Teaching and Learning

30 October 2023
Prof Harsha Kathard, DVC: Teaching & Learning <b>Photo</b> Lerato Maduna.
Prof Harsha Kathard, DVC: Teaching & Learning Photo Lerato Maduna.

In 2022, the University of Cape Town (UCT) prepared for the transition of Teaching and Learning post the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, Professor Harsha Kathard was appointed as acting deputy vice-chancellor for this important portfolio after the resignation of Associate Professor Lis Lange. Both academics have helped to enhance the student experience at UCT.

As a result of recent historic events, such as the #RhodesMust Fall and #FeesMustFall protests, the COVID-19 pandemic and the proliferation of new digital technologies, higher education is now more complex than ever. UCT continues to develop new ways not only to advance African scholarship but also to play an important role in social transformation, and to help heal the deep colonial wounds that affect everyone in South Africa. We seek to instil future leaders with UCT values: in particular, to unleash the full potential of Africans to influence a more inclusive and equitable world.

We continue to explore how to decolonise, transform and renew curriculum; develop critical pedagogies for digitally enabled education; and provide support across the institution for innovative approaches to learning, teaching and assessment. This approach aligns with UCT’s strategic vision for 2030, which is to develop a transformative curriculum focused on academic excellence and equity, while promoting and celebrating the cultural and social diversity and creativity of our students.

The Department of Higher Education and Training has funded curriculum change grants to support specific projects, while faculties are concurrently working on the design and implementation of faculty-wide curriculum change. This university-wide curriculum change initiative includes selection and organisation of relevant content and knowledge; investment in critical pedagogies, review of credit loads, and transformative assessment practices. 

In preparing for the implementation of digitally enabled education, the UCT Online Education Policy of 2017 is under revision, especially in the context of the implementation of Amathuba, UCT’s new digital learning platform  We are also reviewing UCT’s higher education language policy and how best to implement multilingualism in teaching and learning [1].

We recognise that student success rises not only from academic performance but also from supports provided outside the classroom, including financial and administrative support, health and wellness support, safety and security, and disability support, among others. Building a sense of community – and listening to students’ voices across UCT’s diverse population – continues to be a high priority.

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