Original Research

Critical reflections on the PGCE (Foundation Phase) qualification in South Africa

Clare Verbeek
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 4, No 3 | a225 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v4i3.225 | © 2014 Clare Verbeek | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 March 2015 | Published: 30 December 2014

About the author(s)

Clare Verbeek, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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There is a crisis in provision of quality teaching in the foundation phase of schooling in South Africa. This article argues that the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Foundation Phase) (PGCE(FP)) has potential to help address this crisis. The article draws on data from university admission policies, focused discussion between teacher educators from six universities, and a survey of registered PGCE(FP) students at one of these institutions. Through an examination of criteria for admission to the qualification, the article considers which students could potentially be recruited into teaching via the PGCE(FP). The value of students’ academic maturity is highlighted in relation to the duration and content of the curriculum, and in terms of knowledge and motivational effects on children taught by these teachers. It is recommended that admission criteria for the PGCE(FP) should allow recruitment of graduates from a wider variety of academic backgrounds, and it is argued that this qualification should be seen as part of a continuum of professional learning and that teachers with a baccalaureate are well skilled to be active lifelong professional learners. Specific suggestions are made for further research to develop a full analysis of the distinct contribution the PGCE(FP) can make to the early years teaching profession.


PGCE, foundation phase, Initial Teacher Education, admission criteria, early years


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