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VUT to help fill SA's specialist teaching gaps

The Vaal University of Technology (VUT) has once more committed itself to improving the education of the nation by adding a Bachelor of Education (B Ed SP and FET Teaching) for Initial Teacher Education to its offerings from 2018.

However, this is no ordinary B Ed in that it focuses on mathematics, physical science, electrical and mechanical technology for teaching in the senior phase and further education and training in secondary schools.

"The rationale for this programme resides in the institution's strong science, engineering and technology background, which are the focus of VUT and which articulate its vision.

"Linked also to the mission of VUT, which is to 'produce employable graduates who can make an impact in society by adopting cutting-edge technology and teaching methods', the programme is designed in such a way that the student teacher will emerge with requisite specialised disciplinary and pedagogical content knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and competencies to teach effectively in the scarce subjects so required in South Africa.

"Given that the focus of the B Ed is on mathematics, physical science, electrical and mechanical technology, the teaching capacity already exists in the institution with regard to the facilitation of the different learning areas. This will enable effective delivery of the specific learning areas, particularly because the programme is funded through Funza Lushaka bursary scheme.

"The need for training of teachers in subjects such as mechanical technology and electrical technology is imperative, given that only 20 and 16 students graduated in electrical and mechanical technology respectively in Gauteng province in 2012 and only 76 and 42 graduates in the same subjects as a total for the RSA in 2012," said Professor Kholeka Moloi, Professor in Education.

She said the university is in the process of appointing suitably qualified staff, with Dr Chris Chitumwa, a lecturer, already on board. Dr Chitumwa specialised in Teaching Practice for his PhD, and has several other qualifications in education. He is also a mathematics teacher. One lecturer with engineering qualifications has been appointed and he resumes work on 1 September 2017. Another one with a master's degree in mathematics and technology will be appointed soon. The department is excited about the implementation of this new programme.