Day 2 | Tuesday 24 October

Panel discussions: 08:00 – 10:00


Decolonising community engagement through participatory action research

Lesley Wood, Bruce Damons, Rod Waddington, Maite Mathikithela, Rubina Setlhare

Community engagement is a core function of the university in South Africa. In the field of education, this imperative obliges academics to work with school communities to address the many social challenges that impact negatively on teaching and learning. Since we live in a country (and world) where poverty, disease and other social ills continue to be a part of daily life for the majority of people (Wood, 2014) as academics we should be morally obliged to engage in research that helps to address such injustices and contributes to sustainable community development. A driving aim for Higher Education in South Africa is “to redress past inequalities and to transform the higher education system to serve a new social order, to meet pressing national needs, and to respond to new realities and opportunities” (Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), 2013, p.1). Yet, in general, the knowledge produced by the academy has had little positive impact on the quality of life of those we research (Nhamo, 2012). Our recommendations on how social problems can be ameliorated are often proffered as one-sided knowledge outputs without actively engaging with the communities in question (Erasmus, 2005).  However, there are increasing calls for higher education to shift its thinking about community engagement, to conceptualize it as a means of exchanging knowledge and resources to attain mutually beneficial outcomes for all involved (Bringle and Hatcher, 2002; Odora-Hoppers and Richards, 2011).  There is growing recognition that unless we do so, it will be difficult to generate knowledge that can be translated into relevant, sustainable community change and development (Zuber-Skerritt, 2012). There is thus a need to develop both capacity among academics for community engagement and to generate knowledge on how this could be done in a way that meets both research and community development needs. Participatory action research is a creative, innovative, collaborative and self-developed way to work with communities, based on democratic values that promote the taking of responsibility for outcomes that benefit mutual interests.

This panel session presents opportunity for 5 doctoral students who were engaged in a 5-year NRF study entitled to share their critical reflections on their learning about decolonizing engagement. The outputs of this research describe how relevant and contextualised knowledge can be created in collaboration with communities and provides grounded theory that will contribute to the emerging field of community engagement at tertiary level.  All the PhD students in the project had a different focus in their respective studies, but they all used PAR to engage with their communities.  The project addressed questions such as:

  • How do we engage with communities who might not want our ‘help’, either because they are so deeply immersed in the situation that they cannot imagine a different reality or because they are protective of customs that offer them some form of stability, control or comfort in an otherwise harsh life?
  • How do we create space for people to set and attain personal and professional goals that are meaningful to them?
  • How can the traditional power relations between researcher and community be leveled so that each makes a worthwhile contribution to the process and benefits from outcomes?
  • What do communities think about/expect from community engagement by tertiary researchers?
  • What are the challenges of community engagement and how could they be addressed?
  • What theoretical frameworks are best suited for community engagement?

Couched within the sub-theme of “decolonising methodologies”, this panel session will create space for the audience to dialogue around how we can conduct research with community members so that their knowledge is foregrounded and they benefit as much from the research as the university members do.

The panel members will each address one or more of the above questions, in relation to their own study, and then discussion will be opened up to the audience.

Lesley Wood: Convener

Bruce Damons:  The reciprocal agenda of participatory research in communities.

Rod Waddington: Levelling the playing fields: doing action research in one’s own organization.

Maite Mathikithela: Developing community resilience through participatory action research

Rubina Setlhare: Creating space for community members to use and expand on local knowledge when identifying and addressing challenges authentic to their reality


Developing mathematical identities through mathematics clubs

Karin Brodie; Erna Lampen; JeanneMari Du Plessis

Learning mathematics involves cognitive and affective aspects as well as learning to persevere with and enjoy the challenges of doing mathematics -elements of what is sometimes called mathematical identity. Such engagement is rarely developed in mathematics classrooms, even with many teacher development programmes focused these aspects of learning mathematics. We have therefore developed extra-curricular mathematics clubs for high school learners, where we hope to develop learners’ identities as learners and doers of mathematics. In this presentation we will share: 1. A developing framework for researching learners’ mathematical identities; 2. The curriculum principles that inform our mathematics club curriculum; and 3. An initial study in one mathematics club of learners’ emotional experiences of mathematics in the club.

There is substantial theoretical and empirical work on identity and mathematics identity in relation to learning mathematics (Black, Mendick, & Solomon, 2009; Sfard & Prusak, 2005; Wenger, 1998). The concept is useful in that it brings together aspects of the personal and social in learning mathematics and takes our ideas about learning mathematics beyond the cognitive. However, it remains a slippery concept for conducting empirical research, being very broad and requiring researchers to focus on some aspects to the exclusion of others. Our first presentation will focus on a framework for research mathematical identity from a critical realist perspective, indicating what this gains and loses for us in our quest to understand how learners learn mathematics.

Our overall project aim is to understand how learners’ identities shift as they participate in an after-school mathematics club. We have developed a curriculum for the club based on the following principles: the mathematics we do in the club should relate to the school mathematics curriculum but not be the same; we need to support learners to catch up previously missed mathematical concepts, while developing the concepts and skills needed to cope with the current mathematics curriculum; and the activities should inspire challenge, perseverance, collaboration and joy in doing mathematics. We set out with a general framework to address the above, and allowed a curriculum to emerge that is locally responsive to the different sites where our club is enacted. We will discuss the properties of the emergent curriculum and debate the following issues: what is the relationship between identity and curriculum; should a mathematics club curriculum have an obligation towards the formal school curriculum; what are design principles for a locally responsive mathematics club curriculum, and are there design features that can extend beyond the local?

We see emotions as an important part of an identity framework, which is completely missed by cognitive approaches to learning mathematics. An initial study in one of the clubs investigated how learners manage their emotions as they tried to persevere through challenging mathematics problems that are different to what they experience in class. In trying to understand the learners’ emotions during problem solving, we observed that learners’ lack of descriptive awareness of their emotions vitiated our use of standard questions about identity and emotional states. We intervened with an “emotions vocabulary” reference tool adapted from Plutchik’s (2001) ‘Diagram of Emotions’. Before the emotions vocabulary tool was introduced, learners acted out emotionally, creating disruptions and moving around to engage socially rather than with the task. On probing, learners haphazardly reported contrasting emotions, copying expressions from peers, while more than half of the group reported sensations like hunger and tiredness as prevailing emotions. Contrary to our observations of boisterousness or emotional agitation, “sad” was the emotion noted most often by the group.  On the introduction of the tool learners readily used more appropriate emotion words and explanatory phrases, and reported a wider array of emotions, with less comparison to what peers wrote. In subsequent sessions we observed more on-task behaviour and by their self-reports, most learners were increasingly able to “ride out” the negative emotions brought on by problem-solving, and reported positive and self-empowering emotions, such as pride, at the end of the sessions.

Venue 1 BS



Gert van der Westhuizen and SIG participants

Interaction Studies Data-based session “The morality of knowledge in learning interactions”. The purpose of the session is to consider questions of epistemic access and knowledge responsibilities in mentoring interactions, in order to clarify how participants use talk interactionally to enhance knowledge plurality.


Presentations: 08:00 – 08:30

‘Specialised’ vs ‘everyday’ knowledge, and the call for decolonising the curriculum

Lerato Posholi

The recent call for decolonising the curriculum invites us to re-visit and re-think our views about knowledge and curriculum, and related questions about what knowledge should form part of the curriculum. Underlying this question of what/which knowledge should form part of the curriculum is a broader question about what kind of knowledge we should teach in institutions of higher learning. There is an on-going debate within education about the distinction between ‘specialised’ and ‘everyday’ knowledge. Some argue that ‘everyday’ knowledge should be incorporated into the curriculum to enhance learning, while others reject this idea and argue that the proper function of education is to introduce students to ‘specialised’ knowledge that they are not exposed to in their everyday contexts and experiences. This paper is a conceptual exploration into the ways in which the distinction between ‘specialised’ and ‘everyday’ knowledge is conceptualised and articulated in current literature on decolonisation. In particular, it investigates whether those calling for the decolonisation of the curriculum show a commitment to the distinction between ‘specialised’ and ‘everyday’ knowledge, and looks at the implications for such commitment/non-commitment for curriculum design in universities. The hope is that looking at the distinction between ‘specialised’ and ‘everyday’ knowledge in relation to the call for decolonisation of the curriculum will present new insights about the distinction, and enhance the on-going debate about it.

The African University: In search of meaning

Amasa P. Ndofirepi

The question of an African university revolves around the notion of identity which in itself is not unproblematic. Given the hostility between authentic and social constructions as determinants of identity, I explore the African identity puzzle to demonstrate how the definition of the one of the oldest and highest institution of learning in Africa is substantively knotty. I argue that the complexities surrounding the idea of Africa have a ripple effect on the genealogies and meanings of an African university. Using responses from interviews of academics and scholars on higher in Africa and evidence from the literature, I juxtapose what I call the “university in Africa” and the “African university” to analyse the meaning and identity of an “authentic 21st century African university”.

Rethinking The Traditional Practices: Finding The Voices Of Student Teachers For A Transformed Curriculum And Training As Emerging Mathematics Teachers

Jogymol Alex

South African education system is confronted with the under preparedness of teachers particularly in the teaching of mathematics in rural areas. The impetus to encourage the education community to pay more attention to the teacher education curricula inspired this study. Traditionally, in the Bachelor of Education courses, content and pedagogy are incorporated into the modules, named as content modules and curriculum studies modules respectively. The integration of theory and practice is achieved through Work Integrated Learning (WIL), which is a key goal of initial training to develop practical knowledge and skills in teachers. This paper provides the views of 3rd year Bachelor of Education (BEd, Mathematics Education) students on the modules and the WIL training given to them as emerging mathematics teachers. The theoretical framework rests on theories of pre-service teacher education. The study followed an interpretivist paradigm and qualitative approach. The views of a sample of 95 student teachers using a self-developed open-ended questionnaire and their mathematics education course modules were analysed. The findings revealed that most of the student teachers were dissatisfied with the mathematics content modules taught to them as the content needed in the school mathematics curriculum was lacking in their university curriculum and that they do not get prepared adequately to become senior secondary school mathematics teachers. Most of them believed that even though the curriculum studies modules supported them on the skills and knowledge to do WIL, more time should have been dedicated to teach and familiarise them with the school mathematics concepts. It was also noted that the mathematics content curriculum followed in the schools was not stressed in the content modules. The themes emerged from the analysis made the researcher to make conclusions on why the teacher education program fails to prepare the student teachers to reconstruct their knowledge of content and educational principles into authentic classroom teaching. The recommendation is that the education community needs to transform the teacher education curricula and WIL with respect to school mathematics teaching in order to prepare the emerging teachers effectively.

