As one of the four founding faculties at Stellenbosch University (SU), the Faculty of Education turned 100 this year during the institution's Centenary year.
On Thursday, 18 October, alumni and both current and former staff members (academic and support) celebrated the 100 years of the Education Faculty at Nooitgedacht Estate in the Stellenbosch area. The evening included speeches on the overall education field, the challenges faced by both teachers and learners and the successes attained.
In his opening address, Vice Rector: Learning and Teaching, Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, said that the entire campus community is thankful to former staff members who shaped the Faculty and made it what it is today.
“As a university, we really aim to become one of Africa's leading research-intensive institutions and this Faculty is making a great contribution in that respect. There are challenges in the higher-education sector and even within the Faculty of Education, but processes are in place to see how we can make a difference and become an even better faculty.
“You make us proud, Colleagues. We are proud of the way you serve our students and the way you make an impact in communities. Thank you and congratulations on the 100 years of education," he concluded.
The Acting Dean at the Faculty of Education, Prof Johan Malan, said: “The Faculty is characterised by a significant research profile that looks at education beyond the school environment and its interdisciplinary approach to education. The Faculty strives to play a role in education, both locally and globally, and help address education challenges, particularly in the South African context."
Prof Malan concluded with Nelson Mandela's famous quote “Education is the most powerful weapon to bring about change."
One of the speakers, Prof Nuraan Davids, also from the Faculty of Education, said that she is very privileged to be part of a dynamic department. “We focus on the philosophy of education, the sociology of education and all things to do with policy, but we are fundamentally concerned with what it is that we are actually doing as educationists."
She said that, ultimately, it is about social justice and about providing everyone with equal opportunities but that the work that they do focuses on providing both quality education and equality in education, taking into cognisance the diversity within which their students work.
“The one issue that we are confronted with in our schools today has less to do with the curriculum and more to do with the teacher. When I teach PGCE students, I always ask them, 'How do we restore the humanity of teaching?' It is all good and well to come up with policies and frameworks.
“I ask them, 'As teachers, what role do you play in cultivating humanity and are you invoking hope in those you teach? Do you teach with love and care?' That is a hard job, but I am certain that the work we do in our Department will help," she added.
The evening ended with live jazz and networking over dinner, with ample opportunity for guests to view the interesting artefacts displayed by the different departments.
Pictures taken by Stefan Els