Stellenbosch University
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Internationalisation increases the quality of education and research for students and staff
Author: Faculty of Education
Published: 22/05/2024

The Department of Curriculum Studies hosted a delegation from the College of Education at  North Carolina State University from 3 April until 23 April.  The delegation consisted of 10 graduate teacher education students, a doctoral student and one academic staff member, Prof Angela Wiseman an Associate Professor of Literacy Education at NCSU.

This is the second iteration of a growing partnership between North Carolina State University and Stellenbosch University as our faculty but particularly our department is building and benefitting from several engagements with international partners across the globe to expand our internationalisation agenda.

Internationalisation is defined as 'the intentional process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into the purpose, functions and delivery of higher education. Faculties should attempt to add a dimension of internationalisation as it enhances the quality of education and research for all students and staff and it makes a meaningful contribution to society. Internationalisation is not new to SU as over the past 25 years, we (SU) have built one of the largest international footprints of all South African universities.

Study abroad programmes is but one way for us to continue to do internationalisation and the NCSU visit was enabled through such a programme. Study abroad is an experiential learning pedagogy that has many positive outcomes. In the field of teacher education, study abroad provides opportunity for the development of global competencies and agency. Similarly, study abroad can help expand notions of what it means to be a global citizen.

Global citizenship does not just focus on skill development for managerial purposes but should have a social justice orientation as we want global citizens who are aware of the wider world and respects diversity. Also, we need to develop citizens who are willing to act to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place; and who will take responsibility for their actions.

The delegation benefitted from a 15-day programme hosted by our department.  This programme consisted of lectures and a 10-day school placement programme.  Students gained valuable opportunities to interact with the B Ed 4 Literacy education (English) students and learn from lectures focused on the History of South Africa, Schooling and Teacher Education in South Africa as well as Literacy education in dispirit contexts.

The 10-day school placement was an eye-opening experience for students.  This group benefitted from school placement at Calling Academy, Idas Valley Primary School and AF Louw Primary. The immersion in the schooling sector was a valuable learning opportunity for NCSU-students as their reflections about the opportunity allowed them to raise valuable learnings as Teacher Education students and schooling. Our school partners were elated to welcome the visiting group into their spaces and acknowledged the impact such a project has for their school community. 

At present, there is a child in a school dreaming about their education, there is a child in a school who has learnt about something beyond the boundary of their lived reality.  There is a teacher education student who understands difference better.  There is a student who leaves this experience more tolerant. There is a student who is thinking deeper about their learning and there is a teacher thinking about his/her practice and there is a teacher wondering.  

-Dr Zelda Barends