Decolonising The Market Space: An Intersectional Approach to Neoclassical Economy

Jessica Goebel, Nangamso Nxumalo

The purpose of this paper is to stress the importance of intersectionality, a term often used in black radical feminist spaces. This is done in an effort, as part of the decolonial project, to humanize – as well as rethink – the economics curriculum, in the South African context. Markets are not the idealised institutions portrayed in economics textbooks, they are also shaped by other non-market forces and structures. It is important to acknowledge, as well as to interrogate, that.

The elitism of economics disempowers and silences the voices of the non-expert. Currently, the analysis and advice of experts is often comprised of their position in the economy, which is hierachised in terms of race, class and gender, often leaving a majority of ordinary citizens in a worse off position, because of neoclassical economics. This kind of economic literacy sounds more like brainwashing than education as it only seeks to regurgitate, perpetuate and to uphold the symptoms of capitalism which are inequality, poverty and exploitation.

Neoclassical economics leaves a lot to be desired as it doesn’t bother explaining the historical process by which a company can have R500 billion in capital, while another is just stocked with hard-working human labour. By pretending that capitalism is just a system of markets, neoclassical economics blurs the real power relations and the, often, violent historical processes, which explain the economic system in which we live.

A decolonial, or humane, teaching of economics – factoring in indigenous knowledge methodologies, socialism and certain attributes of classical economics, would be one which helps meet human and environmental needs. This teaching will usher in an alternative economic system motivated directly by our desire to improve the human and ecological condition, rather than filling this exasperated hunger for profit. The economy is far too important to be left to neoclassical economists to define and explain.

Student politics in higher education: Of Grants, Funds, Fees Must Fall and the lack thereof: A comparative study of South African and Zimbabwean University

Dube Bekithemba

In this presentation, I attempt to make a comparison of university students from South Africa and Zimbabwe in relation to protests. I attempt to answer why students with learning resources, such as scholarships, and grants engage in violent activities such as burning of the university properties, yet students in social and economic (without scholarship and grants) deprived society like Zimbabwe are able to sail through studies without violent means? Could it be the militarisation of universities in Zimbabwe/ South Africa? In responding to these question, I used questionnaires and interviews of students in both countries and I also draw from my personal experiences as student and lecturer in both countries. I ground this presentation in decoloniality theory. I conclude the presentation by arguing that non-violent teaching and learning in universities is the lack (not) of scholarship, grants and learning resources but political forces which are always at contestation via university students and that Zimbabwe and South African universities need to reconstruct, re-imagine and re-engage students incognisance of emerging lived realities premised in new understanding of democracy and free education.

Enhancing  Scholastic Performance of Educational Institutions Through Decolonisation

Dr NS Modiba

The paper interrogates why experimentation with decolonisation is hard to come by in public secondary schools despite its usefulness. The paper is both conceptual and empirical in nature. Document study and interviewing techniques were used to collect data from three selected secondary schools in one of the Districts of the Limpopo Province. Research findings reveal that firstly, sticking to old apartheid practices prevent schools from becoming sufficiently functional. Secondly, dearth of consciousness that decolonisation revolutionises schools, delay managing learner performance through it.  Thirdly, the absence of decolonisation in schools amounts to emancipation without freedom to institutional incumbents. Lastly, decolonisation emphasises business unusual for the current schooling. As part of the conclusion, the researcher recommends that public secondary schools need to genuinely embrace the 21st century manner of managing learner results where decolonisation of every practice at the school, permeates every corner of a school’s governance.  Such a change of focus is likely to assist schools to deinstitutionalise the entrenched colonialism which is irrelevant in the 21st century schooling.

Presentations: 08:30 – 09:00

Curriculum politics and the knowledge question

Neetha Ravjee

This paper is part of a larger project comparing liberal and critical theories of recognition in South African education policy discourses and in critiques of the logic and practices of colonial/apartheid education. It investigates ways in which the knowledge question is being approached in post-apartheid universities. It specifically questions the curriculum politics of the “western science versus indigenous knowledge” dichotomy that simultaneously constructs non-western knowledge traditions as “indigenous” and outside of “science” without acknowledging that what we call “western science” may be just the universalization of different knowledge traditions through the process of colonization.

Conceptions of “indigenous” and “western” knowledge in South African universities have developed in ways that privileges one and silences the other. The dominant educational, scientific and development discourses continue to construct both in a dichotomous and hierarchical relation. In questioning this hierarchy, the paper explores the historical relationships between colonial and subaltern knowledge traditions in university curricula and analyses current strategies to create institutional spaces for historically excluded knowledges to re-emerge. The empirical cases are located in selected faculties in two South African universities.

Decolonisation and internationalization as the task of our age in South African higher education

Dr Kehdinga George Fomunyam, Prof Sibusiso Moyo

In most if not all nations of the world today, higher education is geared towards citizenry enhancement, improved economy, social transformation and nation building. While these are contextual issues, with their nature varying from nation to nation, globalization and internationalization are increasing becoming the norm for academic institutions. Curriculum design is more and more being tailored to address international issues, thereby easing labour movement, knowledge transfer and cultural exchange. The drive to meet such international standards or following such pathways has created a void in several institutions leading to the increased calls for decolonisation and especially decolonisation of the curriculum. In places like South Africa and the United states some universities in the drive to scale new heights in world university rankings have failed to address several contextual issues within their community. Internationalizing the curriculum and meeting global imperatives, while at the same time decolonizing it are challenges which most institutions are grappling with. This paper is an attempt to theorise a path for curriculum theorizing in higher education which contextually decolonizes and conforms to the internationalization agenda. It employs the theory of social transformation as a platform for curriculum design and implementation in higher education, which goes beyond the redress of contextual challenges and tackles issues of decolonisation and internationalization.

Mathematical literacy: Benefits and challenges of an across the curriculum approach

Anne Bennison

Mathematical literacy or numeracy is widely recognised as important for individuals and countries in an increasingly globalised world. Schools have a significant role to play in providing opportunities for students’ to develop their numeracy capabilities but there is debate about the best way to achieve this. Numeracy learning is currently addressed through three broad approaches: mathematics subjects, including specialised subjects such as Mathematical Literacy in South Africa; curriculum integration combining two or more subjects to varying extents; and across the curriculum approaches. The third approach has been taken in Australia where numeracy is identified as a general capability to be addressed in all school subjects. However, this approach can present challenges for teachers who, in the context of national and international testing, may see numeracy as something additional to be addressed in an already crowded curriculum. Some findings from an Australian study that sought to identify ways to support teachers to embed numeracy across the curriculum are reported on in this paper. The study was conducted through a theoretical and an empirical phase over a four-year period. A sociocultural approach, using teacher identity and Valsiner’s zone theory as the theoretical frameworks, was employed. Eight teachers from two secondary schools participated in the empirical phase of the study. Interviews and lesson observations were the primary data sources. Case studies were developed for each teacher and used to evaluate and refine the outcomes of the theoretical phase of the study. The purpose of this paper is to address the question of how attending to numeracy can enhance learning in history. Data from the study are drawn on to illustrate how numeracy can increase understanding of key historical concepts and identify challenges teachers may face in adopting an across the curriculum approach to numeracy. The findings suggest that addressing numeracy through the history curriculum has potential to help students to develop both their numeracy capabilities and a deeper understanding of history. However, teachers may need assistance in expanding their capacity to explicitly attend to numeracy. These findings support the argument that an effective way to promote numeracy learning is to enhance discipline learning by embedding numeracy into subjects across the curriculum, thus contributing to the current international debate. Further research is needed find ways to support teachers to develop the capacity to embed numeracy into the subjects they teach in ways that enhance subject learning.

Teacher educator perspectives on economics teaching: a need for transformation

Danél Kruger

“Economics as a subject might have become too difficult.” “Economics teachers lack content knowledge.”  “They are not able to bring the content across.”  These responses from economics teacher educators might be possible reasons for the decline in economics learners writing the National Senior Certificate and the pass rate of 36.4%.

Quality teachers are needed to improve learners’ results, which places the onus on institutions involved in teacher education.  Teacher educators are responsible for developing curriculum materials.  But who are these individuals and why have they chosen specific curriculum content?

Five economics teacher educators from traditional South African universities PGCE programmes, were interviewed for this study. The content of economics methodology modules in PGCE programmes was analysed to determine what economics teacher educators expect of their students.

Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse the interviews and describe the profile of economics teacher educators, discover the meaning they ascribe to their experiences, and how this has shaped their teaching of economics methodology.  Preliminary results showed that participants with more teaching experience emphasised the importance of teaching and learning, the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), and the ‘how’ of teaching.  Participants with more research experience questioned the nature of the curriculum and the lack of autonomy as a result of the prescriptive nature of CAPS.  For the majority of participants, ‘modelling’ how to teach, as well as the necessity of practical teaching experience, is necessary to effectively prepare future economics teachers for South African schools.

If we are to transform education in South Africa, the focus should not only be on institutions responsible for training future teachers but on the individuals who teach future teachers.  Only if teacher educators are well-informed with a solid research foundation on the nature of the curriculum will transformation be supported.

Using Brookfield’s lenses to investigate my teaching practices to identify effective ways of teaching initial teacher education students

Eunice Nyamupangedengu

Many Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) do not have training or induction programs that prepare academics to teach let alone to teach a diverse student body that now characterises our institutions. So as academics, how do we develop and ascertain effective teaching practices that are appropriate for teaching initial teacher education students (ITES). In this study, I examined my teaching practices as a teacher educator through the eyes of ITES with the aim of learning about teaching from their experiences. According to Brookfield (1995), engaging autobiography, students’ eyes, our colleagues’ experiences and theoretical literature as lenses in a process of critical reflection as teachers,  can provide a foundation for good teaching and a means for one to become an excellent teacher. I therefore, used these four lenses in my teaching of a six week undergraduate Bachelor of Education genetics course. The findings show that exploring ITES’ experiences of one’s teaching and critically reflecting on those experiences is an effective way of understanding teaching practices that one can engage with to promote students’ learning of content and learning about teaching. The study also identifies teaching practices that have the potential to develop ITES’ motivation to attend lectures and to cultivate their confidence and self-esteem as future teachers. These teaching practices include practicing basic pedagogical aspects such as planning, good organization, punctuality, and enthusiasm, using teaching and learning (T/L) audio-visual aids and making sure that the content that you teach is relevant to the ITES as individuals and as future teachers.

