It has been a nerve-racking time of year for matrics who have been waiting to get their results. For some, the outcome has been happy. For others, it has been less so. 

It can be crushing to discover that your marks are not high enough to get university entry; if that is the educational route you had hoped to take after matric. 

Thankfully, according to Professor Patrick Bean, the executive dean of STADIO Faculty of Education and Humanities’ School of Education (formerly Embury), this does not have to be the end of the dream for students wishing to train as teachers or early childhood development (ECD) workers.

 “While it may take an extra year and is only available as an alternative route in some academic programmes, and only through certain higher education providers, there is an alternative route available to matriculants who want to pursue teaching as a career,” he said. 
“In education, we call this type of offering an ‘articulation possibility’ for those without a pass. Essentially, what this means is that the student successfully completes a Higher Certificate programme in the field in which they want to study and covers certain diploma or degree modules, which will enable them to progress to study further within that field.”

One example of this is the STADIO Faculty of Education and Humanities’ School of Education’s Higher Certificate in Pre-School Education, a one-year, self-contained programme at NQF 5 level. “This programme contains five Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree modules,” he said. “This means that on successfully obtaining the year-long qualification, students are able to apply to carry these credits forward and, armed with their higher certificates, are able to register for a BEd degree programme in either the foundation or intermediate phases.”

Bean said this qualification is also available in a two-year part-time format, which is ideal for students who want to work and study at the same time, and via distance learning, making it accessible to students throughout the country.

“According to a UNESCO report, teaching remains one of the world’s most critical professions, and there is in fact a dire shortage of teachers globally,” he said. “This Higher Certificate qualification comprises the first year of the National Diploma in ECD where additional fundamental learning is included or students can choose to register for a BEd degree at a university or private institution of higher education.”

Pursuing a degree or career in teaching equips students for a range of jobs, many of which are outside the classroom. They include guidance counselling, school management, curriculum development, administration, instructional design, workplace training, adult education and research.

Furthermore, even if Higher Certificate graduates decide not to study beyond the one-year Higher Certificate qualification, it equips them for a range of other ECD-oriented careers. They include working in day-care centres or play groups, Grade R or nursery school teaching, working as an au pair or pursuing a career as a an ECD motivator, field worker, facilitator, trainer or manager in the public, community or private sectors.

“During this peak tertiary application period, when many students and their parents are feeling anxious about their tertiary prospects, it is reassuring to know that there are indeed avenues such as the Higher Certificate option. Though this may add a year to the duration of one’s degree, it adds a lifetime of opportunity, potential and value. Given the need for educators and ECD practitioners in South Africa, the Higher Certificate in Pre-School Education can certainly offer attractive career prospects,” concluded Bean.

Professor Patrick Bean is the executive dean of STADIO Faculty of Education and Humanities’ School of Education. 

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