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About the Faculty


Message from Professor Di Wilmot (Dean of Education)


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 six years later, the academic endeavour has expanded and diversified, with the Education Department now 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:


Strategic Orientation of the Rhodes Education Faculty

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.
 Distinguishing features of the Rhodes Education Faculty
  • 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).
  • Education students are diverse (in terms of race, language, age, culture, social class and geographic origin) and representative of South African society
  • The faculty has a large proportion of post-graduate scholars. In 2019, 46% of the faculty’s students were registered for post graduate qualifications.
  • The faculty has a strong research culture with research active members of staff. Its researchers are amongst the top 30 in the university.
  • The faculty offers excellent support to PG students through the Research Methods course held twice a year and its three PhD Weeks which are attended by international scholars.
  • The faculty has three SARChI chairs which are important intellectual powerhouses in the Faculty: Distinguished Professor H Lotz-Sisitka (Global Change Social Learning Systems Development: Transformative Learning and Green Skills Learning),  Professor MH Graven (South African Numeracy Chair) and Professor M Schafer (Mathematics Education Chair)
  • The faculty has a good research trajectory. There has been upward trend in research outputs for the past five years.
  • The faculty offers various Bachelor of Education degree programmes for in-service teachers wishing to strengthen their subject or phase knowledge
  • The faculty expanded its initial teacher education programmes through the re-introduction of a four-year Bachelor of Education (Foundation Phase Teaching) in 2015.
  • The faculty offers two initial teacher education qualifications: the Bachelor of Education (Foundation Phase Teaching) and the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) for Foundation Phase, Intermediate and Senior/FET teaching. 
  • The faculty offers a unique qualifications-based career path for ECD practitioners to move from SETA accredited Level 4 and 5 qualifications that provide access into the BEd (Foundation Phase teaching) degree levels.
  • The Faculty is recognised for its quality teacher education programmes. It has an outstanding graduation rate for its initial teacher education programmes. In 2019 the first cohort of BEd(FP) students graduated. Of the 46 who registered when the degree started in 2015, 41 made it through to fourth year and 39 graduated.
  • The faculty is focused on providing access and addressing issues of quality in teaching in the field of higher education through the expanding PGDipHE programme offered by CHERTL. 
  • With the exception of CHERTL’s PGDipHE 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.


2019 Faculty Profile

These students are registered in the following qualifications:


This year the Faculty celebrated 20 years of Rhodes qualifications being taught in Namibia. The Namibia project consists of Honours, Master’s and PhD programmes taught by members of the Rhodes Education Department who commute to Namibia for face to face teaching blocks. The faculty’s partnership with the Namibian Ministry and NIED it has grown and flourished during the past 20 years. A total of 435 Namibian have received their Honours degrees; 178 have received Master’s degrees and six have received Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Rhodes University.


Community Engagement

There are a number of ongoing projects in the faculty

The Vice Chancellor’s Revitalising Public Schooling Initiative


Rhodes University has a unique partnership with GADRA. 

The VC’s Schooling Initiative targets three secondary schools – Nombulelo, Ntsika and Mary Waters.  One of the most successful interventions at these three schools has been the Rhodes Nine Tenths Mentoring Programme which in 2018 worked with 170 Grade 12’s – each one linked to a highly trained Rhodes student volunteer. The impact of the programmes in 2018 was as follows

  • Significantly 89 (87%) of the bachelors passes in no fee schools in Makandha were delivered by the three partner schools (Ntsika, Nombulelo and MW)
  • All 89 bachelor passes in these three schools were pupils that were part of the RU Nine Tenths Programme.
  • Top achiever candidate in Sara Baartman district, Usiphile Gazi from Ntsika, participated on the Nine Tenths programme. Both her parents work here at Rhodes as support staff.. Her mentor was Thandi Ngqowana, a Master’s student in Pharmacy.

Another significant programme to report on is the Bridging year Programme, which has had meaningful impact resulting in increased access to Rhodes University.

The Bridging year partnership with GADRA piloted in 2017 was very successful. In 2018, ten pupils/students enrolled for 2 courses at GADRA and one at Rhodes (Psychology - Humanities).  Due to the success of the programme, it has been institutionalized and expanded into the Faculty of Science and Commerce for 2019, 40 pupils will be registered (up from the 10 last year). This is another very important pathway created into the University.