Gates in Education

Lydia-Anne Plaatjies

Presentations: 09:00 – 09:30

Curriculum as a situated and contextual practice

Sylvan Blignaut

Any curriculum is by its very nature situated as well as contextual and co-determined by place and time.  I will commence my presentation by firstly reflecting on the role that education/curriculum should be playing in a transforming society such as South Africa.  The Fees Must Fall movement by students have placed the curriculum at the centre of deliberations about transformation and decolonisation in South Africa.  Secondly, I will argue that given our history where Apartheid and separation was legally enforceable and where almost every facet of our lives were determined by race-based politics it is unavoidable to teach for social justice.  In teaching for social justice I will argue that critical pedagogy is indispensable as a vehicle to confront this racial past.  Lastly, I will argue that if we want to transform the curriculum in meaningful ways we have to adopt alternative conceptualisations of knowledge and embrace a “pluralisation of knowledge”.

Decolonising the regionalisation of higher education in Africa

Joseph Pardon Hungwe and Joseph Jinja Divala

Decolonisation of higher education in Africa is often prefixed on the historically and politically established binaries between the former Western colonisers and the African indigenous populations. In this view, decolonisation highlights and seeks to rectify the continual structural and epistemological legacies of colonialism and apartheid. It is observed that such underlying colonial legacies continue to shape and determine the values and processes of higher education in Africa. However, the dominant discourse of ‘overconcentration’ on Western structural and epistemological hegemony apparently neglects how African education systems have deliberately perpetuated and entrenched the Western hegemony in higher education regionalisation. In order to realise how African higher education has sustained colonializing itself, this conceptual article critically interrogates the patterns and systems of regionalisation as a facet of internationalisations of higher education. While regional educational protocol such as the 1997 SADC protocol on education and training, African Higher Education Summit (2015) and African Union Agenda 2063 (2014) all seek to integrate and harmonise higher in Africa, most African nations through restrictive immigration laws, universities charging exorbitant tuition fees, denial of scholarship and bursaries to African international students seem to contradict conceptualisation and rationales of regionalisation of education in Africa. Furthermore, it is the argument in this article that regionalisation approaches have failed to counter neo-nationalism, neo-racism and the promotion of colonial languages. In so doing, regionalisation of higher education has promoted and reinforced the colonial systems of exclusive nationalism and the legitimization of geographical borders through stringent study permits and renewals. Using the theoretical framework of cosmopolitanism, this article advances the argument that decolonisation of higher education should be underlined by the need to eradicate the ideals that contradict regionalisation of higher education in Africa.

Exploring the Pedagogical Value of iPads in the Teaching of Sixth Grade Mathematics

Meschac Rafiki

The use of tablet technology has become very popular in classrooms around the world. Tablet technology is touted as a revolutionary educational tool with great potential to transform teaching and learning. In the South Africa context, the government is currently undertaking a series of initiatives designed to support teaching and learning of mathematics and also to raise learners’ achievement in the subject using this technology. While there have been many studies on the use of technology in mathematics education research on the value of technology in the previously educationally and economically disadvantaged rural and township schools  is relatively limited in South Africa. This paper is based on the findings of a study that was conducted in two townships schools which are using iPads in the teaching of Sixth Grade Mathematics. Data was collected using multiple data collection methods, including lesson observations, interviews with teachers and analysis of documents such as the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), the White Paper on e-education, the School ICT policy and teachers’ lesson plans. The study sought to understand teachers’ perceptions about the pedagogical value of iPads in the teaching of sixth grade mathematics; explore how teachers’ use of iPads contributes to better mastery of mathematics concepts by learners.

Engaging Head And Heart: Towards A Model Of Economics Students’ Learning In A Threshold Concepts-Infused Tutorial Programme

Jessica Goebel, Suriamurthee Maistry

Many students find economics challenging. Disciplinary difficulty manifests internationally in high failure rates and concerns about the quality of learning in undergraduate economics. These concerns may be compounded in the South African higher education context, where academic underpreparedness among students is one of many challenges. There is a need to deepen understanding of students’ learning in economics, and of ways in which it may be facilitated, which calls for a broader framing than that inherent in the quantitative investigations which predominate in economics education research, particularly in this country.

The “threshold concepts” (TC) approach (Meyer & Land, 2003) is increasingly influential within and beyond the discipline for exploring qualitative dimensions of learning. Threshold concepts are educationally critical ideas that act as portals to progress in disciplinary thinking, and may initially be experienced as “troublesome”. Crossing conceptual thresholds requires that learners traverse a liminal phase of possible confusion and uncertainty, as their worldviews are transformed. Learning thus encompasses both cognitive and affective elements, and is entwined with learners’ social and emotional contexts. Yet affective aspects of learning economics are largely ignored in both pedagogy and enquiry.

This paper explores the processes and experiences of students’ learning in a threshold concepts-infused, peer-group discussion-centred tutorial programme that complemented a traditionally lectured Intermediate Microeconomics course at a South African university. Interactive Qualitative Analysis (IQA) (Northcutt & McCoy, 2004) was used to generate and analyze data. Focus groups, individual interviews and written reflections produced detailed representations in the participants’ voices of their learning.

We offer a graphical and conceptual representation of the experiences and processes of participants’ learning, abstracted from these descriptions. This tentative model depicts disciplinary learning as a challenging and transformative process, requiring that students engage with both head (cognition and metacognition) and heart (conation, affect and identity). In this case, the pedagogy involving peer-group learning supported both aspects. The model suggests that if the discipline as experienced aligns with students’ sense of self, learning is more likely to be experienced as meaningful, facilitating the engagement of students’ inner resources to sustain academic commitment and enhance cognitive and metacognitive development. This view of learning can open up our understanding of what it means to learn and to teach in economics, and in higher education. The paper reflects on how these findings might inform teaching approaches in supporting students’ learning journeys.

#Feesmustfall protests: a critical realist analysis of selected newspaper articles (October 2015- February 2016)

George Mavunga

Starting in October 2015 South African public universities were gripped by a wave of student demonstrations over proposed fee increases for the 2016 academic year. Dubbed the ‘ #feesmustfall protests’, the demonstrations started at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and soon spread to almost all the government-funded universities in the country. Data were gathered from articles selected from widely circulating newspapers such as The Star; Mail & Guardian; Sowetan; Sun The Citizen; City Press and Sunday Independent between October 2015 and February 2016.  Using critical realism (CR) (Bhaskar, 1978; Archer, 1996; 2000) as a tool of analysis, the paper argues that one of the major reasons for the protracted and violent nature of the protests was the differences amongst the different role players in terms of means of expression of their agency as they tried to resolve the problem. The paper contends that a collaborative approach to the solution of student protests would have been more helpful to the attempts to resolve the problem. Such an approach would be characterized more by an inclusive and non-violent search for solutions as opposed to one foregrounding a show of power by different structures as is evident in most of the selected articles. This would perhaps have largely helped to avert the physical and reputational damage as well as the financial and time loss suffered by the higher education sector as a consequence of the #Feesmustfall protests.

Education for public good in the age of coloniality: implications for pedagogy

Emmanuel Mgqwashu

A critical review of the theoretical foundations of the concept ‘education for public good’ reveals its limitations and inadequacies, particularly in postcolonial and/or post-conflict societies like South Africa. Engagement with this concept from the humanistic perspective reveals the extent to which democratic governments uncritical embrace of this concept often leads them to struggle to undo the negative educational effects of past legislated oppression and discrimination.  The paper argues that part of the reason for this is the fact that the concepts’ definition is mathematically formalised and, if embraced uncritically, can turn education into a commodity available to those who can afford.  Coloniality is drawn upon to interrogate the historical links and conceptual affinities between colonialism, post-colonialism, liberal democracy, free market, neoliberalism, and today, globalisation. The globalisation rhetoric, the paper concludes, has sold the concept of ‘education for public good’ in ways that have perpetuated the asymmetrical pedagogic approaches that reproduce a social order the modern world is predicated upon.

Presentations: 09:30 – 10:00

Epistemological diversification through a relational conceptualization of knowledge-making

Louis Botha

As Linda Tuhiwai-Smith (1999) reminds us, colonialism is not just about economic or political processes, it is an endeavor that is fueled by an imperial imagination and spirit that constructed the world in particular ways. The way in which this imagination currently infiltrates  the educational arena is evident in the way in which hegemonic global educational programmes, policies and pedagogies presumptuously place themselves at the centre of educational activities, purporting to know the why, how and when of everyone’s education. The way in which it does this through slogan, models and discourses has been made evident from a variety of perspectives.

For the purposes of this paper, I will adopt Biesta’s contention that we are losing sight of the purposes of education as a value-laden activity, and may therefore be (inadvertently) promoting a notion of education that denies its political and relational nature. This conception of education which Biesta terms “learnification” is advanced through the “new language of learning” which represents educational activities in terms of an economic transaction with education as a commodity to be be transacted between learners as consumers and teachers and educational institutions as the providers (Biesta2006).

This paper proposes a counterhegemonic model of knowledge-making that is primarily relational in nature. Such an epistemological project would deliberately draw from the principles of indigenous knowledges to place emphasis upon the role of the relationships between actors, artifacts and spaces in the construction of knowledge. This relational model of knowledge-making would establish and nurture connections between individuals, communities, abstract and concrete tools, and so forth, that make up knowledge producing communities. By shaping these relationships an agenda of epistemological diversification can be systematically pursued.

Growth, ownership and response: In the decolonization of governance of the university

Felix Omal, Michael Cross

This paper examines the compositional nature of stakeholder governed university councils in the former historically black South African universities and what it means for the decolonization of the university in the post 1994 higher education era. This is based on the conjecture that shifting the configuration of the university councils is equal to what is understood as the transformation within this field. But with the 2015 resurgence of university student protests these stakeholder university organizations have been caught in a dilemma of acceptability. This paper argues that the instrumentality for the transformation and eventual decolonization of the university, the state policy of cooperative governance was not properly implemented within these institutions. Instead as reflected in the kinds of the make-up of the university councils, it engrained competing and unresolved stakeholder ideologies and interests that frustrated and still continues to not to provide the much needed governance to address the real drive for a decolonized university in the positions of growth, ownership and response. As such the processes of decolonized governance spaces needs to start with revisiting the concept of composition to unlock the destiny and blocked fortunes of the university within such institutional terrains. The paper relied on the concept of micro-politics developed from a multi-theoretical approach to provide an understanding of stakeholder university governance as opportunities for improvement. The data for this paper was collected from institutional documents and interviews. The paper ends with a proposition of stakeholder governance practices at the level of the university councils of what the university within the former historically disadvantaged university contexts must decolonize as key indicators for sustainable governance.

