Of the 37 extended-provision qualifications at CPUT only five follow the fully Foundation model. According to the Department of Higher Education policy guidelines on ECP, a foundation model offers students’ academic preparation before proceeding to the regular first-level course. Generally departments would select a foundation model where their students are deemed to be ‘very unprepared for the regular curriculum and are deemed to need extensive foundational teaching before they undertake traditional first-year level’ (DHET, 2012:8).
The August ECP Classroom Fika sessions showcased three Foundation courses at CPUT – Horticulture, Landscape Technology (presented by Sinovuyo Ncuku) and Graphic Design (presented by Amanda Morris). While these courses are quite unique in their disciplinary and professional focus, some commonalities in relation to curriculum structure and organisation and pedagogic approach highlighted the key strengths and benefits of this model of extended provision.
Strengths and benefits
- Smaller groups allows for the provision of individual attention on students
- Provision of tailored academic and psycho-social student support
- Creation of conducive teaching and learning environments (often the Foundation group have a dedicated classroom) and the provision of pedagogic resources
- Stronger focus on induction and socialisation into the field of practice through fieldtrips, excursions, applied tasks (that gives meaning to theory) which helps to develop better understanding, interests and enthusiasm for the professional field
- Integration of key skills associated with communication, academic writing, technology use, numeracy and mathematical reasoning with the situated needs and requirements of their field of practice
Many of the current extended programmes at CPUT clearly work well and match the needs of students and departments; however, this focus on foundation raised some interesting options and considerations of how to ensure that more ECP students are exposed to and offered an enriched curriculum and pedagogic experience.