|South African College for Open Learning: A Model of an Inservice Distance Education Programme for Initial Teacher Education (CIE, 2002, 37 p.)|
In 1998, in the face of rationalisation of teacher education programmes, the KwaZuluNatal provincial department of education requested the three colleges of education (Umlazi College of Education, Springfield College of Education and Natal College of Education) which had offered elements of distance education to consider an amalgamation. After negotiations among the three colleges in 1998, on 1 February 1999 SACOL came into being and in 1999 SACOL enrolled its first students.
Springfield College of Education (SCE) is an ex- House of Delegates (Indian) College, which has a campus in Durban and started as a preservice training (PRESET) college. In the last 10 years SCE has offered both PRESET and distance Inservice (INSET) training. Natal College of Education (NCE) is an ex-House of Administration (White) College of Education, based in Pietermaritzburg, which since 1987 offered distance INSET. Umlazi College of Further Education and Training (UCFET), is an ex-DET (or KDEC) college based in Umlazi, which offered distance INSET to African teachers. The three colleges came from different departments of education and thus come from different resource bases.
In the amalgamation it was decided that there would be two campuses: Durban (ex-SCE) and Pietermaritzburg (ex-NCE) and all staff would be SACOL staff. New students would be registered as SACOL students and students who were to complete their previously registered courses would continue as 'pipeline' students. In 1999 the colleges decided not to embark on new programme, curriculum or materials development, but chose rather to bring together, with minor modifications, the strengths of each of the three institutions. The Further Diplomas of Education from Springfield College of Education; the certificate and diploma course of Umlazi College of Education and the Higher Diploma in Education from Natal College of Education was used. In 2000 there were some adaptations of the previous curricula but with the intentions to incorporate the college into the higher education sector they have not devised new curricula.
In 2000, SACOL offered about 34 different course structures. The certificate leads to (in oldspeak) an M+2 qualification; the diploma leads to an M+3 and the Higher and Further Diploma in Education leads to an M+4 qualification. There are pipeline distance education students from each of the three campuses. In addition there are ex-Springfield PRESET courses: Education Diploma for the Deaf, Education Diploma and Higher Education Diploma.