Teacher career governance and educational change: Perspectives from research

Prof Yusuf Sayed, Tarryn de Kock

The organisation and management of teacher careers is an important aspect in ensuring equitable and quality education delivery, but remains undersubscribed as an area of research in South Africa. The existence of opportunities for remuneration, promotion and rewards for good performance has the potential to motivate better performance in the teaching corps. Conversely, a negative view of the teacher career and its growth opportunities can stifle and frustrate teachers within the system as well as deter potential teachers from entering the profession. This paper draws on data gathered as part of a study on teacher career governance by the UN International Institute for Education Planning, conducted in South Africa by the Centre for International Teacher Education. Through a detailed analysis of the policies framing the teacher career, as well as an analysis of perspectives from teachers, union representatives and government officials, it will highlight how central the teacher career is to the improvement of education outcomes. It will further argue that this element of the South African education system can offer important insights into the factors that influence teacher retention and motivation, with critical effects for teacher performance and learner attainment. The recommendations of participants are also reflected on with the view to stimulating dialogue on avenues for change within the current teaching career model.

The Challenges In The Teaching And Learning Of Accounting In Secondary Schools

Joyce Phikisile Dhlamini

The aim of this article was to investigate various challenges in which the School Management Teams (SMTs) and Accounting teachers are facing in the teaching and learning of accounting subject in secondary schools. The aim was addressed by conducting the relevant literature survey and undertaking an empirical investigation. A qualitative approach which was modelled on the case study research design was used to find out how the ways of teaching and learning of Accounting are managed in schools. The study used interviews and observations to collect data. Two secondary schools were purposively selected in Mafikeng area of the North West Province. The study recommends that training, support, and action plan approaches should be used by the SMTs, Accounting teachers and DoE officials to manage the teaching and learning of Accounting in secondary schools. The study concludes that there are various challenges facing teachers as well as learners in Accounting subject. Therefore it remains the responsibilities of the teachers and SMT to manage the teaching and learning of Accounting in secondary schools.

A heterotopology of South Africa’s RMF and FMF movements, with reference to Foucault and Mbembe

Dr Belinda du Plooy

Heterotopology is a term Michel Foucault suggests in his 1967 lecture Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias, first translated and released into the public domain in 1984. Foucault’s idea of heterotopia has been widely applied, most often in discussions of geopolitics and design. This paper argues that contemporary higher education (HE) is a heterotopically discursive site and provides a brief, broad Foucaultian heterotopology of the contemporary HE landscape, with specific reference to the South African context and recent events during 2015 and 2016 around the #RhodesMustFall (RMF) and #FeesMustFall (FMF) student protest movements. It specifically focuses on Foucault’s three types of heterotopia (crisis, deviation and compensation) and his six principles of heterotopia. Despite the apparent bleakness of the HE context today, globally and in South Africa specifically, one must point out that Foucault’s concept of heterotopia is not equal to the idea of dystopia (a place of despair, hopelessness and pessimism). Heterotopia are spaces of potentiality, thus also potentially productive power, change and transcendence. In addition to Foucault’s ideas on heterotopia, this article also draws on the thoughts of Achille Mbembe on decolonizing knowledge (specifically his 2015 WISER lecture and open public conversations with the RMF student movement at UCT). Mbembe defines his view of decolonization as “a more equal rearrangement of spacial relations“, “the creation of new forms of life that could be characterised as fully human”, which includes the “double character” of closing that which is no longer necessary and opening up for the future.  All of this he sees as “a time of [shared] responsibility”, for students, on whom the onus rests, for HE institutions to transform the classroom and curriculum, for the state to invest in HE and for humanity to participate in the planetary project which at its core recognises that “our [individual, specific] struggles are not particular struggles; they are expressions of a struggle on behalf of entire humanity” (RMF in Conversation with Achille Mbembe Part One and Part Two,


Teaching and Learning and the Centrality of African Learners

Oscar Koopman

While Western science is regarded as more superior to indigenous science, it continues to marginalise many African learners in the teaching and learning of Physical Science.  Given the obsession with ‘what knowledge’ and ‘whose knowledge’ is of most worth to the learner population in South Africa, this article is a conceptual investigation into the question: What teaching strategies can science teachers use to critically engage their learners by giving due recognition to both Western and indigenous knowledge in order to resolve the tension between these two competing/complementary bodies of knowledge? Drawing on the scholarly work of Merleau-Ponty’s (1962) lived body theory, Aikenhead’s (1996) border crossing theory and Jegede’s (1999) collateral learning theory, this study offers suggestions on how teachers can teach Physical Science by giving due recognition to both Western and indigenous knowledge. These suggestions offer a way to overcome the pedagogical challenge facing science teachers in post apartheid South Africa. This is done to strengthen the effectiveness of science teaching given the appeal of African scholars over the last fifty years and, more recently, university students’ outcry through protest action for the decolonisation of the curriculum.


Panel discussions: 10:15 – 11:45


Is sociology of education pluralised or polarised? Reflecting on debates about education and social justice in South Africa

Stephanie Allais, Yael Shalem, Jeanne Gamble, Relebohile Moletsane

This panel will explore an overview of the field of educational research in South Africa today, from the perspective of the relationship between education and social justice. This is an unconventional panel: It offers a position paper to be critiqued and responded to by five panellists. The paper will be prepared by Stephanie Allais and Yael Shalem, Centre for Researching Education and Labour, Wits University. Responses to the paper will be made by five South African educationalists. Four are eminent educational researchers whose work focuses on different aspects of our education system: Aslam Fataar is a professor in sociology of education, with research interests in education in the urban context education Policy, and education and Social Subjectivities. Relebohile Moletsane is a professor and JL Dube Chair in Rural Education. Her areas of expertise include rural education and development, gender and education, and girlhood studies. Jeanne Gamble is an expert on the formal relation between knowledge and practice in curriculum, with particular emphasis on the forms taken by this curricular combination in vocational and professional education. Michael Anthony Samuel is a professor of education, with a research focus on teacher professional development, higher education, life history, and narrative inquiry. The fifth is a PhD student, Ms Lerato Posholi, who will contribute to this discussion by looking at how the call for decolonisation imagines the curriculum as a social equaliser.

The paper prepared by Allais and Shalem derives from a small colloquium convened in Johannesburg on the 8-9 of June 2017 with the aim of bringing South African education researchers in the field of sociology of Education to engage in an open conversation about the role of education in achieving social justice. The colloquium was framed around the question of ‘what education can/can’t do to achieve social justice’.

The rationale for this was that in South Africa, our education system is widely agreed to be in crisis. There is a large agreement that it is not performing to the good of all. But there is considerable disagreement in the research community both in terms of analyzing the problems and in terms of priorities. It is not even clear what the contours of the field today. A cursory literature review of educational research produced in South Africa over the past five years, through an analysis of all abstracts from all South African education journals, provides very little order. Some of the categories which emerged were: social context and rurality; social identity; curriculum relevance; critical pedagogy; critical literacy; experiential learning; teacher knowledge; curriculum knowledge; skill training; education, society, economy; management and leadership.

Allais and Shalem suggest that the possibility of agreement on the claim that our education system is in crisis (even if not all voices point to one single dimension of the crisis) suggests that theorists recognise the phenomenon of poor educational performance in similar enough ways. Further, they postulate that there is likely to be some kind of fundamental order behind the various topics of interests which can be seen in the research field in contemporary South Africa. And they believe that it brings out both what is held to be the ‘goods’ of education, and how education is thought to be constrained by society. And, precisely because of the extent of the crisis in South African education—it must be desirable for educational researchers to be clearer about which disagreements are fundamental and which are not. If the field is structured by many ordering logics with no relationship to each other, then agreement or disagreement stop to matter. Finally, as teachers, if we want to explain our field to students, we need some kind of overview—some notion of how different positions relate to each other.

The discussion during the colloquium was summed up in the second day under 2 sets of claims, which they, as organisers of the curriculum, framed under two main concepts. The claims were discussed and refined by participants as follows:


  • Education aims to help learners acquire systematic, coherent, generative, and generalizable knowledge.
  • Systematic, coherent, generalizable, and generative bodies of knowledge need to be expanded by giving more voice to people who are disempowered in society.
  • Knowledge in education can only be produced if ambivalences, ambiguities, and contradictions are foregrounded.
  • Power relations constitute the production of knowledge and reproduce inequalities. The biggest problem is which kind of knowledge is privileged. Therefore, education must produce and teach knowledge in ways which critically read and engage with those power relations.

Education, economy and society

  • Education is key because it gives people the knowledge and skills needed to access the labour market and life opportunities. Inequality in education drives inequality in society. The scholarly field of education is neglecting particular areas that are central to education, such as teaching reading and numeracy. These should be our focus
  • Education is key if it gives people the tools to change the social and economic order. Inequality in society drives inequality in education. Our focus should be on the social and cultural aspects that shape learning and teaching today.
  • Education is meant to play critical deliberative role in developing among people the capacity for democratic living in complex plural contexts
  • Whose agenda of “development” or “social justice” are we supporting? Are we complicit in our own oppression?
  • The marketization of education exacerbates social inequalities.
  • Marketization extends access to quality education where the state has failed to provide or because the state will inherently fail to provide.

Subsequent to the colloquium, Allais and Shalem reflected on the above sets of claims and put forward a position paper, which they propose to be debated, expanded, refuted, or refined by the panellists. The aim is not to reach agreement on education and social justice in South Africa, but rather to attempt to clarify what the main positions in the research field are today. The first claim made by the position paper (based on the analysis of the above two sets of claims) is that the question ‘what education can/can’t do to achieve social justice’ offers an ordering logic to the field of sociology of education and shows that behind the proliferation of areas of interests is a polarity of positions.

Position a Education is the great equalizer: Education is essential in eliminating poverty and reducing inequality; it forms one of the key foundations of an equal society.

Position b Education is a reproducer of inequalities: that as long as the structures of society remain unequal, education cannot compensate. Eradication of poverty (and other forms of social injustices) is a condition for education.

The paper explores and qualifies these positions, and makes a second claim: that most researchers seem to position themselves somewhere within a position that agrees that education can and must add value to society (Position c). The polarity does not disappear, however. It is about what adding value entails, which, they suggest, gives rise to the following key positions:

Position c1 back to core business, and  position c2 conscientization.

