Academic Articles

SACAP is empowering graduates to make a difference in society.

Jun 17, 2020 | By Lauren Martin
SACAP is empowering graduates to make a difference in society

Nelson Mandela’s vision for South African Education:

Education, Nelson Mandela said, is the great engine of personal development. Good education triggers personal development and it fosters character in students to build them up to be of value to their society. In other words, besides academic competence, good education ignites inner transformation in students; it helps students acquire servant leadership skills for social responsibility.

“Your teachings and the module have been eye opening to me, thank you for helping us all understand our country from different perspectives. For me personally, this module has taught me how to appreciate the different people in our land and how these people could be greatly affected by my actions as a psychologist (both negatively and positively). This module has taught me how to soften my heart to South Africa and learn how to hope that the country can start rebuilding itself. The potential in our land is enormous, yet there are so many directions that our problems come from. That being said, if there are more education courses that have the teachings such as Approaches to Diversity I believe there is a chance that the country may be a better place to live one day,” Caira Goncalves, SACAP Pretoria Student.

Don’t teach students what to think; teach them how to think.

To understand why professions or graduates develop the way they do, it is important to first study the way students are taught, prepared and trained in Higher Education. SACAP students are taught how to critically assess their worldviews, values, biases, behaviours that they uncritically learnt when they were younger.

If we as educators shelter students from the uncomfortable or if students struggle with critically discussing the uncomfortable, why do we think they will be empowered to face or thrive in the uncomfortable?

“This module has emphasized how crucial it is to be ruthlessly self-aware of one’s beliefs, unresolved traumas, and internal processes, in order to be efficient in the field. Self-reflection is key. On a personal level, this has enforced tremendous self-growth, particularly during the present circumstances of social isolation; it becomes increasingly easier to “slip” psychologically if you fail to regularly “check your process” (as you would say), particularly during such times. I aspire to be effective in practice in the future and I know a major contribution to that is the relationship I have with myself.”

SACAP Pretoria Student

This type of teaching and learning challenges students to develop graduate-level thinking and behaviours for success in their lives and chosen careers. This type of teaching is often referred to as Transformative Learning (TL) which was initially developed by Jack Mezirow.

SACAP students are equipped to make a difference in South Africa through the empowering teaching and learning environment:

  1. Students are innovative, who see problems from different perspectives and who find solutions for the broader community.

“As SACAP we receive students, despite their age, who have the maturity of knowing that psychology is a calling and not just a profession. This enables them to be ready to think outside the box and to engage with academic material in new and diverse ways. It also means that they display initiative and drive within themselves to practically implement what they are taught. They also go beyond the classroom and into communities with initiatives that not only bolster their training but that are invaluable to the broader society.”

Walter Matina, SACAP Educator
  1. Students know how to critically reflect on the world, its failings and injustices, which mobilizes graduates to advocate for the forgotten, vulnerable and the dismissed.

“SACAP students are inspirational. They are supportive of one another and work towards a common goal. An altruistic goal of serving the mental health needs in communities in South Africa.”

Janine Kendall, SACAP Educator
  1. Students are mobilized to heal our society and bring about meaningful contributions.

“SACAP students are committed to internalize their learning for their future careers. The goal is not to pass an assessment or an exam, it is to become knowledgeable and gain insights and perspectives into content.”

Janine Kendall, SACAP Educator
  1. Students are willing to sit in discomfort and challenge for a greater cause.

“During trying and turbulent times they have shown dedication to their long-term goals, grit, perseverance, determination to succeed, independence, resilience, and a true passion for psychology.”

Janine Kendall, SACAP Educator
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