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Educator Professional Development (E.P.D)

The unique Educator Professional Development method uses strategies for learning and self-growth as the foundation for all courses and programs. This approach creates a unique opportunity to prepare our participants for a new adventure or for the next step in their career. Look through our current course offerings below to learn more.

Teacher Assisting a Student


Great North Business Incubator (GNBI) is one of the most innovative not- for -profit professional  teacher development  provider or organization in South Africa.  We are inspired by the mission to support education stakeholders , Department or Ministry of Education, schools, teachers and education communities in the transformation of the education process for the 21st Century digitalized societies.

We do this by identifying and testing promising innovative practices, sharing evidence about their impact , supporting the mainstreaming of innovative teaching and learning practices aligned to the 21st century standards of inclusive education. 

GNBI has partnered with the South Africa Council of Educators(SACE) to embark on an exciting journey to help schools become effective in the pedagogical use of technology, equipping both teachers and school heads with skills to achieve digital societies. We have evolved to become a key player in the African and South African education system transforming the teaching and learning processes at schools and the use of ICT as a force for improvement.

Image by Susan Q Yin


It is hard to imagine a time when the opportunity and need to transform South African education has been greater. To be college and career ready today, student learning must go beyond mastery of core subjects and include 21st century knowledge and skills like critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and technology literacy.

The South African Council of Educators (SACE) and the Great North Business Incubator(GNBI)  believe new teacher candidates must be equipped with 21st century knowledge and skills and learn how to integrate them into their classroom practice for our nation to realize its goal of successfully meeting the challenges of this century. This is not a matter of teaching either academic or 21st century knowledge and skills. It’s about fusing the two, so that our children meet the demands of a global economy, as well as engage in good citizenship and participate fully in a vibrant and civil society.

“To keep South Africa competitive, and to make the South African dream of equal educational opportunity a reality, we need to recruit, reward, train, learn from, and honour a new generation of talented teachers. But the bar must be raised for successful teacher preparation programs because we ask much more of teachers today than even a decade ago. Today teachers are asked to achieve significant academic growth for all students at the same time that they instruct students with ever-more diverse needs. Teaching has never been more difficult, it has never been more important, and the desperate need for more student success has never been so urgent. Are we adequately preparing future teachers to win this critical battle?”

This is an exciting and challenging time for teacher educators. The nature of teaching is changing. In an effort to transform themselves into exemplary educator preparation institutions, many programs are becoming more entrepreneurial, recognizing new opportunities and making changes required to respond to the needs of 21st century learners.

Today as never before, meeting our society’s challenges demands educational excellence. Reinvigorating the economy, achieving energy independence with alternative technologies and green jobs, and strengthening our health care system require a skilled populace that is ready for the critical challenges we face. There is widespread consensus, however, that our education systems are failing to adequately prepare all students with the essential 21st century knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in life, career and citizenship.

We are hopeful that our programs will stimulate conversation and ideas that can enrich your transformative efforts. Against the backdrop of a severe downturn in our economy, changing state, COVID19 pandemic and national policies, and rising accountability and expectations, the challenges of embedding 21st century knowledge and skills are great. Great challenges require bold leadership. We hope you will join us in advancing educator preparation so that every child will thrive in their personal life, their community and the workplace.

Have a look at our programs and decide to transform today and enroll for the 21st century educator preparedness professional development training.



Yours Sincerely

Mr Joseph Makuvaza

Our activities encompass these stages

•    Providing concrete evidence and data in the  area of innovation in education to influence policy
•    Supporting schools and teachers in their teaching practices
•    Developing and sustaining a network of schools engaged in innovative teaching and learning approaches
•    Creating a robust clinical experience for teacher candidates, including year-long teaching residency programs
•    Go beyond providing content knowledge and prepare teachers to differentiate their instruction to reach all children, especially those most at risk for school failure: children with disabilities, and children from low-income homes, 
•    Provide evidence that the teachers trained at GNBI will have a positive effect on their students’ learning, 

•    Meet the demands of the global economy by exemplifying, and embedding in instruction, the mastery of 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation.


We pride ourselves in offering a wide range of courses. Our courses are geared toward innovation, well being and the arts, improved school environment, with a constant focus on the 21st century skills.  We aware that today’s educators are facing unprecedented challenges as well as incredible opportunities . Our courses help them keep updated, adaptable and motivated. 

GNBI has a wide network of partner universities and is constantly involved in international projects with the goal of developing and sharing innovative teaching methods and techniques,

Glass Ceiling

Preparing Students For The 21st Century Economy 

Today as never before, meeting our society’s challenges demands educational excellence. Reinvigorating the economy, achieving energy independence with alternative technologies and green jobs, and strengthening our health care system require a skilled populace that is ready for the critical challenges we face. There is widespread consensus, however, that our education systems are failing to adequately prepare all students with the essential 21st century knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in life, career and citizenship. 

Three significant competitive realities underscore why our education systems are due for dramatic change: 

Image by Scott Webb

South Africa faces two student achievement gaps:

For the past decade, South Africa has focused nationally on closing achievement gaps between the lowest- and highest-performing students, and between the poorest and most affluent. Equally important, however, is the global achievement gap between South Africa. students—including our top-performing students—and their international peers in competitor nations. South African students fare poorly compared to their counterparts on international assessments, such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). These results are economically significant. Countries that do well on PISA, which measures 21st century skills such  as critical thinking and problem solving, have demonstrated higher increases in GDP growth than countries that do not, according to a series of studies by Stanford University researchers (Partnership for 21st Century Skills 2008). An unintended consequence of progress in closing national achievement gaps has been a lack of attention to the global achievement gap—and to the growing competitive demand for advanced skills.