The third claim put forward in the paper is that the debate on the question what education can/can’t do to achieve social justice’ looks like this:

  1. Education is the great equalizer vs             b. Education is a reproducer of inequalities
  2. Education must add value to society

C1 back to core business
C2 conscientization

The panel will debate the following questions:

  1. Does the above classification of positions represent the debate in SA about the role of education in promoting social justice?
  2. If yes, to what extent C1 and C2 are fundamentally in disagreement?
  3. If no, what are the fundamental disagreements regarding the role of education in promoting social justice?
  4. In what ways can this kind of structuring work support knowledge building in the field of sociology of education?
Venue 1 BS

Research Capacity Development Workshop

Visual Methodology Research

Mathabo Khau


Presentations: 10:15 – 10:45

Transposing knowledge as a public good in the 21st century African university

Amasa P. Ndofirepi

In this theoretical paper I analyse the framework of public goods to knowledge produced and disseminated in the African university. Staring from the characteristics of public goods as being non-rival in consumption and in the long run non excludable, I argue that the estimation of  the private and social profits on higher education is crucial in resolving the question of whether higher education is a public good and therefore a public responsibility. I make a case against the invasion of African higher education by western-centric neoliberalisation and the accompanying globalisation agenda and its negative returns for profit through the commodification and merchantalisation of knowledge in the African university. It is my case that leadership in Africa has a critical role of advancing the transposition of  the knowledge project of in the university in order to return to its original function of serving the social good to uplift Africa from its sorry state of disadvantage. I provide theoretical evidence of how advantaged economies , through transnational conglomerates  and financial giants have entered the politics of knowledge in African universities much to the  demise of the social good of knowledge to serve Africa challenges and priorities.

Towards a better understanding of the role of higher education in society and the economy

Palesa Molebatsi

The Fees Must Fall protests across South African universities have been an urgent reminder that we cannot take for granted that the university’s three missions – teaching, research and community engagement – should make a meaningful contribution towards development and social inclusion. Although there is much literature that argues that universities should and do contribute to national development (Bacon in Kerr, 1963), not enough has been written to show how the university contributes to development and the extent to which it does so. Understanding how the university makes its contribution and the extent thereof requires strong conceptual tools that can elucidate this relationship. The under-theorisation of the relevant concepts required to elucidate the relationship, however, leaves gaps in our understanding of precisely what higher education does for society and economy. This paper considers two critical concepts that seem under-theorised for developing country contexts: the ‘Public Good’ and the ‘Developmental University’- both of which appear useful for better understanding of the nature and extent of the impact. I argue that these two concepts need to be defined and clarified in order to achieve this. This paper is therefore a conceptual investigation which aims to contribute to the strengthening of tools which can help us better articulate what higher education does for society and the economy.

Arts Education: Exploring Dialogical Artistic Practice in the City of Johannesburg

Puleng Plessie

This research explores teaching through dialogue in order to understand pedagogy in arts education. This form of pedagogy is understood to allow for both the learner and educator to participate by exchanging experiences without the one being more superior to the other (Freire 1968, p. 169). In this thesis I use the Zulu term Inkulumo-Mpendulwano, which, rudimentarily, means dialogue. Broken down, Inkulumo means to talk or to have a conversation and Mpendulwano means to respond.

However, I also use the term Ukufundisa, which means “to teach” but also “to instruct” and “to school” which is an authoritarian way of teaching. What is emphasised in this research is not only the potentiality of Inkulumo-Mpendulwano interactions which can be adapted in the classroom as well as curated spaces, but by introducing different terminologies I attempt to reimagine the language and practices associated with arts education.

This further engages with the possibility of changes in terminology and vocabularies, how the written and spoken is understood differently, and how visual and spatial modes become central to changing the learner/teacher dynamic. This research analyses two cases of teaching through dialogue and creative programming with school learners.

The first is a case study of Keleketla! Library and the second is a participatory action research approach where I work as an artist-educator for the practical component of this research entitled Artucation Programme. The outcome of this research is a written dissertation and a creative project that investigates Inkulumo-Mpendulwano interactions in arts education.

Challenges Faced By Internal Auditing Students At National Diploma Level: A Case A Rural University In The Eastern Cape Of South Africa

Mavenyengwa Taruvinga, Marongwe Newlin

The studying of Internal auditing by students who are doing National diploma in Internal Auditing and National Diploma in Financial Information systems recently faced numerous issues and challenges due to the rapidly changing economic, regulatory, social, technological and global environment.  Internal Auditing graduates are no longer only expected to have the technical internal auditing skills but also to be competent in a wide range of non-technical and generic skills to find meaningful employment and be competent in the job market. The recent corporate scandals which gave birth to corporate governance codes, advancement in technology, globalisation, and changes in International Professional Practice Framework (IPPF) means that universities should also align their internal auditing curriculum to the changes in the internal auditing profession if they are to produce marketable graduates.  To this effect this poses some challenges to already challenged internal auditing students.  The paper reviewed current literature in internal auditing education to provide an update on the challenges faced by internal auditing students with the aim of providing solutions to these challenges. The study adopted a mixed method approach of quantitative and qualitative focussing on students studying Internal auditing at diploma level at one rural university in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. A stratified random sample of 300 students and purposively selected 5 lecturers from the various campuses within the university participated in the study. Data was gathered through questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, focus group interviews and observations. A pilot study was done to ensure the validity of the instruments used in this study. Quantitative data were analysed and presented using descriptive statistics and qualitative data used content analysis method and verbatim quotations of the participants without alterations.  For qualitative and quantitative data, thick descriptions and descriptive statistics were used respectively. Results were presented from the point of view of the participants. The paper showed that students lack the understanding of the various elements of the curriculum. It also revealed that the quantity of the material which needs to be learnt was too much. The paper recommended among other things that the need for curriculum development, teaching development and student development.

Refining Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Institutions: Can a Solution be Found Using Information and Communication Technology gadgets?

Newlin Marongwe, Grasia Chisango, Nomxolisi Mtsi, Thembisile, Elvis Matyedi

This paper examines whether a solution can be found to improve teaching and learning in higher education by using information and communication technology (ICT) gadgets in the lecture halls. This follows a widespread adoption of teaching and learning using different ICTs by institutions of higher learning in South Africa. Teaching and learning become more effective, meaningful and relevant when they are compatible with, matching and addressing global needs. It appears that use of ICTs has dominated but is receiving mixed comments from the global village, academics and students. It is argued by different scholars that effective adoption of ICTs in learning environments is fundamental in stimulating, empowering and developing students to be independent and subsequently leads to quality education. The paper adopted a pragmatic position of blending qualitative and quantitative approaches. The survey design was used in the study. Convenient, purposive and accidental sampling techniques were used to select the universities and participants used in the study respectively. Both interviews and questionnaires were utilised in data gathering from academics and students. Data were presented and analysed using descriptive statistical techniques for quantitative and for qualitative through verbatim and content analysis. The study found that when ICTs are used responsibly, the quality of education improves and students do not depend more on lecturers. The paper concludes that ICT gadgets have the power to kindle interest in students if properly monitored to produce quality results. The paper recommends training of both lecturers and students on how to use meaningfully the ICT gadgets for study purposes as a solution to address quality concerns surrounding higher education.

“The technological vehicle is unidirectional”: Considerations for indigenous knowledge systems in TPACK framework

Mishack T Gumbo

This paper contributes an extended version of TPACK (Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge), which integrates indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) for teaching and learning. The paper argues that the current TPACK lacks IKS integration. The current overemphasis of computer integrated education cannot afford to marginalise IKS for that further propagates neo-colonialism. In developing contexts such as South Africa a modified TPACK framework is needed which will ensure the integration of IKS. Thus, this paper promises to offer such modified framework. Unisa and other universities are currently re-curriculating and curriculating to some extent. In doing that they are needed to integrate IKS as a way to respond to the transformation agenda which targets curriculum, teaching and learning. The framework will help direct the delivery of such transformed curriculum through the suitable technological framework.

Presentations: 10:45 – 11:15

Two Sides of the Same Coin? – The Decolonization and Transformation of Education in South Africa

Dr Tarsisio Nyatsanza

The policies and practices of colonial education in South Africa were premised on propping up white supremacy and privileges on the one hand and had limited opportunities for the Asians, coloureds and blacks Africans on the other hand .1994 marked a policy shift from the colonial to the post-colonial. Within education, this shift entailed the decolonisation and transformation of the system.  Decolonisation and transformation are two sides of the same coin in so far as one cannot occur without the other. However, the legacy of colonization has continued to militate against the effective implementation of both of them in South Africa.

Using the postcolonial theory as a heuristic lens, I will interrogate how the complex discourses of the multi-layered strands of decolonization and transformation in South Africa impact on its education system. This article will present three separate but interrelated points. Firstly, decolonising education in South Africa is a necessary precursor to transformation. Secondly, the decolonisation of education in South Africa is not only a political process that challenges inequalities, but it is also the benchmark for adopting democratic values and practices across its institutions.

Thirdly, while the decolonisation and transformation of education are indeed two sides of the same coin, they are both complementary and coterminous discursive processes. They are interdependent in that one cannot happen without the other. Decolonisation and transformation effectively challenge the racial and class hegemonies that thrive on the construction of otherness in education and beyond.

Through disrupting the status quo, this article will highlight some of the complex ways in which colonialization still persists in certain educational spaces. I will therefore argue for more inclusive, sustainable and emancipatory education policies and practices that are cognisant of South Africa’s unique history.

Teaching and learning in the PGDHE programme at the VUT: Why and how do we de-colonise and transform a post graduate curriculum?

Chemunondirwa Christopher Chitumwa, Kholeka Constance, Moloi Kuzvinetsa, Peter Dzwimbo

In this paper, we explore the essence and urgency to de-colonise curriculum and how it can be realised in the PGDHE programme at VUT. Methodologically, this is an auto-ethnographic study in which we engage with the discourse practices of a de-colonial epistemic in curriculum reform in a higher education institution. For Connell (2016) de-colonistation encompasses three important issues, namely, indigenous knowledge systems, alternative universalism and Southern theory. Ours is an ongoing epistemic de-colonial project in which we confront epistemologies rooted in paradigms from the global north so as to locate the origin of knowledge in the African and South African experiences. Connell (2016) suggests that, indigenous knowledge, is the locally-based knowledge created before colonisation, which in most parts of the world continued to exist, in an increasingly marginalised position, while the global economy of knowledge was built. He posits that alternative universalisms, are knowledge systems intended to have general and not just local application, whose logic and authority do not derive from the Eurocentric knowledge economy. Lastly, Southern theory, he suggests, consists of the frameworks of knowledge generated in the colonial encounter itself, and from the experience of colonial and post-colonial societies.

