Departments Health Sciences
INTRODUCING SOUTH AFRICA’S FIRST PROFESSIONAL DEGREE IN CHILD AND YOUTH CARE
by Jackie Winfield, Durban University of Technology
The Durban University of Technology (DUT) is pleased to announce the introduction of a four-year, Bachelor of Child and Youth Care degree from 2015. Since 1999, DUT has offered the National Diploma: Child and Youth Development and BTech: Child and Youth Development. Several hundred students have graduated from these programmes, and are making contributions in the lives of children and families in communities, schools, courts, diversion programmes, residential child and youth care centres and a diverse range of other projects and settings. Some are working in academia and many are in senior positions in their organisations, managing, training and leading colleagues for the delivery of enhanced services to South Africa’s young people.
In approximately 2008, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DoHET) revised the legislation providing for higher education in South Africa, resulting in a new Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF), and the necessity for all higher education institutions to review and revise their learning programmes. In order to meet the requirements of this legislation, the DUT has been engaged in a Curriculum Renewal Project since 2011. With regard to child and youth care, the decision was taken to introduce a four-year professional degree, and to phase out the existing programmes.
RATIONALE FOR THE NEW DEGREE
Whilst the National Diploma and BTech qualifications have made a significant contribution to the development of child and youth care services in South Africa, the introduction of the new degree represents an important milestone in the professionalisation of this field of work. It aligns with international standards, and with the work undertaken by the Standards Generating Body (SGB) for Child and Youth Care Work, the vision of the Professional Board for Child and Youth Care (PBCYC), and the requirements in related social services such as social work and community development. Moreover, it reflects more clearly the complexity of professional child and youth care work, and recognises the importance of a sound theoretical base for practice.
The following table compares the current qualifications with the new Bachelor of Child and Youth Care (although the title is still to be confirmed):
|Qualification||National Diploma: Child and Youth Development (current)||BTech: Child and Youth Development (current)||Bachelor of Child and Youth Care (new qualification)|
|Minimum Duration||3 years||1 year full-time/2 years part-time||4 years|
|NQF level||Level 6||Level 7||Level 8|
|SAQA credits||360 credits||120 credits (subsequent to the National Diploma)||512 credits|
EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES
All learning programmes are linked to particular outcomes. On completion of the Bachelor of Child and Youth Care, the student should be able to:
1. Understand children/youth, the ecology of human development and the origins of child and youth care work.
2. Organise, manage and implement developmental and therapeutic work with families and groups.
3. Identify, analyse and assess the social problems and needs experienced by the individuals, families, groups and communities for which the graduate is responsible in a child and youth care work context.
4. Contribute to policy development and evaluation at global and programme level.
5. Function professionally in child and youth care work practice.
6. Provide leadership, supervision and management direction in a child and youth care work context.
The programme will be delivered on a full-time basis in Durban through a modular, semesterised system including General Education modules as required by DUT. Modules will comprise theoretical and practical elements, and include aspects of knowledge such as child and youth care methodology, human development, personal and professional development, behaviour management, communication, working in families and communities, life-space crisis intervention, legislation and policy, and research.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When will the new degree be offered?
Approvals have already been received from DUT, the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP), the DoHET and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). Provided that the final approvals from the Council for Higher Education (CHE) are received before the end of the year, the 2015 first-year students will register for the new programme.
What about students who are currently studying the National Diploma at DUT?
2014 is the final year in which full-time first year subjects will be offered. 2015 will be the final year in which full-time second year subjects will be offered. 2016 will be the final year in which full-time third year subjects will be offered.
What will happen if a current National Diploma student fails a subject and/or has to repeat a year?
During the year following the full-time offering of each subject, there will be a final opportunity to register and pass each subject. This will be undertaken through web-based learning, tutorials and independent study. There will be no formal lectures. The final year to complete the National Diploma will be 2018 (allowing the 2014 intake of students five years to complete their qualification as per DUT rules).
Will the BTech programme still be available?
Yes. It is likely that the BTech will continue to be offered until 2020.
Will the new Bachelors degree be different to the National Diploma plus BTech?
Yes. They are completely different in terms of legislated entrance requirements, level of complexity and credits. The new degree is a higher qualification than the current BTech.
What if a current National Diploma or BTech student wants to transfer to the new degree?
At this stage, this is not possible due to the differences in modules and levels. Current students are advised to complete their National Diploma and apply for BTech if they wish.
Will the current qualifications still be recognised in the future?
Yes. Just because a qualification isn’t offered any more does not make it invalid.
With the pending finalisation of regulations for the registration of CYCWs, will current qualifications be recognised by the Professional Board for Child and Youth Care (PBCYC) and the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP)?
The regulations provide for means by which people with the National Diploma and BTech qualifications can register with the PBCYC/SACSSP. It is likely that there will be additional requirements related to providing evidence of knowledge and experience in child and youth care work.
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