ADMISSION AND ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS POLICY
1.1 The student shall be in possession of a school-leaving certificate in which he has attained at least 25 points. This table shows how school-leaving symbols are converted into points.
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1.2 The student shall have completed a year of preparatory post-school studies in the Orientation Seminary or in his own Religious Institute, based on a programme approved by St John Vianney Seminary NPC.
1.3 The student shall have a sufficiently competent knowledge of English to be able to pursue academic studies at tertiary level.
1.4 The Academic Committee may grant a student who has successfully completed tertiary level studies elsewhere exemption from some of the modules in the Seminary curriculum.
1.5 Students registering for the priesthood at St John Vianney Seminary NPC are required to enrol for the Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy) programme.
1.6 Students who are not registering for the priesthood, with a suitable academic background may register for any degree programme. They can also register for non-degree purposes for certain modules.
1.7 Students for the Catholic priesthood may register only with a letter of application from their Bishop or Religious Superior.
1.8 Students shall have a full report of their academic history attached to the letter of application, which will be considered according to the provisions of Recognition of Prior Learning.
1.9 Exceptions to the above will be determined on an individual basis by the Academic Dean who may be assisted by the Executive Academic Committee.
1.10 St John Vianney Seminary NPC reserves the right to accept students according to its ethos.
2. RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING (RPL) POLICY
St John Vianney Seminary NPC adheres to a policy that acknowledges a candidate’s prior learning based on academic achievement, acquired expertise, experience and age. The normal admission requirements for the BA Phil Degree for a candidate are:
2.1 Candidates for Roman Catholic Priesthood requires a School Leaving Certificate with the minimum of 25 points plus an Orientation Year or its equivalent during which further development in English, personal maturity and spirituality is given priority attention.
2.2 A candidate for the Catholic Priesthood who is otherwise suitable, but has not achieved 25 points is required in addition to the Orientation Year, to do a Bridging Year where the candidate takes courses such as English, reading and writing skills in preparation for academic studies.
2.3 For a candidate not intended for priesthood, direct admission is permissible if he / she is in possession of a University Entrance Qualification.
2.4 Credit for prior learning shall be granted if such learning was done in a similar local Tertiary Institution recognised by the Department of Education, an institution of a similar or higher standard, or international institution whose aims are in keeping with the ethos of the Seminary, and only if the course for which credit is being sought was passed with a minimum of 50% or an equivalent grade.
2.5 In the event of a candidate already in possession of a University or College Qualification, or any other academic qualification, after assessment, due credit will be awarded for all corresponding courses.
2.6 If the candidate is in possession of a degree that has no corresponding relevance to the selected degree programme, she / he is to complete all modules required for the BA Phil Degree.
2.7 If a candidate has no formal degree qualification, but has specialised knowledge by virtue of work experience and / or wisdom by virtue of maturity and experience, natural intellectual capacity and wide reading, after assessment, such a candidate will receive due credit and the academic course work for the degree will be correspondingly reduced.
2.8 The RPL does not exceed more than 10% of the total modules required for the degree.
2.9 Recognition of prior learning maybe granted by the Academic Dean based on objective criteria drawn from the Seminary’s long tradition and experience.
2.10 The Seminary may also turn down a student’s application for recognition of prior learning and / or experience attained.
2.11 The student applying for recognition of prior learning shall make available to the Seminary an original, signed, and stamped academic transcript on the letterhead of the Institute of prior learning, or a certified copy thereof.
2.12 In addition to academic learning, the Seminary may also consider practical experience gained by, as well as the age of the student in determining areas of exemption.
3. LEARNING PROGRAMMES DEVELOPMENT POLICY
3.1 Our programmes are set up primarily for the purposes of training future priests for the Roman Catholic Church according to norms laid down by the Church for formation. However, this being said, the programmes offered at St John Vianney Seminary NPC are open to persons of any race, creed or gender. The basic programmes of Philosophy and Theology, obligatory for priestly training, have been in operation for many years with necessary changes and adaptations. These have been tested satisfactorily by alumni in the practice of ministry.