The researchers have been following on-going debates on the de-colonisation of the curriculum in South African higher education and have wondered how and why in the context of their teaching and learning processes they could engender the ideals of a de-colonised curriculum given their specific context. Within the PGDHE, our pedagogical discourse practices are rooted in a social and radical constructivist paradigm that centres an inclusive agenda for transformative teaching and learning as ideology critique. Heleta (2016) holds that curriculum de-colonisation is part of a broader concept of decolonisation process that seeks to disempower white dominance and Eurocentric privilege and to change racist, oppressive epistemological and knowledge systems.Thus, Kamanzi (2016), indicates that the role and necessity of curriculum change in the de-colonising project of the university is one example of society-wide systemic change that exists as the subtext of such a process. Transformative learning and curriculum reform if viewed from this perspective provides an appropriate educational framework within which to interrogate the current curriculum and accentuate a de-colonial epistemic. What is the meaning of de-colonization of knowledge and the curriculum? How is this knowledge produced, stored, disseminated and by whom? In which language should the de-colonised knowledge and curriculum be produced, stored and facilitated?

Capitalizing on movement and dance to teach science concepts

Thandiwe Sekhibane, Michael Cross

Science for long has been isolated from the field of Humanities. There is evidence of this in the way in which departments are designed both in school and university level. This paper advocates for the amalgamation of science and arts to create a new teaching methodology that can enhance and develop science teaching and learning. The paper argues that while there are growing efforts to improve the teaching of science in South Africa, the type of interventions and strategies used remain inadequate. Learners are under-prioritized and their need for inclusion is not met. This is due to the continuous use of traditional classroom settings and traditional teaching methodologies which result in disinterest in learners in the subject. Learners are naturally creative and energetic; however, both this creativity and energy are not considered when curriculum reforms are implemented. The paper addresses this challenge through a call for the body and mind dualism. Where not only learners are expected to think science but are also encouraged to do science with their bodies. The use of the body is the key dimension of this teaching methodology. The paper provides teachers and teacher educators an alternative that may add value to their existing wealth of knowledge of how children learn and develop. Making use of the body and mind dualism enhances teaching and learning because teachers use their learners’ creativity, imagination and energy to help them learn.

Is Accounting Module a Challenge for Local Government Finance First Year Students at a Developmental Comprehensive University?

Alice Nomazwe Mini, Thobela Ncetezo, Bongiwe Vuyiseka Nonkwelo

The purpose of the study is to investigate the challenges that could be the cause for poor performance in accounting which is one of the modules in Local Government Finance. The focus is on first year students as this was the first batch in the newly introduced programme. The interest was prompted by an observation that out of all the subjects they had registered for, accounting module was the one that (signalled) showed that there could be a challenge. It will further to establish whether the actual cause of the problem is lack of solid foundation in accounting or is a result of a different approach used at university. The study will therefore target first year entering students of 2015 and 2016 in the LGF programme. The rationale is to sensitise the University of the need to interrogate effectiveness of the student support policy and to look at the calibre of PALLs and tutors in the student support programme. A pragmatic approach to the study will be used.   A random sample will be drawn from the 100 students who, in the respective years, registered for LGF with the purpose of establishing their pass rate and failure rate with a view of unearthing the cause of such performance. A survey will be conducted on 25 students from each year using questionnaires, and a lecturer, and an academic counsellor will be interviewed. Data will also be collected from previous students’ application forms, admission records and semester examinations results. Quantitative data will be analysed using SPSS and presented through a blend of both descriptive and inferential statistics. Thematic frames will be used for qualitative data and presented verbatim and thick descriptions will be used. It is anticipated that results will show short comings in the selection process and whether there is sufficient support to assist the students improve their performance.

e-Learning: Forward, Upwards, Downwards, Sideways, Backwards & Reimagine – Utilising a layered theoretical approach as mapping tool for innovation preparation, implementation and reflection

Andre’ du Plessis

The blending of the two polar opposite theses (Indigenization and Standardization) in the Ethiopian Education and Training Policy: A Critical Inquiry

Dr. Yishak Degefu Mushere

The quality and relevance of an education system and curricula can be ensured when the latter are anchored on the socio-cultural and structural context of the learners. The main purpose of this study was to critically analyze the effect of blending the two polar opposite theses, that is, Standardization and Indigenization, in the development and delivery of context-responsive education system and curricula which are relevant to the socio-cultural and structural context of the various ethnic groups inhabiting Ethiopian. The study employed qualitative case study approach and design to investigate the problem. Findings of the study unveiled that the Ethiopian Education and Training Policy and strategies have made a prescription for the blending of the two unequal theses of Indigenization and Standardization. This move is counterproductive in that it leads the marginalized Ethiopian Indigenous Knowledges to further marginalization and consequent extinction. An attempt to uncritically blend the two theses is just like trying to mix water and oil, which have different texture. Finally, based on the findings, it is recommended that indigenization approach should be given precedence in order to compensate the long overdue of producing principles and theories which are grounded on our local sociocultural and structural context. Then after we can extract important Western theories and principles which can be adapted to serve our context using the intercultural dialogue approach based on equal terms.

Presentations: 11:15 – 11:45

“The centre cannot hold”: Some thoughts on decolonizing department, disciplines and curricula in South African higher education

Adam Cooper, Tarryn de Kock, Sarah Chiumbu, Nonkululeko Mabaso

In this paper we use three case studies from the African continent to try to unpack some of the issues facing South African institutions of higher education, as we think through what it may mean to “decolonize” departments, disciplines and curricula, in our context. The case studies include 1) “the Nairobi revolution” initiated by Ngugi wa Thiongo and colleagues, 2) debates around what African philosophy consists of- informed by Oruka’s four trends in African philosophy and 3) Ali Mazrui’s paper that explores what it would mean to Africanise universities.

Like recent decolonial thinking from Latin America, Ngugi et al challenged the geo-political situatedness of knowledge production and reproduction, demanding that a new pedagogical and epistemological ecology be erected. They proposed that such an undertaking should start from the inside out, ie first Kenya, then East Africa, Africa, the global South and world literatures. Their argument hinged on a belief that knowledge of self and one’s environment was pivotal for “absorbing the world”. The Nairobi group has subsequently been criticized for inciting the very forms of nationalism they sought to overcome, through using literature to inculcate nationalist ideologies. Despite this critique we argue that Ngugi et al’s project was not only about decolonization as Africanisation; it aspired to reconstruct relevant curricula, through alterations in geo-political locatedness, whilst retaining links to Europe and other contexts.

While the “Nairobi revolution” speaks directly to decolonizing curricula, debates on what constitutes African philosophy illuminate how academic disciplinarity is indirectly but inextricably linked to curriculum formation. Attempts to excavate ‘authentic’ African philosophies have been criticized as “ethno-philosophy”, the study of culture rather than philosophical issues. These kinds of philosophical projects have been denounced as denying Africans access to the full richness of world philosophies through parochial fixations. Others, like Hountondji, have tried to endogenise (his term that attempts to avoid the pitfalls of “indigeneity” as static) knowledge, to reinterpret cultural practices, artefacts and wisdom through present. Similarly, Lewis Gordon’s excellent genealogy of Africana philosophy demonstrates the impossibility of doing Africana philosophy without a historical roadmap that shows how Africa was ‘created’ philosophically through European mercantile exploitation. Decolonising curricula therefore demands thorough exploration of how the objects and domains of knowledge are historically constituted, the dangers of post-hoc epistemological excavation and the necessity of inter-disciplinary inquiry in sites in the global South.

Finally, Ali Mazrui’s institution wide suggestions for Africanising universities draws on experiences in Asia and Latin America, highlighting the role of language, culture and national identity in producing fertile institutions of higher learning. These case studies underline what Edward Said (1991), speaking at the dawn of the South African democracy forewarned many years ago: that peoples emerging from centuries of oppression need to have their cultural, linguistic and epistemological heritages validated, but that this is only the first step towards placing these in dialogue with treasures of knowledge and practice from elsewhere.

Thinking with objects: Teaching, learning, research and engagement in higher education

Prof. Daisy Pillay, Prof. Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan & Dr Inbanathan Naicker

Apart from their practical functions, objects are useful tools to think with. This paper makes visible how everyday objects can serve as conduits for thinking about teaching, learning, research and engagement in higher education. In this paper, we make visible our process of using the literary arts-based method of collective poetic inquiry to bring into dialogue object narratives written by academics working across diverse disciplines and higher education institutions in South Africa, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Our poetic inquiry illuminates how the multifocal study of objects can offer educational researchers diverse languages for thinking of, with, and about objects. Generating object narratives that simultaneously occupy the past, present and future enables a better understanding of the complex relationships between objects and subjects – both living and non-living. Thinking with objects deepens scholarly conversations about what counts as data and analysis in educational research to consider the interpretive possibilities of objects, situated within wide-ranging societal questions. It illuminates the potential of objects in generating sociocultural, historical and autobiographical interpretative portrayals of lived educational experience.

Objects can serve as entry points for the recalling and telling of stories, which can provide valuable information about lived experiences. The object itself, however, has no voice. It is the human agent in dialogue with the object that generates voice. It is this voice that can help us construct and deconstruct our values, beliefs and experiences when working with objects. Thus, the paper positions object inquiry as a critical and transformative approach to research and practice in higher education.

The potential of dance education to promote social cohesion in a post-conflict society: Perspectives of South African pre-service student teachers

Marelize Marx

This study constitutes a theoretical and qualitative investigation into the meanings and locations of social cohesion in dance education.  Theoretical connections between culture, dance education and social cohesion are explored.  The empirical investigation is designed as a qualitative case study interrogating pre-service student teachers’ experiences and perceptions of a particular dance education course in a culturally and politically diverse university classroom in post-apartheid South Africa.  Open-ended questionnaires, reflective journals and focus group interviews were employed to generate data.  Findings indicate that involvement in creative movement and ethno-cultural dances raised awareness of the Self and the Other, engendering perspective and personal transformation, important requisites for social transformation and subsequently social cohesion in a formerly divided society, such as South Africa.  In addition, these dance education experiences provided participants with unique encounters with the Other’s culture.  These occurred through embodied experiences of the culture of the Other, as well as through bodily negotiations with the Other.  These findings lead me to argue that dance education, as pertaining to this particular course, can facilitate spaces conducive to cohesion amongst culturally and politically diverse participants in post-apartheid South Africa.

