Introducing the School of Education
Date: May, 20, 2008 14:16 Age: 10 yrs
The School of Education (SOE) came into being in January of 2006, under the restructure of USP and the establishment of the Faculty of Arts and Law (FAL). The reorganization process has resulted in a complete realignment of activities and programmes to allow for greater devolution of responsibilities and effective management of the services provided.
Upon establishment, an SOE support plan was drawn up in consultation with SOE staff. The SOE Vision and Mission, core values and underlying principles were drawn up in line with the USP Vision of a 'University of Excellence' and the FAL Support Plan.
As a result of the goal setting process, the following six divisions have been established within SOE.
These divisions are:
1. Early Childhood and Special Needs Education
2. Primary Education Programmes
3. Seconday Education Programmes
4. Professional, Continuing, Non-Formal and Community Education Programmes
5. Indigenous Education, Research and Development
6. Publicity and Marketing
The major activities of SOE include teacher education, excellence in teaching and learning, distance, flexible and innovative teaching/learning approaches, research and publication and consultancy (SOE Triennial Submission 2006 – 2008). SOE is responsible as the provider of ‘quality education’ to the region in its offerings of teacher education programs from Early Childhood Education (ECE), through Primary and Secondary Education, to Tertiary Teaching (TT). SOE offers a range of courses and programs at certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate levels that support teacher education at pre-service and in-service levels.
Teacher Education is viewed as the ‘heart and soul of SOE’ and it prides itself in its offerings of quality programs and courses in this area. In addition to the newly established Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education, it is planning to introduce a Bachelor of Education in Special Education.
SOE is committed to further enhancing its delivery of courses in Distance and Flexible modes combining face to face, print, video broadcast, video conferencing, satellite tutorials, radio and compulsory short-term residential school, on-line courses and supported by web materials, CDs, DVDs, etc. Such an approach recognizes and attempts to address the diversity of on-campus and the DFL students’ needs, in order to prepare independent learners, critical thinkers and reflective educational practitioners.
SOE has identified the following program areas as key areas:
i.Library/Information Studies Programmes
ii.Bachelor in Education Degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE)
iii.SOE Educare Centre
iv.B.Ed Primary (in-service)
vi.BA in Special Education
vii.Technology Education Degree
viii.Sports and Physical Education degree
ix.The re-establishment of a Teaching Learning Center TLC; and
x.Tertiary Teacher Education Programme
SOE recognizes the importance of enhancing a research culture, publication and consultancies. Firstly, it places particular emphasis on the undertaking of student research in areas that relate to its courses and programmes. Through student research undertaken at the postgraduate level, SOE will continue to contribute to the pacific knowledge and pedagogy. Secondly, it is committed to increasing staff research profile and activities including consultancies, collaborative research and publications.
SOE is committed to building and maintaining community links within the region as well as internationally. This is developed in its outreach activities and programs, which include collaboration with regional and international tertiary institutions, NGO’s, International organisations and Aid agencies. It is also committed to working with pacific communities in a number of ways such as providing staff expertise in the provision of workshops, seminars, research and other projects.
The School of Education is to be recognized as a leading institution of educational excellence providing quality learning and quality educational services within the Pacific region and internationally.
The mission of the School of Education (SOE) is to actively promote the general mission of the University and the Faculty of Arts and Law (FAL) with particular reference to Pacific epistemologies and indigenous pedagogies. SOE is committed to enhancing education that is responsive to diverse and changing educational needs of the local, regional and global contexts.
In doing so, SOE will weave in its policies, programmes, courses and outreach activities Pacific epistemologies and indigenous knowledge systems embedded in USP Themes and Guiding Principles and within the broader global framework. SOE will collaborate with stakeholders in this process. These would enable Pacific peoples to own and control the nature and direction of their own education. This is consistent with the guiding principles outlined in the USP Mission, “The University will pursue a mission that positions the University as a Center of Excellence for all things ‘Pacific’, including Pacific values, ethics and knowledge systems” (USP Quality Strategy, 2004:12). More specifically, it is derived from USP Quality Objective 10 “to promote Pacific consciousness among the University’s students and staff” (Ibid, 2004:13).
SOE Guiding Principles and Themes
SOE believes that its policies, programs, courses and outreach activities ought to be
- relevant to Pacific needs;
- accessible to its clientele;
- inclusive; and,
- SOE believes that relevancy, accessibility and inclusivity are achieved through partnership with Pacific and international communities.
In brief, the SOE mission is committed to the enhancement of quality teacher education, particularly in the areas of DFL courses, program units, post graduate studies, staff research and publication, consultancies, and outreach activities. This focus ensures that the services provided by SOE is responsive to both the individual needs of the students and their communities as well as the developmental needs of their countries. The outcome of these initiatives is to motivate life long learners, who can live together peacefully in the diversity of the pacific and the global context.
Consistent with USP (A University of Excellence: weaving past and present for the future (2001) and FAL (FAL Strategic Plan 2006 – 2008) values, SOE will actively promote universal values in general and Pacific values in particular. This values-based platform is essential to ensure that all students, staff, schools and communities are regarded with respect and dignity and that all policies, programs, courses and processes are established on a firm foundation of justice and ethical practice.