3.2 The development of programmes takes place within the Departments of the Seminary guided by the directives of the Southern African Bishop’s Conference [SACBC] and Government educational structures. These Departments are two, namely: Philosophy, and Theology, each of which is overseen by a Head of Department.
3.3 The first step is that the various departments take responsibility for the development of the curriculum and the Heads of Department approves it provisionally. To this end, Heads of Departments are answerable directly to the Academic Dean and the Executive Academic Committee.
3.4 The subject courses with outlines and content together with prescribed books are presented by Lecturers. These requirements are identified and set out at Departmental Meetings, and finally verified at the Executive Academic Committee meetings facilitated by the Academic Dean.
3.5 The General Academic Assembly which takes place twice a year i.e., once a semester; discusses the learning programmes, on-going development, formulates and finalises the Academic policies that need to be put in place.
3.6 Matters of major academic nature are minuted, documented, made into policy and, thereafter, communicated to both staff and students.
3.7 The Heads of Departments shall give due consideration to recommendations coming from the Board of Members or the Seminary Department.
4. EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING POLICY
The accompanying experiential learning policy is for students in the Seminary who are preparing for pastoral placements. Arrangements are made with dioceses. A contract with the respective dioceses is signed. The Experiential Learning Policy in operation under different degree programmes and requiring compulsory attendance and participation by students on various levels include:
4.1 PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY:
4.1.1 Written projects of various sizes based on personal research.
4.1.2 Class participation and discussion in general; and formal structured seminars involving group research work and formal presentation in class.
4.1.3 For students of theology and ministry, work as pastoral assistants in the local congregations around Pretoria in semester while classes are in session.
4.1.4 For students of theology and ministry, a six month internship programme in a local congregation in their own diocese.
4.1.5 For all students, work as pastoral assistants in a local congregation of their diocese or religious congregation for the duration of at least one week as part of vacation programme.
4.2 PASTORAL THEOLOGY:
4.2.1 For students of theology and ministry, work as pastoral assistants in the local congregations around Pretoria in semester while classes are in session.
4.2.2 For students of theology and ministry, a six month internship programme in a local congregation in their own diocese.
4.2.3 For all students, work as pastoral assistants in a local congregation of their diocese or religious congregation for the duration of at least one week as part of vacation programme.
GENDER EQUITY POLICY
This policy is to be communicated to all existing and new members of staff and candidates of learning at all levels and or appropriate occasions. While the primary raison d’etre for the Seminary is to form and educate male persons towards Roman Catholic priesthood (at present the Roman Catholic Church admits only male candidates into the ordained ministry), gender equity nevertheless forms one of the important objectives of the vision and mission of the Seminary. Gender equity is considered as a priority not only in creating equity awareness, but because it is also a universal human right that needs to be addressed in a just and equitable manner, the Seminary:
1.1 Shows its awareness of this by practising gender equity as far as possible in generating an environment that encourages gender equality and by allocating certain positions to women.
1.2 Permits students of both genders to enrol for its education programmes.
1.3 Employs both genders from domestic, administrative, educational, and pastoral to management levels by:
1.3.1 Promoting gender equity as far as the provision of the educational programmes is concerned.
1.3.2 Admitting both male and female candidates to the educational programmes offered at St John Vianney Seminary NPC on an equal basis. The right of educational entry is not confined to those who wish to enter the ordained ministry of the Church.
8.3.3 Devising entry points to the educational programmes that are of equal consideration to both men and women. Entry qualifications for degree programmes are gender equitable, provided that the respective candidate complies with the admission requirements.
1.3.4 Promoting gender equality in participatory approaches, while taking cognisance of gender differences in affirmative ways.
1.3.5 Encouraging both men and women to be equal partners in the full participation of the programmes and; thereby, encourage the sustainable development of the academic and social environment of the Seminary.
1.3.6 Creating an increased awareness of gender equity by making the use of inclusive language as a compulsory component of both the written and spoken medium in all courses.
1.3.7 Advising candidates to research social, cultural, economic, academic and religious areas where gender equity does not exist.
