STADIO Faculty of Education forms alliances to improve and expand community-based teacher education

In an effort to educate more teachers from communities based outside of the main metros of South Africa, STADIO Faculty of Education (formerly known as Embury) is working with three institutions across Southern Africa.

These alliances include the Hermanus Varsity Trust, located in the Overstrand coastal region in the Western Cape; Teach The Nation, a non-governmental organisation looking to address inequality in the education system; as well as the Namibia Multiversity, a new tertiary institution operating out of Windhoek, Namibia.

Professor Patrick Bean, Executive Dean of STADIO Faculty of Education, notes the collaborations are part of the higher education institution’s drive to actively engage with community-based teacher-training. “STADIO Faculty of Education is committed to developing quality teachers fromthe community, for the community, which takes place in the community. Our new partners are all aligned with these values,” he states.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a newfound emphasis on online and remote learning. However, Professor Bean believes distance learning in the teacher education space should not be a quick-fix solution.

“Teacher education cannot be an off-the-shelf product where students are sent their learning material and expected to write an exam in six months’ time.

Rather, there needs to be direct involvement with students for their studies to be successful,” he notes. “That is why our continued lecturer-student relationship, facilitated by STADIO’s flexible hybrid delivery model, is strengthened by the collaboration with these community-based institutions.

Through the community partners’ strong relationships with schools and teachers in their respected areas, they provide the direct, practical input and support students need to be successful in their studies and become fully rounded teachers.

The collaborations make it possible for each organisation to allow their communities’ students to enrol in STADIO Faculty of Education’s various renowned teacher education distance learning programmes.

The three community-based partners will provide solid student support by offering students access to their fully resourced facilities and community-based mentors and tutors.

STADIO Faculty of Education’s qualifications are ideal for this type of teacher education, since it provides different modes of learning incorporated into a flexible hybrid learning experience.

This hybrid model provides a sense of agency to students, allowing them to select the learning mode that best suits their circumstances. This includes live-streamed lectures at training hubs in the communities, which can simultaneously be followed on students’ laptops or smartphones from home. Furthermore, these lectures can also be viewed as recorded material on YouTube.

For students, these community-based initiatives hold a number of key benefits. “First and foremost, prospective students can stay in their community and do not have to undertake an expensive re-location to a large metro to study,” notes Professor Bean. “Additionally, the flexible hybrid learning model ensures students can study when it suits them best, allowing them to continue to commit to family or work responsibilities.”

The STADIO Faculty of Education academic programmes supported by the partner organisation will differ, as will the unique practical value in terms of resourced facilities, mentors and tutors that each organisation provides.

To find out more about STADIO Faculty of Education’s range of 2021 teacher education qualifications available with the support of the community-based institutions, please visit www.embury.ac.za/.

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