Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Danish delegation discusses possible partnership


A Danish delegation, made up of school principals and teachers, recently paid CPUT’s Cape Town Campus a visit.

On 5 February 2010, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic Prof Anthony Staak, Dean of the Education and Social Sciences Faculty Prof Maureen Robinson, International Affairs Director Merle Hodges and other senior CPUT staff members welcomed the delegation to the Council Chambers.

The delegation already has partnerships with KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) schools and is now looking at expanding to other provinces.

It aims to establish programmes similar to the one currently running in KZN, through which Danish teachers come to South Africa to receive training and support in the methodologies used in English medium teaching.

The delegation also wanted to find out how institutions of higher learning and high schools can close the gap that currently exists between them.

Because the teachers are involved in Basic Adult Education and Training in their country, they also wanted to find out what CPUT is doing with adults who are currently working and want to further their studies.

The University of Cape Town was the first institution to be visited in the Western Cape. Prof Staak’s office was approached by a UCT staff member.

“In my talk with the professor from UCT, I gathered that they were interested more in the country’s education sector, so I decided to approach our Education Faculty to also be part of the meeting,” said Prof Staak.

Soren Ferslov Andersen, one of the principals from Denmark, said: “The area we are looking at is the transition from general education to higher education. We want to see how the gaps or problems are being solved between the two.

“This transition issue is a global problem because of the international market. Every country including South Africa will have to ensure that quite a lot of students will continue with higher education.”

Among the views that were shared in the meeting was “the real need for extended programmes in South Africa as schools don’t take back learners who didn’t do well in matric”.

Addressing the Danish Delegation, Prof Staak said: “As a university of technology, our programmes focus on technological training. We have a strong career focus and that binds all our programmes.”

He also mentioned that in South Africa, generally there’s a crisis regarding learners who are not ready for higher education.

CPUT is also working closely with communities and the Western Cape provincial government.

“We have been involved in a lot of research work with the Department of Education and the findings determined that there was a need for the extended curriculum programmes especially in the science and engineering departments,” said Prof Staak.

Currently, CPUT has extended curriculum programmes in some of the programmes offered in response to the national crisis.

The institution also has a centre for community development and has partnerships with 1700 companies, and that enables the students to do in-service training.

“That is what generally distinguishes our programmes from the traditional universities,” said Prof Staak.

CPUT recently received second prize internationally for excellent projects in rural areas as a result of student involvement in communities, with the help of partners from the Netherlands.

By Andiswa Dantile

Photograph: International Affairs Director Merle Hodges (first row, third from left), Dean of Education and Social Sciences Prof Maureen Robinson (first row, fourth from left), Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic Prof Anthony Staak (second row, third from left) and other senior staff members meet the Danish delegation.

Written by CPUT News