Home > About SDU > Overview


We need no reminding that we face enormous educational challenges in South Africa. Aside from ongoing infrastructural shortfalls, we have to contend with broader systemic failures; sadly, the quality of teaching and learning in many classrooms throughout the country remains inadequate; exacerbated by the heavy burden of poverty that is the plight of many South Africans. To our dismay it is proving exceptionally difficult to close the huge achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged schools.

The University of Cape Town accepts that it has a role to play in improving the quality of educational provision in this country. The Schools Development Unit in the School of Education is at the forefront of the university’s efforts in this regard.

Here at the SDU we hold true to the belief that what happens in schools can and does make a difference. We are encouraged by the mounting evidence from around the world that, particularly in schools which serve poor communities, it is the teacher who has the single largest positive impact on schooling outcomes. That is why the SDU remains committed to helping teacher to teach better.

We do this work by addressing shortfalls in subject content knowledge and building skills in appropriate pedagogies and methodologies of teaching. We are also well aware of the need to build the organisational skills of school managers. Thus, the twin pillars of our work are developing teacher professionalism and improving school organisation.

We pride ourselves on our reach: from the R-Maths programme in Grade R, to our support for mathematics and science teachers preparing learners for their Grade 12 matric examinations.

Welcome to our website and thank you for taking an interest in the SDU. For more information about our work, please click on the links below: