Programme for teachers one of the best in the world
POTCEHFSTROOM - Foreign evaluators assessed the programmes in the School for Continued Training of Teachers of the North-West University’s Potchefstroom Campus as “even better than comparable courses of many universities in the world”.
Profs Frank Banks and Peter Knight from The Open University in the United Kingdom, one of the largest distance education institutions in the world, declared the programme unparalleled in South Africa.
The School for Continued Training of Teachers (SCTT) currently serves approximately 18 000 teachers in both South Africa and Namibia. The aim of the programme is to take unqualified or under-qualified teachers at least to a three-year post-matric level of training.
The Director of the SCTT, Prof Manie Spamer, says they follow an open-learning teaching model. There is a minimum and a maximum study period, but teachers may enrol whenever they wish.
This huge task is performed by 36 study centres across the country, 26 full-time lecturers and 195 administrative staff members. The SCTT has two co-workers in the Open Learning Group Johannesburg and the Institute for Open Learning in Namibia. These institutions provide the supporting administrative work for the programme.
“However, we were not sure whether the programme was measuring up to international standards, so we invited two professors from the UK to do the evaluation,” says Prof Spamer.
In their summary of the evaluation, the professors said that it was a bold act for the SCTT to invite them, as senior members of one of the world’s largest distance education universities, to review its distance education provision. “Boldness has paid off; we are impressed. Our overall conclusion is that the NWU’s programmes exceed South African specifications and outdo practices in many universities across the world,” they said.
Last year, the SCTT entered into a contract with the North West Department of Education for the training of 30 000 teachers. “We already have a similar contract with the Department in Mpumalanga,” says Prof Spamer.
PHOTO: From left are: Profs Manie Spamer, Director of the SCTT, Annette Combrink, Rector of the Potchefstroom Campus of the NWU, Mariëtte Lowes, Vice-Rector of the Potchefstroom Campus, Peter Knight, Director of the Institute for Educational Technology at the Open Learning University in the UK, and Frank Banks, Director of the Centre for Research and Development in Teacher Education, also from The Open University.