As a result of the VC’s education initiative we have the highest number of local disadvantaged students admitted to RU this year – up to 130. So going into 2019 we can claim that public education in Grahamstown is becoming more equal.  Partnerships and the generosity of many committed individuals being the game changer.

2019 Staff Activities and Achievements

Professor D Wilmot gave a keynote lecture titled Recontextualizing geography education for environment and sustainability: southern African perspectives at the International Geography Union (IGU) Commission on Geographical Education Symposium, Institute of Education, London, 15-17 April, 2019.

Professor D Wilmot has been appointed as a series editor for the Springer book series International Perspectives on Geographical Education, a five year project.

Professor D Wilmot was an invited participant at an international curriculum research workshop at the Institute of Education, University of Singapore (7-8 May, 2019). The group of 8 international researchers from all continents are developing a curriculum framework for school geography that can be used in different national contexts.

Professor E Mgqwashu is the leading a research project involving the University of Fort Hare and Queen’s University, Belfast  that focuses on research-related issues in the areas of Education and Social Work in the Eastern Cape Region of South Africa.    

Dr M Hlengwa was invited by the DHET to be one of two presenters at the first national nGAP manager’s workshop in Johannesburg, March 2019. The model at Rhodes is considered one of the most successful in the country and she was asked to share experiences and challenges of implementing nGAP at Rhodes.  Amongst my colleagues who co-ordinate this programme in the country I am the youngest with the most experience. Dr M Hlengwa is the lead consultant commissioned to compile a comprehensive report on the nGAP.  The DHET provided raw data from all 26 institutions in the form of annual reports submitted from 2016-2018 making the first three years of the programme.

Dr M Hlengwa chaired the final panel and wrap up session at the Southern African Rurality in Higher Education colloquium in her capacity as chair of the advisory board of the ESRC and NRF funded project.

Distinguished Professor H Lotz Sisitka (the SARChI Chair in Global Change and Social Learning) activities:

  • The UNESCO/Rhodes University (SARChI Chair in Global Change and Social Learning) Institutional Partnership Agreement (IPA) has been signed for the SADC Regional research and development project of the SARChI Chair and Education Department, focussing on Education for Sustainable Development and Teacher Education in 11 southern African countries (with a budget for Rhodes University of ZAR 10 Million Rand over the next four years (out of a 40M budget) raised by the SARChI Chair and UNESCO Regional Office for southern Africa for this project in southern Africa. The project runs from 2019 - 2022. 
  • The SARChI Chair has presented a keynote at the Colloquium on Rurality in Higher Education in Southern Africa at the University of Johannesburg on 29 May 2019. Prof Emmanuel Mgqwashu, central to this research programme, contributed to the programmes research, and to the final Colloquium in a plenary panel. This research project has produced useful insight into the experiences of students entering the higher education system. 
  • In early April the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC) led by Emeritus Professor R O’Donoghue and Distinguished Professor H Lotz-Sisitka hosted an international Education for Sustainable Development and Ethics research colloquium and ESD Materials Development workshop with the ESD Expertnet programme involving participants from 7 countries:  Germany, South Africa, Mexico, India, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia. Prof E Rosenberg has been nominated as the ELRC’s ESD Expertnet representative on this international programme, following in the footsteps of Prof O’Donoghue as he retires from this role. 


Ms A Nesi is involved in various community outreach programmes including the Wordworks Home-School Partnership with the Lebone Centre at Samuel Ntsiko Primary School. This programme is designed to facilitate a learning space for parents in which to share knowledge and ideas about children’s language and early literacy development. She facilitates weekly two hour workshops for groups of parents of children aged five to eight years. She was elected as a Trustee of the Good Shepherd Primary School and is involved in fundraising for books, cushions and resources for the DD Siwisa Mobile library, which Dr Anna Nkomo began as a personal project to enable learners to have access to reading books.

Ms Z Kuhlane is the newly appointed chairperson of the EC Chapter of SAARMSTE.

Professor M Graven and her Numeracy Chair team (Dr S-A Robertson, Ms R Long, My W Hokonya and Ms S Chikiwa) are travelling to Perth to present papers at the 42nd Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia which starts on 30 June. 

Dr P Vale will be presenting at the Mathematics Education Group of Australasia’s Perth Teachers Day on 29 June 2019.   

Professor M Graven co-edited two of the top international mathematics education journals: Educational Studies in Mathematics and ZDM Mathematics Education. She also published within them.

