Countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have been called on to establish professional qualification bodies for teachers. This was one of the outcomes of a ministerial summit held at Zimbali north of Durban.

Clarity around the standard of qualifications and vetting of teachers will enhance skills mobility within the region. This, in turn, will advance efforts to advance industrialisation in SADC countries.

SADC member states have been urged to take part in a teachers’ qualification framework for the region.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says only South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe have qualification authorities for teachers. Motshekga was one of the South African ministers who took part in a summit on education and training, science and technology, as well as innovation.

She says the ministerial summit has agreed that each SADC country must have its own teachers’ qualifications authority. “But we added more in things that we do want teachers to be vetted around, to be supported around and what are the things that we really think will enable us to have some coherence and integration around the movement of skills and educators in particular, even professors in particular.”

The summit has also agreed that SADC countries register their experts and areas of research on a Science, Technology and Innovation Portal. Motshekga says the portal will help prevent the duplication of research. “Botswana on dry farming, they have their own indigenous. They’re doing very well on beef farming and were also a water scarce country. So we do need to learn from their expertise for our own development.”

Motshekga says the summit was characterised by a spirit of openness and sharing. “I think there’s much more coherence, there’s more openness, there’s sharing of resources and member states themselves, in their own strengths and weaknesses, are making a contribution.”

This summit is one of the preparatory events for a SADC heads of state summit in August.