1.3.8 Developing and presenting courses in such a manner as to educate candidates in gender appreciation in all areas of life including that of the Roman Catholic Church, where this is not always experienced as a felt practiced reality.
St John Vianney Seminary NPC (hereafter known as “the Seminary”) fully endorses the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with disabilities signed into South African law in June 2007. The Seminary consequently recognises and is committed to provide academic and other necessary support and guidance for adjustment to Seminary life for students with disabilities. Support would include identifying the particular needs of students and assisting them with the necessary requirements. Students will be assisted by administration with application for extra time for tests, exams and with academic learning material.
The purpose of this policy is:
i) To highlight the role of the Seminary in regard to disability.
ii) To specify the rights of staff, students and visitors.
iii) To identify and define concepts in relation to disability.
2.1 Disability, according to the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2007), results when persons with impairments interact with barriers of attitude and environment. Persons with disabilities are recognised as those persons who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may obstruct their full and effective involvement in the community on an equal basis with others.
2.2 Discrimination on the basis of disability means imposing any distinction, exclusion or restriction of persons on the basis of disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others, an all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil, or any other field. It comprises all forms of unfair discrimination, directly or indirectly, including denial of reasonable accommodation.
2.3 Universal design refers to the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design.
2.4 Staff member means an employee of the Seminary and includes an applicant / candidate for employment at the Seminary.
2.5 Student refers to a registered student of the Seminary and includes an applicant / candidate for study at the Seminary.
2.6 A visitor is any member of the public who is present on Seminary property and who is not a staff member or a student. This includes persons who have contractual relationships with the Seminary, as well as, persons who are legitimately commercially active or employed within the Seminary environment.
3 REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION
3.1 The Seminary recognises the right of staff and students with disabilities to have access to accommodation that is reasonable, and that will facilitate their full and equal participation in the activities and facilities of the Seminary.
3.2 The Seminary will seek medical confirmation of any impairment where a request for the provision of accommodation requires this. In such cases supporting documentation will be provided to the President of the Seminary from a registered medical doctor in the case of physical and sensory impairments, and from a clinical or educational psychologist or psychiatrist in the case of cognitive and psychological impairments. In the case of scarce facilities and resources the President of the Seminary will have the right to request a second opinion regarding the need for accommodation.
3.3 Where accommodation provision is made with regard to temporary disabilities this will be done for the calendar year and will be reviewed annually by the President of the Seminary. He will require current documentation in order to assess the continued necessity of this provision.
4. DISCLOSURE OF DISABILITY, RECORD KEEPING AND DATA MANAGEMENT
The Seminary is committed to creating a beneficial institutional climate for the safe, protective disclosure of any disability. Disclosure of disability is necessary where a student, staff member or visitor requests support and / or provision for accommodation. Disclosure will be made to the President of the Seminary. Persons who are tasked with facilitating or providing specific accommodations to an individual with impairment will receive information about the impairment to the extent that this information is necessary to facilitate the accommodation.
Disclosed information will be treated as confidential and private. It will be used to monitor progress in employment and student equity in order to comply with the reporting requirements of the Employment Equity Act, for strategic planning and to maximise levels of service provision.
5. ACCESS TO THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
5.1 The Seminary faces particular challenges in providing access to the built environment for people with disabilities. These include free movement in the new buildings due to the structure and design of the building on three levels.
5.2 The Seminary will identify, and where possible, address barriers to facilities and services at the Seminary. In order to do this, the Seminary will budget each year with regard to access solutions. Improved access to students and staff with disabilities will be formally included as a performance goal of the relevant members of the Seminary.
5.3 The Seminary supports and sanctions the principle of Universal Design as a feature of all new infrastructure development, and will formulate and implement standards and guidelines which ensure that Universal Design Principles are applied in the design and construction and / or maintenance of all buildings, thoroughfares, facilities, security systems, information technology and all other infrastructures for which the Seminary is responsible.
6.1 Ensuring that venues are accessible to persons with mobility impairment.
6.2 Arranging that test and exams are written at assigned venues.
6.3 Liaising with lecturers, tutors, administrators, and staff at the library, residences and other departments and fellow students to foster an understanding of the challenges faced by students with disabilities.
6.4 Monitoring the physical environment and new developments to ensure safety and accessibility to the campus community and visitors.
6.5 The Seminary works to remove any physical, policy, information and attitude barriers that might prevent students and staff from fulfilling their potential
6.6 It promotes the policy of equal opportunities adopted by the Seminary.
6.7 It assists the Seminary to deal correctly and appropriately with disabled students, staff, prospective students, visiting academics and other visitors.
The Seminary supports equal academic access for disabled students in the following ways:
7.1 Support and advice on any issues related to disability.
7.2 Consultative and counselling support for students and staff with disabilities (e.g., speech impediment).
7.3 Advice on academic adjustments and reasonable accommodations and provision of specific services.
7.4 Physical Access: make available a wheelchair guide map of the campus.
7.5 Provide technical assistance.
7.6 Parking bays for disabled students and staff.
7.7 Allow extra time and other exam accommodations for disabled students
1. ASSESSMENT POLICY
Assessment is the process whereby evidence of academic performance is gathered and evaluated against agreed criteria in order to make a professional judgement as to whether the learning required for the achievement of specific outcomes or competencies is taking place or has taken place. During assessment, the examiner collects evidence to identify the level of knowledge and/or skill acquired so that decisions can be made related to the student, the module or the programme, depending on the purpose of the particular assessment. It includes the assessment of student performance during work-integrated learning activities, where relevant.
1.1 The focus of assessment includes:
1.1.1 Improving the quality of a student’s learning experience by concentrating on graduate characteristics, that is significant knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, and providing motivation to work through the material through tasks and feedback. Assessment focuses on the ability to transfer knowledge to new contexts and to apply knowledge to specific contexts.
1.1.2 Providing accurate estimates of current competence or potential in relation to desired outcomes to enable academics to make appropriate decisions (placement, diagnostic, etc.)
1.1.3 Making academic judgments of student performance related to competence and progression or qualification.
Each lecturer may prescribe reading, conduct class tests, and set projects during the semester at his/her discretion, bearing in mind the students’ overall programme. The dates on which projects have to be handed in shall be communicated by the Academic Dean to the Department Heads in Philosophy and Theology and to the students during the first fortnight of the semester.
1.1.4 Each subject is examined at the end of a semester orally or in writing, as the lecturer wishes.
1.1.5 The final mark for the semester shall be a combination of the class work results amounting to 40% of the overall mark plus the examination results amounting to 60% of the overall mark.
1.1.6 If a student fails to obtain an aggregate mark of 50% for a subject due to failing the examination, the student shall do a supplementary/repeat examination [see below]. The class mark shall be added to the examination result to give the final mark.
1.1.7 When students have to repeat a written examination, the lecturer shall send to the Academic Dean the text of the repeat examination paper together with the students’ marks.
2. PROMOTION AND FAILURE:
Both academic achievement and personal growth in areas of formation form the basis of the assessment of a candidate for the priesthood or religious life. Both of these dimensions are important in discerning a candidate’s suitability for promotion to the next stage. A candidate who is unable to reach the required standard is unlikely to minister effectively in a pastoral situation or live out his religious commitment.
2.1 A student who attains 50% or more in a module will have successfully passed that module.
2.2 A student who attains 49% will have his mark adjusted to that reflecting a pass mark of 50%.
2.3 A student who attains between 40-48% will be subjected to a supplementary examination.
2.4 A student who attains a mark less than 40% will have to repeat the module in the corresponding semester when it is offered again, or upon the availability of a requisite lecturer for that specific module.
2.5 A student who fails a core or fundamental module will repeat that module. However, any student who fails an elective module may substitute that module with an alternative elective.
2.6 A student who fails a supplementary examination, or who has failed a module outright will repeat the module, by attending class again and doing all the prescribed tasks, or by studying the material privately under the direction of the lecturer, if the lecturer is available for such private tuition and the Academic Dean assents. In which case the following procedure is adhered to:
i) The lecturer will set an elaborated work (4000-7000 words) covering the essential aspects of the module, specifying the date on which this work is to be handed in.
ii) The essay should be marked with detailed comments in regard to content, methodology and language.
iii) If the mark for this elaborated work is 60% or more, there will be no need for a semester examination; but there will be an examination at the end if the mark for the elaborated work is below 60%.
iv) A student who does not succeed in passing the module when repeated the first time shall be considered to have failed finally, and no further repeat is permitted, and does not attain the requisite credits for that module.
3. MATTERS REGARDING PHILOSOPHY & THEOLOGY STUDENTS:
3.1 A student who fails no more than two modules after the supplementary examinations will be promoted to the following year.
3.2 A student who has failed four or more modules for the semester will not be promoted to the next semester but will have to repeat the semester, including the modules already passed.
3.3 A student who fails three modules in the first semester, after the supplementary examinations, will be allowed to continue into the second semester, but the failed modules will be carried over to the corresponding semester in the following year, when it is offered again, provided that he / she passes all modules in the second semester.
3.4 A student who fails a further module in the second semester will be asked to repeat the entire year, including the modules already passed.
3.5 A student will not be admitted to the theology programme at St John Vianney Seminary NPC unless he/she has successfully completed a minimum of two years’ study in philosophy, and which is attested as such in an authenticated transcript.
3.6 Any philosophy student who has not passed the modules required to be promoted to theology may either repeat the complete year at the Seminary, or study the failed subjects elsewhere at the discretion of his Ordinary and be assessed again by the Seminary’s academic staff.
3.7 A third year philosophy student who does not in terms of academic achievement qualify for a degree may repeat the modules failed or the year itself, or be given a transcript of modules passed.
3.8 A student will be informed at the end of each semester about what modules he/she will have to undergo a re-examination or do a project in terms of Projects, Tests and Examinations above.
3.9 Supplementary examinations will be conducted twice a year: in the second or third week of the second semester for first semester modules, and in February at the commencement of the new academic year for the second semester modules of the previous year. With the consent of the Academic Dean, the lecturer concerned and the student may agree to this repeat evaluation being done earlier [see Projects, Tests and Examinations 4].
3.10 Marks awarded for a supplementary examination will not exceed 50%. However, for a repeat module, a student attains for the mark awarded him or her by the lecturer.
4. TYPES OF ASSESSMENT:
4.1 FORMATIVE, CONTINUOUS & SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT
These types of assessment are possible components of all modules within a programme. Formative and summative assessment is the most usual form of assessment in modules.
4.1.1 Formative Assessment
Formative assessment refers to assessment that takes place during the process of teaching and learning. Formative assessment.
a) Supports the teaching and learning process.
b) Provides feedback to the student on his/her progress.
c) Identifies the student’s strengths and weaknesses.
d) Assists in the planning of future learning.
e) Is developmental in nature and contributes to the student’s capacity for self-evaluation.
f) Assists with decision making with regard to the readiness of the student to complete a summative assessment
4.1.2 Summative Assessment
Summative assessment is conducted for the purpose of making a judgment about the level of competence of a student in relation to the outcomes of a module and/or programme. The result of such a formal assessment (e.g. class tests, assignments, projects, presentations) is expressed as a mark reflecting a pass or fail. There is a minimum number of summative assessment options in the programmes.
4.1.3 INTEGRATED AND CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT
Integrated and continuous assessment is used to assure overall applied competence, to prevent disjointed learning experiences and as a time effective assessment method. General assessment principles and practices apply. Integrated assessment refers to:
i) Assessing a number of outcomes together
ii) Assessing a number of modules together
iii) Using a combination of assessment methods and instruments for an outcome or outcomes
iv) Collecting naturally occurring evidence (such as in a workplace setting)
v) Acquiring evidence from other sources such as supervisor reports, testimonials, portfolios of work previously done, logbooks, journals, etc.
vi) The use of different types and combinations of integrated assessment will be dependent on the nature of specific disciplines, including its appropriateness at the particular level of study, for example at exit level of an undergraduate programme. Applied competence refers to the foundational, practical and reflexive aspects of learning. In other words, students must demonstrate their understanding of the knowledge, skills and attitudes associated with a particular discipline or field of study (foundational knowledge), they must be able to apply this knowledge in a given context and be able to reflect on the knowledge and application in a critical way.
vii) The use of a ‘case study’ approach exemplifies the use of integrated assessment. While it can have targeted applicability at the undergraduate level, it is particularly suited for postgraduate programmes.
viii) Continuous assessment occurs when students are assessed continuously in a module. It is an alternative to reliance on a summative examination in a module. It can also be used in capstone projects.
4.2 Grading of Assignments
Percentages will be awarded when marking and 50% constitutes a pass mark for all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Individual programmes will determine sub-minima marks.
Feedback to enhance learning is fundamental to the student learning process. Academics are expected to provide timely feedback that identifies where misunderstandings have occurred and the ways in which the student can improve on a marked assignment. Feedback should be individualised to the specific student’s attempts whenever possible and practicable. Generic feedback should also be given in answers/ guidelines to self-assessed tasks in study materials and lecturer-marked assignments.
Feedback on assignments or, for example in tutorial letters, must reach students before they write their examinations. Additional support is provided for at the -risk of failing students in the form of individual mentoring and/or supported classes, where applicable
Student Responsibility: Students are responsible for incorporating assessment feedback in their learning; making use of the assessment criteria that they are given; being aware of the rules. Policies and other documents related to the assessment of a module; and to provide academics with feedback on the assessment methods used and their assessment practices
Students With Disabilities: SJV is committed to ensuring fair treatment for all its students. The Academic Committee will make reasonable arrangements for students with special needs resulting from disabilities including aspects such as venues, time for completion of examination and mode of the examination (taped, oral, Braille, use of laptops, etc.) at the expense of the student.
5. ASSESSMENT POLICY FOR PHILOSOPHY & THEOLOGY
5.1 COURSE EVALUATIONS:
Each lecturer is asked to conduct an evaluation of the course and the lecturer’s part in it in dialogue with the students at the end of each semester. The precise form that this evaluation takes is left to the lecturer’s discretion. There are sample forms available on request from the Academic Dean.
5.2 CLASS TESTS, SEMESTER PAPERS AND PROJECTS
i) Class tests are a useful way of gauging progress, and may be asked of the students at any time. Lecturers are asked, however, to give students adequate notice of such tests in the first week of the semester. All class work should be considered and the marks to be included in the final mark for the semester.
ii) All courses should involve set reading, whether for the semester assignment or as part of the preparation for lectures; but lecturers are asked to make sure that students read and reflect so that the fruits of their reading are shared and discussed insightfully in class. Short class tests on specific sections of such books can be a useful way of checking or evaluating prescribed reading.
iii) Some form of writing (not assignments) should accompany prescribed and recommended reading: either as a teaching tool or in preparation for class seminars or class discussions. If marks are allocated this can be included as part of the term mark. Oral presentations, based on the recommended reading, can be presented in class in the form of shared teaching or debates.
iv) The above guidelines make provision for on-going formative assessment and on-going informal formative assessments.
i) Examinations are held at the end of each semester, in June and November respectively, for the work covered during that semester.An examination can be either in oral or written form. The normal duration of an oral examination is fifteen (15) minutes. The normal duration of a written examination is three (3) hours.
ii) Questions related to oral examinations are to be submitted with the examination marks. Any request to the contrary should be made to the Academic Dean.
iii) Examination questions are not to be given out ahead of the examination. Lecturers are free to use whatever means they choose to suggest to students important areas from which examination questions are likely to be set. This should be done in such a way, however, that the students would still study the whole course and get an overview of the whole as a unit.
iv) In those skills-training courses in which a project replaces an examination, some means should be found of getting the students to do a review of the whole course, so that they grasp its unity and see how the various subsections fit into the whole.
The above regulations make provision for formal summative assessment.
v) Where feasible, lecturers should provide for examination evaluations with the whole class at the beginning of the next semester. In all cases, lecturers, where possible, should make themselves available to discuss their papers with individual students who have failed.
Examination scripts are not ordinarily returned to the students. These are kept and stored in the archives.