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close this bookSouth African College for Open Learning: A Model of an Inservice Distance Education Programme for Initial Teacher Education (CIE, 2002, 37 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMulti-Site Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER)
View the documentList of Acronyms
View the documentAbstract
View the document1. Introduction
View the document2. Overview of Development of Teacher Education at SACOL
View the document3. Context in which the data was collected
View the document4. Data Collection and Analysis
Open this folder and view contents5. Overview of the College
Open this folder and view contents6. The Initial Teacher Education Curriculum and its Evaluation
View the document7. Students' Aspirations, Expectations and Preparedness
View the document8. Costs of the SACOL Programmes
View the document9. Key Issues from the SACOL Case Study
View the document10. Concluding Remarks
View the documentReferences
View the documentAppendix One: Student registration at SACOL for 1999 and 2000
View the documentAppendix Two: Results for certificate courses
View the documentAppendix Three: Results for diploma courses
View the documentAppendix Four: Higher Diploma in Education
View the documentAppendix Five: Further Diploma In Education
View the documentAppendix Six: Categorisation of academic staff into faculties and departments
View the documentAppendix Seven: Buildings and infrastructure at each campus
View the documentAppendix Eight: Diploma In Education: Structure (10 Cotep Credit - 360 Saqa)


One-third of South African teachers are categorised as 'unqualified'. This paper reports on a study which evaluated an initial teacher education programme which is offered to 'permanent unqualified' teachers through the distance education mode. The merger of three teacher education institutions in the KwaZulu Natal region formed the South African College of Open Learning (SACOL). SACOL operates on two campuses - one in the Durban area and the other in the Pietermaritzburg area. This study was conducted just after the merger but prior to the incorporation into a university.

One-third of the SACOL students are registered for certificate and diploma courses. These students are mostly African (98%) and female (88%) and about 60% started teaching after 1992. Half these students teach in the foundation phase and three-quarters teach in rural schools. The staff at the college is well qualified and has had experience in the educational system. The SACOL curriculum is delivered through materials (study guides, tutorial letters, assignments, feedback to assignments), contact sessions and sessions at regional learner centres. The quality of the materials and the contact sessions are varied. There is a large wastage in the system because of the high attrition rates and low performance in examinations. The training is designed to gain a qualification and not necessarily to impact on classroom practices.

Analysis of this mode of initial teacher education training raises issues such as: (1) the cost of the trade-offs made in situations of amalgamations and incorporations of educational institutions, (2) what is the best mode of delivery to train effective teachers, (3) the suitability of distance education for initial training, (4) the organisation, administration and staff of distance learning programmes, (5) quality of distance education programme, (6) role of teaching practice in this model of initial training, (7) cost effectiveness of an initial training programme which is offered through distance education.