Many leaders and organizations in the past decade, including the Department of Education , have been working to better prepare today’s graduates for a world in which academic content mastery and skills such as critical thinking, communication, technology literacy, and collaboration are required for success in college, life; and career. 

Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes

Core subjects as defined by the  Education Act include English, reading or language arts, world languages, arts, wood technology,  mathematics, economics, science, geography, history and Life Orientation. The recently released National Educational Technology Plan reiterates, “Whether the domain is English language, local languages, mathematics, sciences, social studies, history, or music, 21st century competencies and expertise such as critical thinking, complex problem solving, collaboration, and multimedia communication should be woven into all content areas” (SA Department of Education). Equally important is gaining a knowledge and understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of learning which includes the intersections between core subjects.

In addition to academic subject areas, 21st century interdisciplinary themes are equally important in promoting understanding of academic content at much higher levels.
These themes include:

• Global Awareness, e.g. understanding global issues, other nations and other cultures.

• Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy, e.g., knowing how to  make economic choices, understanding the role of the economy in society. 
• Civic Literacy, e.g. learning how to participate effectively in civic life; exercising the rights and obligations of citizenship. 
• Health Literacy, e.g., obtaining, interpreting and understanding basic health information and services; understanding preventive physical and mental health measures. 
• Environmental Literacy, e.g., demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the environment and the circumstances and conditions affecting it; taking individual and collective action towards addressing environmental challenges. 

Image by Green Chameleon
Image by Jonas Jacobsson

What Do Educators Need To Know? 

If we commit to a vision of 21st century knowledge and skills for all students, it is critical that we support educators in mastering the competencies that ensure positive learning outcomes for students. These include:

• Successfully aligning technologies with content and pedagogy and developing the ability to creatively use technologies to meet specific learning needs, 
• Aligning instruction with standards, particularly those standards that embody 21st century knowledge and skills, 
• Balancing direct instruction strategically with project-oriented teaching methods, 
• Applying child and adolescent development knowledge to educator preparation and education policy, 
• Using a range of assessment strategies to evaluate student performance and differentiate instruction (including but not limited to formative, portfolio-based, curriculum-embedded and summative), 
• Participating actively in learning communities; tapping the expertise within a school or school district through coaching, mentoring, knowledge-sharing, and team teaching, 
• Acting as mentors and peer coaches with fellow educators, 
• Using a range of strategies (such as formative assessments) to reach diverse students and to create environments that support differentiated teaching and learning, and 
• Pursuing continuous learning opportunities and embracing career-long learning as a professional ethic. 


The challenge facing education schools is not to do a better job at what they are already doing, but to do a fundamentally different job. They are now in the business of preparing educators for a new world.

Arthur Levine, 2006 

In the 21st century, all educators play a significant role in shaping the lives and careers of their students. When teaching and learning is at its best, our students, our communities; and our nation thrive. Educator preparation leaders are right to challenge themselves with the question: “What is our role in the changing landscape of 21st century knowledge and skills?” 

“ Through our activities, we support teachers and school heads in their transformation process. Technology alone doesn’t transform teaching practices. Transformation should be spearheaded by the heads of schools alongside the teaching community as driving force for change”

College Students

Main Objectives are:

• Support collaboration and Cooperation among schools in South Africa and Africa
• Build on private and public partnerships that share common sets of ideas in advancing education reforms, 
• Grow a network of over 1,000 professional development schools designed after the medical model of clinical training. 
• Support professional development of teachers and school heads
• Disseminate good practice and investigate new models for schooling and learning
• Contribute to the development of technology enhanced learning in schools
• Promote inclusive, innovative and transformative  education system 

Are you looking for professional development opportunities? Why not in one of South Africa’s most sophisticated institution. Look nowhere else other than GNBI.  Explore our holistic approach to get you inspired, and tap into your full creative potential as an educator of the 21st century.

GNBI offers a unique opportunity for teachers in South Africa to exchange best practices, grow their professional skills set and discover innovative teaching and learning strategies for greater student achievement and well-being.

Our highly qualified , experienced subject matter experts, dynamic and personal facilitators have all grown up in Africa and find great fulfilment in working with people from diverse groups in South Africa and beyond. Our quality innovative courses foster professional connections among educators of diverse experiences and backgrounds, encouraging meaningful collaboration and fruitful exchanges.

Business Meeting

Partnerships are extraordinarily important in the work of transforming 21st century educator professional development programs. For the work to be sustainable, teamwork inside the program and within the institution is, obviously, critical. But it is perhaps the partnerships that are formed between the program and the larger community outside the institution that can make the biggest impact. Target audiences for partnerships can include (but are not limited to) the following: 

•    Community leaders
•    Business leaders
•     Professional associations
•     Local educational organizations
•    Schools
•    Professional development institutions 
•    Universities
•    Policymakers
•    Parents of students  
•    Foundations 
•    Banks 
•    Mining houses

The most powerful partnerships are created in a spirit of active collaboration—where the vision for working together is not only shared, but co-created. This kind of partnering, especially when it involves a wide variety of stakeholder groups, enables true innovation around teaching and learning for the 21st century.

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