Joint DHET-CHE Communiqué: The implementation of the new policy on teacher education qualifications

The new policy on The Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications (MRTEQ) has been approved and was published by the Minister of Higher Education and Training in Government Gazette No 34467 on 15 July 2011.

The moratorium on the development of new teacher education

The moratorium on the development of new teacher education qualifications is therefore now lifted and all institutions may develop qualifications in line with the new policy.

The HEQF Implementation Handbook, CHE, 2011, describes processes according to which different categories of existing higher education programmes should be aligned with the Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF).

Category A and B type qualifications and programmes are those that require minimal and some curriculum changes respectively, to be aligned with the HEQF, while Category C type qualifications and programmes will require a significant (more than 50%) change. Teacher education qualifications described in the MRTEQ policy are based on a philosophy and principles that are different from existing teacher education qualifications designed and accredited in terms of the previous policy document, the Norms and Standards for Educators 2000. With the exception of master's and doctoral degrees in education, most other teacher education qualifications will require a new curriculum design to be compliant with the new policy.

Some existing Bachelor of Education Honours degrees that have a strong focus on research may also be viewed as compliant with the new policy and institutions will not be required to submit them as new programmes (Category A). However, some of the more professionally orientated Bachelor of Education Honours programmes will require more substantive changes to align them with the new policy and higher education institutions may consider redesigning and submitting them as new Postgraduate Diplomas in Education or new honours programmes (Category B or C depending on the changes required). It must be noted that in terms of the HEQF-aligned policy the standard admission requirement to an honours degree is a completed first bachelor's degree in an appropriate field of study.

In addition, some existing Advanced Certificates in Education which focus on extended roles rather than phase or subject teaching may be considered as Category B programmes and be submitted as new Advanced Diplomas in Education.

Barring the exceptions mentioned above, all other existing teacher education qualifications and programmes must be treated as Category C qualifications and programmes in the HEQF Implementation Handbook.

The Department of Higher Education and Training invited all public and private higher education institutions offering teacher education programmes to participate in regional workshops to discuss the implementation of the new policy. Guidelines on the redesign of curricula for different qualification types and programmes and specific timelines for phasing in new teacher education programmes and phasing out existing programmes were discussed at the workshops. The Council on Higher Education participated in some of the workshops.