Prof Loyiso Jita: Dean, Faculty of Education

Welcome to the Faculty of Education where we strive to educate excellent and caring teachers for the 21st century. As a faculty, we pride ourselves on our association with excellent educationists and caring scholars; some of the best that South Africa has ever produced. Our faculty is housed in the Winkie Direko Building; a place named after one of the great educators of the Free State. Ms Winkie Direko was the late former premier of the Free State. Her ideals, as an educationist, continue to inspire the faculty in its mission of access, excellence and human dignity.

The Winkie Direko Building is also a place where great South Africans with a passion for education come to hang out, share ideas, teach and learn about the challenges and opportunities of educating in the 21st century. The Honourable Tate Makgoe, a Member of the Executive Council (MEC) of the leading education province in South Africa (based on the national grade-12 results of 2016), has graced this space multiple times, and left it even better than before his visits. Dr Mamphela Ramphele, a scholar, former managing director and vice-president at the World Bank, has been here to share and compare notes with students and staff. Professor Jonathan Jansen, one of three or four black NRF A-rated scientists in the country does his research and supervision of postgraduate students in the faculty. As the dean of the Faculty of Education, I am therefore in good company!

In January 2012, I joined the faculty from Unisa as a research professor in science education where I had been a professor, director of the School of Education and the acting deputy executive dean in the College of Human Sciences. Prior to that, I worked as a lecturer, senior lecturer and director of the joint centre for science, mathematics and technology education at the University of Pretoria where I had been recruited from a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University in the USA. I hold a multi-disciplinary PhD in Curriculum Studies, Science Teaching, and Education Policy Studies from Michigan State University (MSU) in the USA. My research interests are in teacher change, classroom reform and instructional leadership for the improvement of teaching and learning in science and mathematics education. Thanks to a generous funding endowment from the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL), which has sponsored a Research Chair at the UFS for me and my colleagues to pursue high-quality research, postgraduate student training, and school development work to develop innovative solutions to the challenge of improving science and mathematics education in the country.

It is indeed a privilege for me to lead a team of committed teachers and researchers in the Faculty of Education in providing excellent service to the more than 1200 first year students who have chosen to study with us in 2017. I wish to thank the first year class and their families for entrusting us with the responsibility of shaping their lives into becoming great teachers of our country and the world! I am equally proud of the 500+ postgraduate students who have (re)registered with us. Our commitment to all cohorts of students who study with us is: "We will make it very difficult for you not to achieve your goals of becoming great teachers, excellent scholars, and wonderful human beings!"

To our friends, at home and abroad, alumni, and prospective students: Winkie Direko is open for business; for you to come and hang out with us, to teach, to learn, and for research and collaboration.

Thank you, once again!

Loyiso Jita (PhD, MSU)
Dean and SANRAL Chair in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education


Shereen Motaung
T: + 27 51 401 2245


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