On 24 June 2019, UNISA issued a statement regarding the phasing out/discontinuation of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) qualification. The move led to a large outcry from students looking to become an educator without going through the BEd route.
While two of the PGCE qualifications were both discontinued and no longer offered, the PGCE Senior and FET phase qualification is still available – but only to already-registered students. While there are no plans to revive the PGCE programme at UNISA in the near future, you can never say never.
Students currently registered for a PGCE have until 2022 to complete their qualification. However, the PGCE is not the only qualification from UNISA’s College of Education that’s facing the cull.
Older Bachelor of Education (BEd) programmes are phasing out as well, paving the way for newer BEd degrees. Students registered for an older BEd qualification have until 2025 to complete their qualification.
“Should I migrate to the newer BEd qualification?“
There’s confusion over whether it’s necessary for current BEd students to migrate to the new curriculum. The answer to the question is a resounding NO.
BEd students pre-2020 (under the old curriculum) have the option of not migrating over to the new BEd curriculum. Regardless, pre-2020 students have enough time to complete their studies before their qualification phases out.
At the same time, pre-2020 students don’t have to worry about credits falling away if they do not move to the new curriculum. The university has ensured that credits earned under the old curriculum will not fall away.
To help with the decision, the university will forward an email that’s specifically tailored to the student. The letter describes which modules were completed, which modules were outstanding, and what the equivalent module codes ate. Going back to the topic of credits, some students may see an additional list that states modules that they will forfeit if they migrate to the new curriculum.
It’s not an easy choice for students though, whether to stick with the old or join up with the new. Determining which curriculum to follow each comes with its pros and cons. BEd students will have to consider whether to stick with the programme or go ahead with change.
Therefore UNISA came up with an easy guideline to follow for those who cannot make their mind up, stating that:
- If a student has completed 20 modules or less, they’re advised to move onto the newer curriculum;
- However, students who have completed more than 20 modules are advised to stick to the older curriculum.
Students sticking to the older curriculum will have two new modules added to their curriculum, namely the Educational Themes and Professional Studies modules.
What are the Educational Themes and Professional Studies modules?
The Educational Themes and Professional Studies modules are year-long, 12 credit modules. The modules were recently developed in time for entrance into the new curriculum set by the CoE.
Students studying under the old curriculum will have to register for the modules as they are relevant to the current schooling system. Furthermore, pre-2020 students taking the new modules will have their studies impacted by the following:
- Students will have sufficient preparation and studying time in terms of assignments as well as studying for the exams;
- Students who failed the new modules’ exam in 2019 will have a chance to write a supplementary exam in January 2020. Failing the supplementary exam will result in students having to register for outstanding year modules;
The above only applies to the Educational Themes and Professional Studies modules and not to other modules from other colleges. The arrival of the new modules impacted hard on students who learned their work under the older curriculum – especially for those who completed their BEd qualification by June/July 2019.
Students who completed their qualification by June/July 2019 before the modules were introduced will have to register for the modules. This is despite whether they have completed their qualification or not.
The modules are year modules. This means that students who registered for their modules during this period will have to take a special portfolio exam, due in May 2020. This option, however, is only available to students who are able to complete their qualification in 2020.
The Growth of the Teaching Practice Modules
The introduction of a new curriculum would always bring forward change – in this case, change is in the form of new module codes and subject name changes. One of the highlighted changes in the new curriculum is changes to the Teaching Practice modules (Senior Phase & FET Phase only).
In the past, the Teaching Practice modules consisted of 2, 24-credit modules. With the new curriculum, the Teaching Practice modules will split up into 4, 12-credit bearing modules. The splitting of the modules gives students the opportunity to become insightful educators.
Despite the two additional modules for Teaching Practice, this does not impact the costs of what it takes to complete the qualification. Furthermore, students can register two of the new Teaching Practice modules and complete them within a year. This is to ensure that students are able to complete their qualifications within the allotted time period.
Students who are eager to study for a PGCE qualification at UNISA may have to look elsewhere for the forthcoming future. Whether or not you should change to the newer curriculum, the choice is yours.
Also Read: UNISA PGCE 2019/2020
Published: 28 January 2020