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Di Wilmot Inaugural

Message from the Dean of Faculty

The Education Faculty is in an exciting phase of expansion and growth.  Established in 1913, the Rhodes University Education Department, offered an initial teacher education qualification for students wishing to teach in secondary schools. One hundred and two years later, the academic endeavour has expanded and diversified, with the Education Department forming the core of an Education Faculty which offers a range of qualifications within and across four broad education sectors, namely higher education, formal schooling, early childhood education and education and training development. 

The Education Faculty consists of:

  • the Education Department (the core of the Faculty) in which the Environmental Learning and Research Centre (ELRC) and Murray and Roberts Chair of Environmental Education, the Professional Development Centre (PDC),  the SA Numeracy Chair, and the DHET/EU Foundation Phase Research Project are located.
  • the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL)
  • the Rhodes University Mathematics Education Project(RUMEP)
    • the Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)
    • the Centre for Social Development (CSD)


Distinguishing features of the Rhodes Education Faculty

  • The Faculty of Education is the smallest in South Africa (2015 enrolment: 990)
  • It offers a range of qualifications (from Level 5 up in the National Qualifications Framework [NQF]) within and across four broad education sectors: higher education, formal schooling and early childhood development (ECD) and Education, Development and Training (EDTP).
  • The faculty has a vibrant PhD programme which includes three structured PhD research teaching weeks per year.  
  • The Faculty is research-led and has a good research trajectory. There has been an upward trend in the Faculty’s research outputs for the past five years. 
  • Education students are diverse (in terms of race, language, age, culture, social class and geographic origin) and representative of South African society (the 2015 faculty stats are:  776 African (78 %);   153 White (15,4%);  45 Coloured (4,5%), and 17 Indian (1,7%). 
  • The Faculty has a large proportion of post-graduate scholars. In 2015, 38% of the Faculty’s students are enrolled in Honours, Master’s and Doctoral degree programmes.  18% are enrolled in initial teacher education programmes and 44% in various in-service teacher professional development programmes (Bachelor of Education degrees).  The majority of Education students (60%) are mother-tongue African language speakers.
  • It is the only faculty in South Africa that has created and which offers a qualifications-based career path for ECD practitioners to move from FET certificate (Level 1) to diploma or degree.
  •  The Faculty is recognised for its quality teacher education programmes. It has an outstanding graduation rate for its initial teacher education programmes (in 2011, the RU PGCE graduation rate was 99%; the average in the E Cape was 60%) (Source: DHET, Trends in Teacher Education, 2011).
  • The faculty is in a growth and expansion phase in initial teacher education.  Student enrolment in the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) has increased in the past five years. The faculty further expanded initial teacher education by re-introducing a four-year under graduate Bachelor of Education degree for Foundation Phase teachers in 2015.
  • The Faculty is dynamic and innovative to the need for more mother tongue African languages teachers in the Foundation Phase of schooling. This is evident in the bilingual isiXhosa/English curriculum it has developed and is implementing in the new BEd(FP) degree and the numerous curriculum transformation conversations taking place in the faculty.
  • The faculty is responding to needs for teacher professional development and upgrading of teaching qualifications with a specific focus on English Language Teaching, Mathematics Education, Life Orientation, Science Education, ECD and ICT in Education.
  • The faculty is focused on providing access and addressing issues of quality in teaching in the field of higher education through the expanding PGDHE programme offered by CHERTL. 
  • With the exception of CHERTL’s PGDHE programme, which has a blended mode of delivery, the mode of delivery for programmes in the faculty is contact. This includes the Education Department’s post-graduate programmes in Namibia.


Strategic Orientation and Vision

The past five years have been an exciting time of re-imaging and re-orienting the Education Faculty to address national, regional and global education imperatives.  Members of the Faculty have worked together to articulate a shared vision, and a set of priorities, the outcome of which has been a Faculty Strategic Development Plan which sets out the Faculty’s collective vision for the next five to ten years, and the values and principles that inform it practices and guide it decisions.

The Faculty Vision: ‘Living Education’

      A Faculty of Education that is

the faculty of choice for teacher education in South Africa

… actively engaged in shaping policy and systems, and building intellectual fields

… known for its cutting edge scholarship

…embracing diversity and leading transformation

… impacting on lives, communities and wider society

… reflexive and self-renewing

… an inspirational place in which to work


The overall strategic orientation of the faculty is providing quality and relevant education and access for all.  More specifically we aspire to be a Faculty of Education

  • that has a commitment to the provision and understanding of quality education, and to the transformation of education at a local, national and global level
  • concerned with education in the broadest sense, including the learning of children and adults, the professional preparation and in-service development of teachers, non-formal education, the leadership and management of educational systems and the professional development of academics in higher education
  • involved in research, national policy development, and professional and community work within service learning and engaged community programmes
  • actively engaged in knowledge production that will deepen our understanding, enable change and address issues in education
  • actively engaged in disseminating and applying knowledge in the community, profession and academy through our teaching, publications and conference presentations
  • in which all educators learn to be competent and critically reflective and reflexive practitioners who have knowledge and skills to facilitate quality learning in all educational contexts
  •  characterised by a high level of connectivity, flexibility, adaptability, collegiality, risk-taking, reflexivity and renewal
  • known as an exciting, vibrant, energising, aspirational and inspirational place to work.

Last Modified: Mon, 02 Oct 2017 13:51:49 SAST