Why the PGCE Is the Way Forward for Teachers

Are you a graduate considering teaching as a career? The MANCOSA Postgraduate Certificate in Education could be the next step you’re looking for.


Are you a graduate considering teaching as a career? The MANCOSA Postgraduate Certificate in Education could be the next step you’re looking for.
Are you a graduate considering teaching as a career? The MANCOSA Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) could be the next step you’re looking for.

The PGCE is a comprehensive programme designed specifically to teach the skills and experience needed to become a teacher. This article asks whether the PGCE is the way forward for teachers. It will answer your questions about PGCE courses in South Africa so that you can decide whether this popular higher education option is the right one for you.

What is a PGCE

The PGCE is a 1-2 year postgraduate course that delivers the essential skills and qualifications required to become a teacher through theoretical study and practical components such as school placements. It can be completed either full-time or part-time, depending on the institution you choose.

It’s important to understand that this programme instructs you how to teach – and not what to teach. Therefore, to teach a certain subject, you would need to have gained relevant knowledge about that subject through your undergraduate degree.

Who Qualifies for PGCE?

Admission requirements for PGCE courses usually include an approved bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification. The degree should have provided adequate knowledge in your intended area of teaching specialisation.

If you do not have adequate knowledge of your intended teaching subject, you would need to complete relevant modules at the required level before admission.

Can I do PGCE with a National N Diploma?

The PGCE is a postgraduate qualification that requires you to have completed an undergraduate degree. The structure of the National N Diploma (Educare) does not meet the requirements.

What is the Difference Between a PGCE and PGDEM?

PGCEs and PGDEMs are both teaching qualifications. The former is the Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and the latter is the Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Management.

The courses are very similar, but a key difference is the number of academic credits awarded on completion.

In addition, the PGCE is the ONLY qualification that provides professional registration with the South African Council for Educators (SACE) for graduates with degrees other than the BEd. Plus, most PGCE courses give you credits towards a Master’s degree.

Keep these points in mind as you decide on the right qualification for you.

Types of PGCE Courses in South Africa

Now that you have a broader understanding of the qualification, let’s look at the three types of PGCE courses in South Africa and what the different specialisations might mean for you.

PGCE Primary Phase:
The PGCE Foundation Phase prepares you to teach primary school learners up to age 11.

Demand is very high for these programmes, which tend to focus on the core curriculum and not a particular subject specialisation.

PGCE Secondary Phase:
This qualification prepares you to teach high school learners between the ages of 11 and 16.

Secondary Phase PGCE programmes focus on a chosen subject specialisation.

PGCE Further Education & Training (FET):
This qualification prepares you to teach in Higher Education Institutions or Adult Education Classes. If you decide to teach children at a later stage, you’ll need to requalify.

It’s interesting to note that FET is an area of investment and ongoing development for South Africa, so those with a qualification in this area will find themselves particularly employable. We’ll go into more detail about this in the next section.

Where Can I Do PGCE in South Africa?

The global demand for great teachers is growing, and South African teachers are securing job opportunities around the world. Of course, this means that the PGCE qualification is also in high demand, and many institutions now offer this programme.

Your research into the right institution for you should include the following:

  • if you’d prefer to study full-time or part-time – and therefore the amount of time it will take to complete the qualification
  • the phase of specialisation you’d like to focus on – primary, secondary or FET
  • whether the learning is supported by comprehensive student assistance (online and offline)
    the results achieved by past learners

Further Education & Training: Upskilling the South African Workforce

As someone considering the PGCE programme, teaching is likely more than just another career option, but rather a calling for you. And while you may not have considered Further Education & Training (FET) as your PGCE specialisation, it plays a critical role in supporting underskilled South Africans. Your passion for teaching is something that the country desperately needs, as evidenced by the amount of budget the government is devoting to post-school skills development right now.

FET colleges provide theory and practical education in many professions, such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, forestry, and mining. This training gives individuals the opportunity to upskill themselves and access new opportunities and levels of success – finally escaping poverty. The ripple effect is a more innovative and skilled workforce, strengthening the country overall.

So, it’s not an exaggeration to say that your contribution to building national capabilities through teaching FET students could make a major difference to the economy. Skills development matters for the future of South Africans and South Africa as a whole.

Study for a PGCE with MANCOSA

By now, you should have a broad understanding of the PGCE qualification, the admission requirements for this programme and the different specialisations that you can choose to focus on. We have two questions to guide your next steps.

  • Do you feel called to teach?
  • Do you hold an undergraduate degree in a subject you would like to teach?

If you answered yes to both of these, then the PGCE qualification could be a great investment for you.

And as mentioned previously, it’s interesting to note that the South African Government is prioritising investment in FET institutions. These may become the first choice for many young people looking to obtain critical technical skills. Therefore, opting to complete a PGCE with a specialisation in FET could be a wise choice for lasting employability in South Africa.

But whatever your preference, teaching is a valued skill that is needed around the world. We see proof of this every year, with our PGCE graduates embarking on promising careers.

Our final question to close this article is simple. Are you ready to complete your PGCE Application? Then visit the PGCE programme page for more information or register with MANCOSA.