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 is a high priority in South Africa at the moment. We are at a juncture, like never 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. The demands on educators, learners’ alarmingly poor literacy and numeracy skills, the qualifications of educators, HIV/AIDS and the need to strengthen our capacity to contribute to skills development are higher than ever. However, while it is important to acknowledge the 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 foreground in our research.
In this regard, it is noteworthy that some of the best educational researchers on the continent of Africa make the Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria their home. Consequently, this faculty is where one will find leading studies on literacy, numeracy, mathematics and science education, doctoral education, resilience, positive psychology and student identities in South African schools. The footprint of the faculty extends beyond South African borders, with regional studies in Botswana, Zimbabwe and other African countries. A significant number of the faculty’s staff members are NRF-rated, and the faculty is well known for the many national and international awards that its academics receive on a regular basis.
During 2009, the faculty was restructured to respond to the growing needs of quality teacher education in South Africa, while also expanding the knowledge creation that is pursued via research. Strategic plans were developed to strengthen all the BEd programmes by placing subject expertise central to the faculty’s teacher training programmes. Research foci were realigned accordingly. At the end of 2009, the new applications for first-time students in the faculty continued to increase, as it had done the year before.
In order to contribute to social capital in South Africa, the faculty sought 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 sociological environments in which research is conducted.
The faculty’s cadre of researchers is leading some of the largest funded research educational projects in southern Africa. They 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. The projects enjoy international acclaim. The Unit for Educational Research in AIDS (ERA) is creating partnerships in HIV research across South Africa. The Joint Centre for Science and Mathematics Education is playing a leading continental role in doctoral education in natural sciences education.
Record numbers of PhD students completed their studies in the faculty during 2009, continuing an established tradition of delivering high-quality postgraduate students annually. 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 Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria 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