Ms B Moore is leading a British Council funded the capacity building project in Inclusive Education called ‘Teaching for All’ together with Ms Z Jack. Rhodes University was one of ten universities selected to participate and pilot materials that may develop responsive, quality programmes in Inclusive Education for both pre-service and in-service teachers.

The second publication in the series My best teacher: A tribute to South Africa’s teachers from those whose lives they changed has been completed by Professor C Grant and Mr N Kitsili.

Mr M Booi, CHERTL lecturer on the nGAP attended the annual induction for new nGAP lecturers and their mentors from across the country, hosted by the Department of Higher Education and Training on 6 June 2019.  The induction was also attended by delegates from the British Council and National Research Foundation who work closely with DHET in implementing the nGAP programme.

DHET/British Council funding was awarded to prepare a full proposal focused on supporting academics to get doctorates. This project brings together academics from CHERTL at Rhodes University with academics from University of Venda and Lancaster University. The team, under the leadership of Professor S Mckenna, have thus far undertaken a survey of supervisors and postgraduate students, developed a literature review on doctoral education, and visited Lancaster University to learn about their various approached to doctoral education. They have now completed a full proposal which they hope will receive funding to support ten academics to do a PhD in Social Justice and Quality in Higher Education. The PhD will be offered with two years of coursework and various other support structures built in. More details can be found on the project website: https://sites.google.com/ru.ac.za/socialjusticeandqualityinhe

Dr N Pallitt was invited to make a presentation at the Apereo Africa conference at UCT from 15-17 April 2019.  The Apereo Foundation's core mission is to assist and facilitate educational organisations which collaborate to foster, develop and sustain open technologies and innovation to support learning and teaching. Apereo Africa brings together a range of higher education institutions involved in educational technology issues and solutions from open- source communities, such as Sakai (Vula) and Opencast (lecture recording). She also attended the government hosted digital skills strategy workshop in Johannesburg on 26 March 2019. The aim was to get input from various stakeholders on the Draft National Digital Skills Strategy. Attendees participated in facilitated sessions where we engaged with various aspects of the draft strategy document.

Professors S McKenna and L Quinn and Ms A Adams have joined colleagues from the Universities of Zululand and the Durban University of Technology on a study visit to the Pennsylvania State University as part of the US-SA Higher Education Network and the University Staff Doctoral Programme. Three of the doctoral scholars on the programme are registered at Rhodes University and supervised by members of CHERTL.

Professor J-A Vorster is on the steering committee of a three-year UCDP-funded collaborative project aimed at strengthening induction programmes for new academics at ten South African universities. The project which is currently in its second year is led by Dr K Behari-Leak of UCT. The steering committee plans and facilitates a programme to build the capacity of two academic developers from each of the ten institutions to either strengthen existing programmes or to design new programme to induct new academics into their institutions and in their roles as teachers in higher education.

Notable Visitors 2018-2019

Professor-Dr Andoni Arenus Martija Profesor Laboratorio Geografía y Educación, Instituto de Geografía,  Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile. Geography Education and Research. August 2018.

Associate Professor Mikael Gustafson. Jönköping University,Sweden. The Linnaes Palmer Project Lecturer Exchange. February 2018.

Stefanie Swanepoel. Director of African Earth Rights and a facilitator of the Diploma in Sustainable Development programme at the Sustainability Institute (SI). UNEP Food for Us Project Workshop. May 2018.

Dr Saskia Vermeylen. Chancellor's Fellow, Centre for Environmental Law and Governance, University of Strathclyde. United Kingdom. Uncanny Lore Research Meeting with the Khoi San Council. June 2018.

Dr Åsa Westermark. University, Sweden. The Linnaes Palmer Project Lecturer Exchange. September 2018.

Professor Karin Sporre. Applied Educational Science. Umeå University, Sweden. PhD Teaching Block. October 2018.

Dr Jim Taylor. WESSA. Citizen Sciences Collaboration Project Workshop. October 2018.

Professor Rosa Guadalupe Mendoza Zuany. Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico.

Dr Juan Carlos Antonio Sandoval Rivera. Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico. Collaborative Environmental Education Research. Photo Exhibition: Challenges and paradoxesof the SDG’s in indigenous contexts. November 2018.

Professor John Holmberg. UNESCO Chair and Physics and Sustainability Professor. Chalmers University, Sweden. Challenge Lab Master Class to Limpopo Basin Curriculum innovation Network December Partner Meeting in Polokwane. December 2018.




Last Modified: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 14:07:28 SAST