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The National Teaching Excellence awards, introduced in 2009, results from a collaboration between the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) and the Council on Higher Education (CHE) to raise awareness of the teaching role in higher education through the recognition of teaching excellence in South African higher education institutions. It was agreed that the awards would be conducted for three years as a pilot programme, at which point it would be reviewed.
Each year of the pilot, the aims of the award have been adjusted as a result of lessons learned from the previous year. The 2012 National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards (see Appendix 1) aims to:
- show support at a national level for excellence in teaching and learning in higher education;
- generate a cadre of academics who are identifiable and able to provide inspiration and leadership in teaching in their disciplines, institutions and regions;
- generate debate and public awareness about what constitutes teaching excellence.
This study was commissioned by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) to provide a report on the perceived impact of the teaching and learning awards through conducting a limited desktop review of international literature and canvassing stakeholder views of the awards, framed by the following questions:
- what criteria are used for international and national awards systems?
- what is the state of teaching and learning awards in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in South Africa, and what is their perceived impact?
- what implications does this have for the CHE/HELTASA national teaching excellence awards?
- what has been the reception of the awards nationally?