Faculty of Education
Prof I Eloff, Dean
Telephone number: 012 420 5503
Fax number: 012 420 5511
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Message by the Dean
Education has a high priority in South Africa at the moment. We are at a juncture, like nowhere before, where it is crucial for researchers, policy-makers, educationists and practitioners to work together to strengthen the capacities that are available in the education system, but also to address the numerous challenges that we face in education.
The challenges are considerable. These include the demands on educators, learners’ alarming literacy and numeracy skills, the qualifications of educators, and HIV and AIDS. However, while it is important to acknowledge these challenges, we also need to recognise the debilitating effect of continued negative discourses around education. Educational realities are constructed and contested through the narratives we create and the stories we choose to place on the foreground.
In this regard, it is noteworthy that some of the best educational researchers on the continent of Africa make the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Education their home. Consequently, this is where one will find the leading studies on education law and policy, foundation phase education, literacy, numeracy, mathematics and science education, multilingualism, social justice, narrative career counselling, positive psychology, and the training of teachers in music and art. A significant number of the faculty’s staff members have been rated by the NRF, and the faculty is well known for the many national and international accolades that are awarded to its academics on a regular basis.
During 2008, the faculty was restructured in order to respond to the growing needs of quality teacher education in South Africa and to expand the knowledge creation that is pursued via research. At the end of the year, the new applications for first-time students in the faculty had more than tripled. The faculty continued to seek out the robust connections between research, teaching and learning, as well as community engagement. Research is viewed as integrally linked to practice, and social responsibility is ingrained in all the work that is done. The faculty values deep-seated relationships in the educational, psychological and policy environments in which research is conducted.
Researchers in the faculty published more than ten books during 2008. These ranged from first-rate scholarly books to accessible texts that ease the work of educators and community leaders. The themes ranged from classroom literacy to designing one’s first research proposal. Orders for these books on diversity, educational change, people leadership, outcomes-based assessment, technology in the foundation phase, English language teaching and literacy in the foundation phase were placed even before they went into print.
The faculty’s cadre of researchers is leading some of the largest funded re-search projects in Southern Africa. These individuals are also aligning their research goals with intensified capacity development by investing in young and upcoming researchers. The Centre for Evaluation and Assessment (CEA) is conducting more than 25 research projects. These projects enjoy international acclaim. The newly established Unit for Educational Research in AIDS (ERA) is creating partnerships in HIV research across South Africa.
Continuing an established tradition of delivering high-quality postgraduate students annually, numerous master’s and PhD students completed their studies in the faculty during 2008. These studies are often quoted internationally and students are invited to present their findings to national and international forums on a regular basis. The faculty maintains a growing stream of exceptional international postgraduate students from Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia, Mozambique, the USA and Europe.
The University’s Faculty of Education is fully committed to growing the exceptional talent of young people and students in education. It is embracing the many challenges of delivering educators, researchers and critical thinkers who can make real contributions in the education sector: nationally, as well as in the global context.
Prof Irma Eloff