Elevating teacher training to enable educators to better navigate their way through multiple challenging environments, and to better cope with stress and uncertainty in the modern-day classroom, are key for a fulfilling teaching career.
A game-changing teacher training institution which will produce educators who are agile and responsive to providing a compelling learning experience in any environment was unveiled in Durban last night.
In aligning to the broader societal and technological shifts triggered by 4IR, MANCOSA officially launched the School of Education with the objective of revolutionising traditional classroom teaching in a complex school education landscape through bespoke teacher training programmes.
MANCOSA is one of the largest and leading private higher education institutions in Southern Africa.
Professor Zaheer Hamid, Academic Director at MANCOSA, said the confluence of new technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution encourages institutions of higher learning to upskill, invigorate and enhance teacher education to be more relevant in the 21st century.
Reverberating this message in his keynote address at the launch event, Dr Barney Mthembu, Acting Deputy Director-General for Curriculum Management, Leadership & Delivery at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, said: “Classrooms need to be a space of excellence.
“We don’t have technical mathematics teachers which means recycling maths teachers. In the 4IR, learners must have problem-solving abilities and the skills to implement technology. There is demand for a new cadre of teachers to produce and deliver quality education and who are responsible for empowering learners to make the right career decisions to ensure they thrive.”
Mindful of the inherent challenges of funding, resources; professional development structures; and lack of technology in education and training, MANCOSA’s School of Education is geared to enable quality teaching and learning through a suite of programmes to create demand for sought-after skills in a highly competitive job market.
Professor Hamid said: “The quality of teaching is inextricably linked to the country’s ability to succeed in advancing our economy at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“Equipping teachers with educational management and leadership skills ensures that they thrive as educational managers and enjoy a more progressive and fulfilling teaching career.
“Equally important is improving the resilience of teachers in high stress environments which makes for happier, more motivated professionals inspired to give of their best in the classroom.”
He said the quality of educators in classrooms is key to raising the quality of teaching.
MANCOSA’s School of Education endorses the proactive use of technology to enable teacher readiness and to promote impactful learner outcomes to address the employability agenda, with special emphasis on scarce specialised teaching skills in maths and science.
Innovative, compelling and interactive methods of teaching in the form of simulated and “live in” classrooms – the iTeach Lab – will expose teachers to various environments, situations and contexts. The iTeach Lab impresses on producing a hyperfunctioning teacher with the mental fortitude to succeed in diverse teaching environments.
“The suite of teacher training programmes to which students are exposed is the trademark of a distinctive and distinguishing MANCOSA teacher where quality, not quantity, is a prerogative. More than academic enrichment, great teachers have the ability to change lives for the better. Hence, teaching standards at our institution will never be compromised.
“Our affiliation with Honoris promotes the sharing of academic best practices in Africa and globally, thus enabling a broad employability agenda to be designed around entrepreneurial and workplace skills and credentials,” added Prof Hamid.
MANCOSA is a member of the Honoris United Universities network, the first pan-African private higher education network covering several countries on the continent.
Speaking at the event, Luis Lopez, CEO of Honoris United Universities said: “The MANCOSA School of Education aims to develop and inculcate a passion for teaching by providing a balance of theory, professional skills and practical experience related to the classroom environment, through a range of interactive educational methodologies.”
He said the overall goal of the School is to develop education professionals with the abilities required to strengthen the education ecosystem in Africa which is critical for the continent’s future and sustainable growth.
“Arriving at the point where we celebrate our second anniversary, it is fitting that we are able to announce such an important milestone in our journey towards improving quality education in Africa – a new School of Education that marries collaborative learning with practical and theoretical academic learning.”
At the launch event, mobile libraries valued at R2m were presented to schools across the country in line with MANCOSA’s youth literacy Initiative. Among the recipients were Schornville Primary School, East London; Dias Farm School, Port Elizabeth; Zandspruit Primary School, Johannesburg; Sediba Sa Thuto Primary School, Pretoria and; Brooklyn Heights Primary School in Chatsworth, Durban and R A Padayachee Primary School in Umhlali.
MANCOSA has joined forces with the Yusuf Karodia Foundation’s “Million Books Project” which aims to provide more than a million books to school children across South Africa to nurture a love of reading, thus improving the quality of classroom teaching and learning.
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