ICON’s partnership with the
Centre for General Education

The overall goals of General Education are to help students think critically, develop values, understand traditions, respect diverse cultures and opinions, and most importantly, put that knowledge to use. Students develop attributes such as the capacity to cope with daily challenges, master the self and understand their role in the broader context through social interaction (DUT General Education Guidelines, 2012).

The aims of General Education are:

  • To build a student-centred educational experience embedded in the local context
  • To prepare students for an increasingly diverse and complex globalised work environment
  • To cultivate an engaged and critical citizenry in the context of an emerging and fragile democracy in an ever-changing world.

ICON has had a major influence on the General Education programme. It has foregrounded content that relates to nonviolence and has promoted the use of pedagogy that itself builds peace and challenges violence. ICON’s involvement has included a central role in developing staff with these skills and commitments.

The following modules are part of the cross-faculty offerings in General Education. There are no pre-requisite or co-requisite modules for them.


Developing leadership that can address the challenges faced by humanity is a complex yet worthwhile task. South African society has experienced internationally recognised leaders who demonstrated ethical commitment, often at great personal cost, and leaders who promoted oppression and criminality, at great cost to society and the environment.

Building a nonviolent society requires that we develop the understanding and practice of servant leadership. This module aims to deepen students’ critical awareness of the nature of leadership that they have experienced and to develop thoughtful ways of being leaders and followers. The module involves a group project that reflects the values espoused by students, group discussion, reading and a written assignment.

Violence and Nonviolence

Violence is a continuing and pervasive problem in South African society. It need not be like this. This module helps students to understand the nature, extent and causes of violence and allows them to work in ways that bring positive change towards nonviolence.

By recognising that violence is everywhere- from family to community to workplace settings, this module is able to develop students’ understandings of their experiences in these settings, and develop their engagement with these issues in their daily lives.

The purpose for this module is to:

  1. Equip students with the understandings and skills that will help them to recognise, reflect on and try to reduce the level of destructive violence around them.
  2. Highlight the important relationship between inequality (especially between men and women) and violence.
  3. Encourage students to become a leader for nonviolence in whatever context they are, now and in the future.

Equality and Diversity:

 The purpose of this module is to enable students to appreciate diversity in self, others and society, and to participate in the development of equality and mutual respect in their communities.

EQDV aims to allow students to:

  1. Critically understand key concepts and perspectives in relation to equality and diversity.
  2. Analyse and explain their understanding of the relevance of equality and diversity in a local and global context
  3. Apply knowledge of equality and diversity in their own lives and in society.