The collaboration between South Africa’s biggest university of technology, TUT, and the Finnish based Haaga Helia University of Applied Sciences, has been playing a vital role in changing the face of local entrepreneurship.
A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), signed in 2017, has been guiding the rollout of the project, which is among the first of its kind in Finland. The Haaga Helia University of Applied Sciences and TUT collaborate, among other things, in the development of education supporting entrepreneurial skills, teacher exchange and R&D projects. Since the introduction of the programme, 80 academics have already undergone training and received qualifications.
Vuyokazi Rorwana, University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP) Manager at TUT’s Division of Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT), shared some of the successes of the programme. She said four cohorts of academics have graduated thus far. The first cohort in 2017 saw 32 academics graduating, and two sessions in 2018 during which 21 academics graduated at each.
According to Rorwana, the fifth cohort of 35 academics have already registered for the programme and are expected to graduate October this year. The group comprises 30 TUT academics, four academics from the University of Mpumalanga and 1 colleague from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Rorwana explained why the Haaga-Helia Vocational Teacher Training programme is distinctive and important to TUT academics. According to her, the Finnish higher education system is venerated as one of the best higher education systems in the world.
Professor Stanley Mukhola, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching, Learning and Technology, added that the Haaga Helia programme is unique and exceptional because it equips academics with different teaching and learning methodologies, appropriate technological tools, assessment strategies and practices, curriculum development and design techniques and the ability to improve the student success rate.
Many studies have demonstrated that academics, who have a sound grounding in their chosen disciplines as well as in pedagogical skills, make better teachers and contribute immensely to the improvement of student success in higher education. “Emerging academics often join academia with little or no teaching experience, while senior academics also need to learn innovative ways of teaching. In addition this programme will contribute to curriculum transformation in line with the Department of Higher Education and Training’s University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP),” Rorwana concluded.
The purpose of the DHET funded UCDP is to transform teaching, learning, research that will lead towards enhanced quality, success and equity in universities.