Pre-entry Characteristics as One of the Factors Influencing Success for Accounting Students from Disadvantaged Communities

Mabel Mashologu

Most universities that are servicing students from previously disadvantaged communities are concerned about their throughput and graduation rates. Several studies indicate that there is no compulsory benchmarking of the exit points, according to phases, to establish the preparedness of learners for higher education studies, apart from standardization of Matric examination by Umalusi. Subsequently, most first year students have difficulty to adapt to the university standards as they find themselves devoid of indispensable bases for the pursuit of their studies and because of the weakness of the level of education given at school in a number of instances. Studies have also indicated that learners from disadvantaged communities have lower levels of literacy, numeracy and comprehension which results in inadequate preparation for their higher education experiences. This paper reports on how the Accounting teachers in schools are capacitated to prepare accounting learners for higher education studies by calling for a study of senior primary and high school teachers’ qualifications and development in accounting. A mixed method approach was adopted for this study and used a survey design. Purposive sampling was utilized. Questionnaires and interviews were administered to ten senior primary and ten high school teachers from two different clusters of Queenstown District. Qualitative data were presented, analysed and interpreted according to different themes, while quantitative data were presented and analysed through frequency tables and descriptive statistics. The paper, therefore considers implications for classroom practice in support of enhancing the quality of Matric Accounting learners that are to be admitted in tertiary institutions.

Beyond Optimistic Rhetoric: Social and Cultural Capital as Focal Deterrents to ICT Integration in Schools

Reuben Dlamini, Alton Dewa

The analysis presented emerged from a comprehensive study of thirty-seven schools from four provinces in the Republic of South Africa, this quantitative study investigated how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are being used in schools. Observations by researchers were qualitatively analysed in order to capture the variations in practice and present a realistic discussion not the traditional enthusiastic rhetoric centred on limited computing infrastructure. Through the ‘pedagogical discourse’ lens we make visible the role of social and cultural capital in the integration of ICT in schools. This work provides clear evidence that paying scant attention to computing infrastructure limits the conversation and possible explanations to the current state. Therefore we argue that social and cultural capital is fundamental to the current state of ICT integration. The article concludes by discussing the implications for social and cultural capital in the adoption and use of ICT in schools and the analysis of various configurations of pedagogical activities and knowledge necessary for teachers to develop.

Unako – Collectively Changing Communities

Somila Mjekula

Among the talks about decolonising and transforming education in South Africa, the topic of language plays a significant and seemingly complex character within systematic institutions of teaching, learning and discursive engagements. The usual flow of discussion that follows from the language question is the content of what is communicated through language, the origin of this material content, and why it should be ‘decolonised’? These concerns and questions usually take place in the hallways, seminar rooms, and lecture halls of universities, with the aims of transforming the teaching approaches in tertiary education. Meanwhile, there is an undeniable urgency to not only take these conversations back to the Basic Education level but to begin changing the way we understand and approach education completely. Colonial language use and Eurocentric learning content are indeed key problematics that demand attention in the uneasy process of decolonising education. Yet, beyond this, when we look at the social context of schools that some of us come from and others work in, we are immediately confronted by socioeconomic disparities, socio-political injustices and even sociocultural marginalisation. These factors from township communities do not only affect the quality of schooling but even the learner attitudes towards educational development. For this reason, revised language and updated content alone barely make an intentional impact to what a decolonial education project would mean without a cognisance and engagement with the developmental inequalities that make up the social context of many disadvantaged communities. The driving force behind this position is based on the work done by Unako Community Based Movement, an NPO that runs Literacy Clubs in primary schools and high schools in the KwaZakhele and New Brighton township areas of Port Elizabeth. Unako sees education as a social practice, and reimagines learning spaces as stimulated hubs of knowledge brought on by learners who speak back to the conditions of their social contexts. We do this by engaging in a socio-critical literacy that does not negate the value of lived experiences and the power they have in capacitating agency. I thus argue that this is the ‘missing link’ in the thinking around the decolonisation of education in South Africa.

Panel discussions: 14:00 – 15:30


School, University and Community:  Diverse education and learning sites and interfaces for engaging notions of ‘transforming’ curricula, education and learning processes

Sibongile Masuku, Crispin Dirwai, Siseko Kumalo

In this panel we foreground and juxtapose discussions of post-colonial / decolonizing of education and learning processes via a critical examination of learning and engagement processes in our research – situated in diverse educational settings of school, university, and university-community contexts. We consider the diverse contexts in which we, via our various research projects, observe the ‘the cutting edge of translation and negotiation’ (Bhabha, 1994, 1996) being centred in something of a ‘hybrid’ third space where culture meets [or could potentially better meet] curriculum.

Paper 1 (by Sibongile Masuku) focusses into the community-school interface, probing young childrens’ sophisticated knowledge and experience of cattle and paradoxical juxtaposed failure in schooling (focusing on hybrid third space interactions and stories). Paper 2 (by Crispin Dirwai) focusses into the university-community interface, probing student-lecturer-community engagements in social learning processes focusing on food security and food system innovation via probing of absence and agency-centred emergence. Paper 3 (by Siseko Kumalo) focusses into the student-society interface as students in the #FeesMustFall movement seek epistemic justice and curriculum re-orientation. All of the papers speak to the challenges of curriculum transformation; not from a ‘within’ the institution only perspective, but from a socially engaged perspective where the hybridity, paradoxes, and anomalies of the transitions and negotiations associated with re-framing curricula in African (co-) learning settings become both visible and open for examination and further investigation.

Paper 1:  Surfacing children’s socio-cultural knowledge in intergenerational learning in contexts of home/pasture and school using postcolonial theory framework

Sibongile Masuku

This paper is based on PhD research that employs a postcolonial lens to explore the role socio-cultural intergenerational learning processes play in sculpting the way boys and girls of ages 6 to 10 years, who reside in rural Mpembeni in KZN, learn to care for cattle, as a form of cultural expression. The Foundational Phase Curriculum Policy and Assessment Standards (CAPS) states that: “inclusivity should become a central part of the organization of learning, planning and teaching at each school. This can only happen if all teachers have a sound understanding of how to recognise and address barriers to learning and how to plan for diversity” (DBE 2011:5). My view is that such a learning relationship is not only a right and a process of cultural expression, but that it is also very important for young learners in their socio-ecological becoming, captured in the words of an elder as “cattle are us, and we are nothing without them”. I explore the possibility of uncovering potential hybrid third spaces within the bubbling meeting nodes of the socio-cultural context of school and home/pasture based settings of learning while tracking my own learning and growth. Mthembu (2009) points out that elders were responsible for imparting knowledge and skills to the young on all aspects on cattle and recommends that teachers, community elders and parents continue extending this teaching.  Bhabha (1994, 1996) considers the ‘cutting edge of translation and negotiation’ to be centred in a hybrid third space. According to Meredith (1998:2-3) this as ‘a form of liminal or in-between space, … This is a space intrinsically critical of essentialist positions of identity and a conceptualisation of ‘original or originary culture’. It is a place where other positions should be allowed to emerge”.

Paper 2:  Decolonising the curriculum? An opportunity to explore communal farmers’ social learning and capabilities as transformation beyond the basket case

Crispin Dirway

De-colonising the curriculum through recognising knowledges generated from community engagement, is in this case study, viewed as another way of absenting constraints that have been associated with colonial curricula. This paper is hinged on exploring absences and emergences in farmers’ social learning and capabilities in response to climate change risks and vulnerabilities in three sites in Zimbabwe, a country with high socio-economic risks. Dialectical critical realism (DCR) has been chosen as an appropriate lens to under-labour absences and emergences in farmers’ social learning and capabilities and as the general meta-theory. The main research question is, ‘What is absent and emergent in communal farmers’ social learning as adaptations and transformation to new capabilities and functionings?’ The methodology involves observations, detailed interviews and photography. The MELD schema of DCR (Bhaskar, 1998; 2016) is the analytical tool used to synthesise what emanates from farmers’ social learning and capabilities. MELD schema is a general learning process in which the layered ontology is denoted 1M, 2E absence and absenting the absence, causal powers and the conversion factors, 3E totality and 4D agency, active and reflexive engagement and transformative learning as the ultimate. One generic absence in all the three sites is ‘incomplete’ knowledge and support on markets and marketing. This was noted as a disabler embedded in socio-political and structural historical systems. To absent this, farmers have started negotiating with agro-industries for possible synergies meant to complete the production chain, leading to sustainable transformative education and practices worth noting in a de-colonised curriculum. This is an unravelling space with emerging findings from this ongoing project.

Paper 3:  The Impossibility of Separable Categories – Unearthing the Banality of Binarisms in the #MustFall movement 

Siseko H. Kumalo

Collective memory has been used impulsively in the student movement as a rallying point to garner support and solidarity for decolonised education. While there have been immense efforts which aim to promote unity, there have been clear divisions derived from Manichean thinking within the student movement.

The paper highlights how binary thinking and Manichean structures within the student movement is fashioned through misconceptions of decolonial thinking. Ill-contrived conceptions of decoloniality are envisaged in the claims which dismiss all “non-African” education as colonial. While there is a need to centre African thinking in African universities, there is a need to be cautious of inversions of power in the knowledge production process.

Using a decolonial theoretical critique, which locates the role of education as an emancipatory tool in the decolonial mission, this paper argues for the impossibility of separable categories. The notion of impossible separable categories is taken from the work of Njabulo Ndebele (1998), and is used to demonstrate the wanting critiques against this conception of decoloniality, if there is to be meaningful transformation in Higher Education South Africa. The paper concludes by raising two questions, which require further investigation: what is the role of Higher Education in South Africa today, and is decolonial thinking acting as another mode of colonialism in the South African academe?


Human Rights Education Meeting

Nazir Karrim

(Venue1 BS)




Decolonising education and educational research through action research

Lesley Wood


(Venue 2 BS)

Presentations: 14:00 – 14:30

Fetishistic disavowal and elusive jouissance: when the ‘colonized’ seek decolonization

Suriamurthee Maistry

In this paper, I argue that attempts at decolonizing higher education as transformative project in an era of a toxic, exponentially strengthening neoliberal performativity agenda, is inherently paradoxical as any new ‘reconstitution’ is bound to still remain ensnared within the neoliberal grand narrative. Such reconstitution will produce new (dis)guises as institutions in their quest to acquiesce, engage a superficiality that might obfuscate ‘authentic’ transformation. Absolute transformation is more likely to render futile and instantly obsolete the very benchmarks by which we might recognise its manifestation. As such its cognitive comprehension sustains a perpetual elusiveness, its realisation, an unattainable jouissance. This is because a positivist predetermination of the precise co-ordinates of decolonization’s outcome is likely to render the transformative project vacuous, as it is precisely in its articulation that the seeds of its repudiation are richly sown. The decolonization enterprise and illusions of its comprehensibility is thus a mark of our incomprehensibility. Its absolute apprehension can only be our realisation of its non-apprehensibility. As such, quick-fix, knee-jerk knowledgeability essentialises complexity, the consequence of which, is a degenerative dilution. True decolonization necessarily self-determines its yardsticks for evaluation, as it is precisely in its fluid (de)colonized outcomes that its ‘neo-colonization’ with all its frailties is revealed.  True transformation and decolonization in the Foucauldian sense is only possible through a ‘significant discursive event’, a rupture of unimaginable proportion, a Žižekian ‘self-destructive’ purification.  Anything less will simply reinforce colonialism’s normalcy, thereby reducing any ‘emancipatory’ initiative a farcical ‘fetishistic disavowal’.

