Free course to turn students into global hot property

23 August 2010

UCT has launched an extra-curricular pilot programme, UCT Global Citizenship: Leading for social justice, that will hone students beyond their academic abilities and distinguish them as "hot property" in the international marketplace.

The Centre for Higher Education Development-based programme gives students an entrée into current issues and debates on global citizenship, leadership and social justice, and the value of voluntary community service. It stems from the university's commitment to enhancing graduate attributes and encourages them to think critically about the challenges facing Africa and the world in the 21st century - and their responses to these challenges.

At the launch on 4 August, vice-chancellor Dr Max Price noted that UCT intends to produce well-rounded graduates who understand social justice, and are part of an ethos of volunteerism.

"If we can get as many graduates as possible to be exposed that way, then we will make them distinctive," Price explained.

Deputy vice-chancellor Professor Jo Beall said the programme is part of UCT's strategic goal of internationalisation.

"It would be ideal for every curriculum to incorporate both global perspectives and service-learning components."

Concerned about students' roles in addressing social justice issues, Beall said the idea is to move students from mere rhetoric or web chatter to action.

The pilot phase, designed as a combination of online and group work, runs through the second semester. Students can opt to register for Part 1 (Global debates, local voices) or Part 2 (Thinking about volunteering) or both. While not credit-bearing, the programme is recognised on students' academic transcripts as a UCT short course. The course is free for students, as fees are covered by the Vice-Chancellor's Fund.

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