to try to strike a balance by earning points from all three types of PD activities over the three year cycle.  Points earned are recorded on-line via the Points Schedule / Tables provided by SACE

A wide range of options are available in all three categories. Type 1 activities can include

-        Reading educational material from various publications (educational journals, professional organisations, conference papers etc.)

-        Electronic media ( e.g. watching TED videos or DVDs)

-        Attending educational meetings (these include participating in professional learning communities, teacher union meetings, subject committee meetings)

-        Educational conferences such as those offered by NAPTOSA in the various provinces.

-        Mentoring and coaching colleagues

-        Researching and developing articles for journals, magazines or periodicals (for example, NAPTOSA Insight!)

-        Researching and developing teaching and learning materials

-        Marking / assessing National Senior Certificate exams or Annual National Assessments

-        Self funded short courses

Type 2 activities, the school initiated activities can include

-        Attending and participating in staff meetings

-        Attending and participating in cluster meetings

-        Participating in extra-curricular activities

-        Attending and participating in school workshops on curriculum, teaching and assessment

-        Conducting a workshop for staff at school

-        Participating in school projects such as community outreach projects or establishing food gardens.

SACE approved providers offer Type 3 activities. These include universities, NGOs, Teacher Unions, government departments and private providers. Activities such as

-        CAPS training

-        ACE courses

-        Activities/ courses included in the SACE database/ catalogue of endorsed PD activities.

The SACE publication “HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN MY THREE YEAR CYCLE – EDUCATORS’ GUIDE” provides a month by month guideline to assist teachers with their planning and it also gives specific details as to how many points teachers may earn over the three year period from the different types of activities. For example, only 30 points can be earned from reading educational publications during the three year cycle.

Reporting on participation in professional development activities to happen twice a year – in May/ June and October/ November. These reports can be completed manually or electronically ( ).

Teachers are encouraged to take time to plan their PD activities and prevent CPTD from becoming yet another onerous task. Maximise the variety of opportunities available to you - attend NAPTOSA branch meetings, offer to share your knowledge and expertise with colleagues in workshops or cluster meetings, mentor or coach newly qualified teachers or volunteer to write articles for NAPTOSA Insight or The Teacher.