Dear Faculty of Education staff and students
On Monday, 29 March the university opened its doors of learning for the 2021 academic year, which means that all educational activities have now resumed.
I warmly welcome you to the 2021 academic year. The Faculty of Education prides itself on its two schools – the School of General and Continuing Education and the School of Further and Continuing Education. Our faculty is striving to be a "world-class southern African faculty of education, preparing 21st-century educators who are critical, creative problem solvers, initiators and leaders in education". We are cognisant of the realities imposed by the "new normal", but despite this, we shall not retreat or surrender; we will fight to realise our vision and that of the University of Fort Hare.
To our first-year students: You have made a wise choice in selecting the Faculty of Education. You join us at a time when the educational landscape is biased towards the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) as tools of teaching and learning. For that reason, I urge you to make use of every opportunity to learn more about technology, including the importance of your own mobile phone for learning purposes. I strongly encourage you to allow your lecturers and fellow students to temporarily invade your space, in a quest to provide you with quality teaching and learning. Invest whatever you have in your education, and at the right time, you will reap the benefits. The journey may not be as smooth as you anticipate, but know that our staff are prepared and willing to hold your hand and carry you through. If you feel confused, anxious, stressed or worried, our offices, email addresses, telephone and mobile phone numbers are available to you. I wish you strength and wisdom during the course of your studies.
To our continuing students: During the 2020 academic year you proved that you are becoming creative problem solvers. Despite the numerous challenges you faced, you succeeded. The experience you gained over the years will help you navigate the 2021 academic year. You know what works for you, and you know what does not. As a critical thinker, you most likely prepared differently or improved the way you study and revise. In 2021 we will again invade your space because our lectures will mainly be offered online. Please avail yourself and make sure that you use this opportunity wisely.
At the Faculty of Education, we are doing all we can to upskill our first and second-year students by improving their basic computer literacy, so that they are better prepared to face the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are working to do this in collaboration with Fort Hare Solutions. We aim to deliver on our promise that: no student will be left behind in terms of virtual teaching, learning and assessment. We therefore, encourage all our targeted students to attend the computer literacy classes offered through this partnership.
To faculty staff: Your service to the faculty and the institution has not gone unnoticed. In 2020 we showed that if we stand together and humanise our approach, we would achieve excellence. I cannot guarantee that 2021 will be smoother than 2020, but I can guarantee you that if we work as a team, we shall overcome. Our vision as a faculty should motivate us to keep providing quality education. Let us make living in the "new normal" fashionable. We must continue to conduct research, teaching and learning, community engagement and academic citizenship as if there are no challenges to overcome.
Prof VS Mncube