Original Research

Perceived 21st-century competencies as capabilities of secondary school teachers in a South African context

Tessa de Wet, Sebastiaan Rothmann
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 48 | a2003 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v48i0.2003 | © 2022 Tessa de Wet, Sebastiaan Rothmann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 February 2022 | Published: 27 October 2022

About the author(s)

Tessa de Wet, Optentia Research Unit, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Sebastiaan Rothmann, Optentia Research Unit, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


Orientation: The capability for work framework led to a shift in thinking about occupational health psychology. The value of work can only be preserved if decision-makers recognise that employees value their work and the competencies needed to excel at work.

Research purpose: This study aimed to develop a list of capabilities from 21st-century competencies found in literature and to quantitatively measure the resulting 21st-century competency (21CC) capabilities of secondary school teachers (SSTs) – valued knowledge and skill dimensions that are enabled and can be realised.

Motivation for study: This framework is an appropriate outline for studying the functioning of employees but lacks specificity regarding the specific competencies (knowledge and skills) needed to function well.

Research approach/design and method: A convenience sample of SSTs (N = 144) in the Gauteng province completed the 21st-century competencies as capabilities questionnaire.

Main findings: The results indicated that the 21CC capabilities are most likely to form part of SSTs’ capability set (i.e. the competencies that they value, are enabled in and achieve) were collaboration, constructive relationships and educational literacy. The 21CC capabilities least likely to form part of the teachers’ capability set included cognitive and digital literacy, processing and personal and professional development.

Practical/managerial implications: Managers and practitioners should consider the concept of capability (value, empowerment and achievement) in management interventions and conceptualise occupation-specific competencies for use and development of knowledge and skills capabilities.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to scientific knowledge regarding the integration of specific competencies using the capability approach.


21st century; competency; capabilities approach; secondary school teacher; value; enablement; achievement; South Africa


Total abstract views: 1365
Total article views: 1497

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.