/ 24 October 2017

Advanced Certificates in Teaching now available online

UFS is embracing the challenge to transform education beyond the model that was established centuries ago
UFS is embracing the challenge to transform education beyond the model that was established centuries ago

Recently South Africa’s Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has emphasised the need for large-scale, collaborative and substantive change to consistently provide equity, quality, and inclusive lifelong learning opportunities for all learners across every school in South Africa.

It is exactly that kind of change that the University of the Free State (UFS) is committed to facilitating. With over 12 million learners in South African schools and 380 000 teachers in South Africa — and the progress being made in strengthening South Africa’s wireless infrastructure — UFS is embracing the challenge to transform education beyond the model that was established centuries ago in the absence of today’s technology.

The South Campus of UFS, located in Bloemfontein, focuses on offering online distance learning programmes. This campus is the very first campus to provide an Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT) 100% online programme for teachers as a means to significantly address long-standing educational, economic and political needs. The programme provides the flexibility of studying at a time and place convenient to the student, and in addition extensive academic and administrative support is provided to ensure success.

The ACT online programme addresses the requirement of a teaching and learning pathway for teachers wanting to advance in their careers. This qualification has the specific aim of improving teachers’ knowledge and competencies in a new subject, or strengthening their subject specialisation. Furthermore the ACT can play an important role in improving the quality of education, and in that way, the quality of life of many South Africans.

The ACT will not only upgrade the qualifications of those teachers who are currently employed without adequate training, but it also offers specialist education to those teachers who need to strengthen their subject specialisation knowledge base. The qualification also aims to provide retraining to teachers who wish to change their career path, thus widening the pool of teachers who are able to teach certain subjects.

There are numerous advantages of the ACT online programme for teachers, some which include: it offers students the opportunity to study in their own time and at their own place and own pace; it presents an outstanding opportunity to conveniently and affordably advance in higher education and achieve professional qualifications; it is a brilliant solution for adult working students, who cannot easily access traditional on-campus programmes; it will help accelerate the pace at which South Africa’s teachers earn their qualifications; it makes learning more convenient for working teachers by decreasing travel requirements; and it assesses students’ abilities to apply the new skills and knowledge in practical ways that can be readily applied in the classroom.

More about the ACT

In an effort to better meet the needs of committed classroom teachers, the UFS South Campus is proud to be the first in South Africa to introduce fully online instruction for teachers to complete their ACT for Foundation Phase, Intermediate Phase or Senior Phase English FAL. The online ACT programmes are organised into nine to 10 consecutive, eight-week sessions that can be completed in 18-20 months, compared to the usual 24 months for the contact programme.

For busy teachers determined to advance their qualifications, this is a wonderful opportunity to graduate with an ACT, on National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 6. This programme requires no travel or mandatory contact sessions; students choose the time that works best in their schedule to complete each week’s requirements.

Students can also enrol, pay for and complete one module at a time, which makes the qualification very affordable. Fees are R2 435 for each eight-week session.

Students receive ongoing academic support from online teaching assistants to ensure full academic integrity and a learning experience on par or better than in the same campus-based programme. Additionally, each student is assigned a personal programme co-ordinator to ensure that she stays in the system and receives non-academic and technical support. This unique, high-engagement model leads to exceptionally high student success rates through to graduation.

Lessons include relevant problem solving and practical application exercises. Skills learned can be used immediately in the classroom. The online ACT programmes exemplify the integration of theory and practice.

Engagement and support for the student

The ACT online programme has online facilitators allocated to each module. The facilitators engage and work with the students online to ensure that they have interactive learning experiences.

  • Each student has direct contact with the facilitator to ensure instant and continuous feedback.
  • Technological support is provided by the helpdesk of the UFS.
  • The student can revisit the content as required.
  • There is no need to be 100% online all the time, as most of the content can be downloaded and worked through offline. The instructional modules may be accessed at any time via a laptop, computer, tablet or mobile phone through an internet connection from home, school or other convenient locations.
  • The programme is aligned to grant SACE CPD (Continuous Professional Development) points.

Admission requirements

Admission to the Advanced Certificates in Teaching is subject to the UFS General Rules, and the specific requirements of the South Campus and the Faculty of Education of the UFS. The following requirements for prospective students apply:

Applicants should be in possession of an approved and recognised professional teaching qualification:

  • A three-year Teacher’s Diploma at NQF 5 (e.g. the three-year College of Education Diploma), or
  • A 360-credit National Professional Diploma in Education (NPDE) at NQF level 5; or
  • A 480-credit Bachelor of Education (BEd) at NQF level 7 (may be in a different phase or specialisation); or
  • An applicable Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Advanced Diploma at NQF 7 (may be in a different phase or specialisation); or
  • An approved and recognised professional teaching qualification evaluated as REQV 13.
  • Must be a practicing teacher.
  • Prospective students must provide proof that they are currently teaching in the selected phase or have access to an applicable classroom for the duration of the programme.
  • Have access to the internet and a laptop. Visit www.ufs.ac.za/ACTonline for laptop specifications.

The starting dates for 2017 are November 6 and the starting dates for 2018 are January 22, March 19 and May 14 2018. For more information on the Advanced Certificates in Teaching, please call the toll free number on 0800 982 167, send an email to [email protected] or visit the website at http://www.ufs.ac.za/ACTonline. Alternatively, send an SMS or WhatsApp to 082 548 2493.