Towards ‘Decolonising’ Technical and Vocational Education and Training in South Africa

Lucky Maluleke, Lukhanyo Boligello, Bukelwa Kumalo, Joshua Jacobs

The technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector in South Africa was created to advance the colonialization project initiated by Europeans. Malherbe (1977) and Behr (1988) show that this sector was created to serve the economic interests of European settlers in South Africa, while undermining the development of local people (previously referred to by Europeans as ‘natives’), though local people were used as subservient to the European/White economic system in South Africa.  Also, the historical and current understanding of TVET ignores the practices of Africans before Europeans came to Africa. The narrative of the history of education and training seems to start with the arrival of the settlers as if there was no formal learning in Africa before the Europeans came. Also, the White minority for whom this kind of training was reserved were the poor Whites – ‘the poor White problem’. Although the White government of the 1900s perpetuated the idea that ‘work ennobles’, the poor White Afrikaners (mainly farming communities), did not approve of technical education/apprenticeship as they associated it with lowly existence only suitable for the natives, or the so-called ‘Kaffirs’ to be precise. The historical association of this kind of education and training with lowly existence, poverty, poor/low cognitive abilities, etc. has created a stigma that continues to haunt the sector to this day, and consequently undermines the current effort to make TVET Colleges the ‘number one choice’. In this paper, I bring forth the argument that the current efforts to improve the TVET sector must take into consideration the brutal past of its foundation. Improving, increasing or expanding access and college-industry relations is not sufficient without decolonization of the thinking about TVET spaces. The success of the TVET sector depends on the [positive] perception of the people, for example, if colleges are still perceived as colonial institutions that prepare some sections of the population for low paying, low status and undesirable jobs, and as institutions for poverty-stricken and cognitively weak students, they will continue to attract poor quality students, and will continue to fail to contribute to mid-level to high-level skills that the country needs. I conclude by suggesting a few steps towards decolinisation of TVET in South Africa.

Capabilities that really matter for undergraduate sociology students

Bothwell Manyonga

This paper examines how the sociology curriculum and pedagogy interact to enhance or constrain students’ capabilities and more broadly, human development. Specifically, the focus centres on how curriculum knowledge acquired by undergraduate sociology students contributes to enhancing their capabilities to live and to act in society. The context is one where universities are under pressure to better align the relevance of their curriculum to the needs of the labour market, with less focus on expansive aims and more emphasis on outcomes that contribute to both economic advancement and human wellbeing. Drawing from the principles of capabilities approach of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, the paper argues that sociology curriculum conceptualisation may be enriched though consideration of capabilities that the students value. The paper presents findings from qualitative data collected from sociology students at two South African universities. It suggests grounds for (re)thinking policy orientations to sociology curriculum developers, particularly on how the capabilities approach and the more limited human capital theory can complement each other in higher education and curriculum development. The results, which suggests a different way of thinking and conceptualising curricula in human development terms with more emphasis on outcomes that contribute to both economic advancement and human well-being, casts light on how university curricula and indeed education might be transformed.

A Comparison Of The Old Procedure Of Nasfas Claims And The New Procedure – Implications On Students’ Academic Performance: A Case Of Wsu Queenstown

Remaketse Lekhehle

The processes through which students used to qualify for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NASFAS) was done by the universities for their students. After the #Fees must fall in 2016 it was decided that the universities will no longer process claims and students will apply online. Students who qualified to apply for this financial scheme did so, however, as the researcher has observed, she identified that students were still going through problems in connection with NASFAS. As from the beginning of this year students have been visiting the researcher’s office for the purpose of enquiring about their claims from the NASFAS office through her office telephone. The researcher, therefore, embarked on this study based on the above reasons to establish the implications and effects caused by the new online processing of (NASFAS) claims as compared to the old way of processing. The study adopted the use of both quantitative and qualitative approaches. A purposively selected sample of eighty participants was drawn from a population of Human and Resources Management (HRM) level 3 students. Data collection was done through interviews and questionnaires with open and close ended questions. Quantitative data were analysed by SPSS statistical package version17 and qualitative data through thematic frames. The findings of the study showed that students were not satisfied with the new system of NSFAS processing. Students claimed that the new process of claims delay and this impacted negatively on their studies since they were delaying to attend lectures. The paper revealed that some students had problems with the pin codes that were not sent to them in time. Based on the findings the paper concludes that the new system of processing NSFAS is more complicated than before since now universities do not have NSFAS based representatives. The paper recommends that the university management should create an office that enquires and answers all NSFAS queries on behalf of students.

Teacher usage of the one-laptop in the multigrade context: The case of the Intel® Teach Training Programme

Andre du Plessis

Becoming Inclusive – Seeing Beyond The Collective To Reach The Individual

Bridget Campbell

As a teacher educator of English at a university, I have used a journal to reflect on my pedagogic practices, and have used a narrative inquiry self-study to become more purposeful in my pedagogy, to acknowledge the diversity of students in the group, and to adapt my teaching to be more inclusive. I report on a postgraduate class where my reflective pedagogic approach was designed to practice culturally responsive pedagogy and critical pedagogy from which I hoped my students would benefit. My objective had a social justice agenda and was three-fold  – I wanted my pedagogy to reach the individuals in the diverse group,  I wanted to improve my pedagogy,  and I wanted to improve my students’ learning. It was important to consider my students’ pedagogic experiences and I asked that they reflect on their teaching and learning inside and outside of my lectures. Through multi-layered analyses of various reflections by me and my students, I was able to become more inclusive in my pedagogy as I considered the nuances of the different voices and experiences, and could adapt my practice to include the lived experiences of the diverse group. 

Teachers’ Expectations Of Principals On Instructional Leadership And Curriculum Policy Implementation

VS Tshazibana

The study focuses on teachers’ expectations of principals as it relates to instructional leadership and curriculum implementation. The study sampled 80 teachers from the Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth education districts in the Eastern Cape. Data obtained in the study were generated through a pen-and-paper questionnaire. Data obtained suggest that teachers have expectations that principals should be trained in instructional leadership and work closely with departmental officials in order to provide guidance and leadership at school level to address their professional needs related to curriculum implementation.

The findings in this study reveal that despite differences in teacher expectations of the principals’ role as instructional leader, the general expectations teachers have for principals as curriculum leaders is that principals must be knowledgeable about the curriculum and its delivery so that they can provide support, guidance and leadership to teachers and the entire school community in order to provide effective teaching and learning and to realize the school’s vision and mission.

Presentations: 14:30 – 15:00

Decolonising the ‘coloniser’ and ‘colonised’: Cultivating humanity through education

Prof Aletta Delport

In this paper, I will begin by applying a fundamental aspect of Rousseau’s political philosophy, namely the double-layered structure of society, in order to highlight the complex nature of social and political transformation, also in South Africa.  I will argue that, at its core, the sustainability and legitimacy of such transformation depends on the inner transformation of individual citizens – including those who have been colonised and those who are viewed as ‘the colonisers’.

By drawing on the work of Martha Nussbaum, I will subsequently argue that such profound, personal transformation can indeed be nurtured through a kind of education that is rooted in the cultivation of humanity, and compassion in particular. This however, means that the emotions need to be relocated in our conception of transformation and education. It also means that emotions need to be regarded as constitutive elements of rationality itself.

Enhancing The Quality Of Tvet Lecturer Knowledge Through The Creation Of Sustainable Learning Environments

Tlali MF

In the Republic of South Africa the quality of lecturers at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, in particular the quality of lecturer knowledge, causes concern among scholars and society at large. This assertion suggests that the quality of either the lecturers’ subject content knowledge, their TVET-specific/vocational pedagogical knowledge, or a combination of both, may be inadequate. These inadequacies are of an historical nature, and are traceable to the contesting priorities of TVET institutions and industry. Obviously, these two groups whose priorities compete, draw their clientele from the same group of people, who serve as prospective students and employees respectively. These priorities affect pedagogical practices, in particular TVET lecturer knowledge, and entrench the polarisation of practical and theoretical aspects of teaching and learning, thereby placing further strain the quality of lecturer knowledge. This paper explores the extent to which dominant historical perspectives about TVET lecturer knowledge still linger in the pedagogical practices prevalent at TVET institutions. Furthermore, the paper interrogates the capability of TVET institutions to achieve emancipation of graduates from the bonds of oppression represented by unemployment and poverty. This objective warranted framing this study by critical emancipatory research. Mainly, the paper argues for continuous development and progressive enhancement of lecturer knowledge quality through the creation of sustainable learning environments. Sustainable learning environments can be empowering and transformative because they deconstruct prevailing power differentials, and reconstruct realities to achieve humane and human relations, which support and enrich the pursuit of common goals. Participatory action research principles, which afford participants space to freely and equitably contribute their ideas and resources, was adopted. Socio-cognitive critical discourse analysis was used to analyse, interpret and make sense of the data. Preliminary findings suggest that the development and enhancement of the quality of TVET lecturer knowledge in engineering continues to be marred by lingering historical habits and tendencies of dominance and subjugation, which are remnants of the apartheid era.

An Evaluation Of The Crisis In The Criteria Used In Selection Of First Year Students In WSU Queenstown Campus

Neliswa Mbuqe, Newlin Marongwe

The study emanated after observing the pain and frustration our students as well as their parents go through when the most deserving students are excluded from getting NSFAS loan to pursue their studies. Furthermore those who are rich are going to classes while the poor do not have a future. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the challenges in the criteria that are being used in selecting 1st year students for NSFAS. Although NSFAS is an immediate financial relief by the Government of South Africa to the needy students but some students prefer not apply because they incur debts before they are even employed. This situation makes them reluctant to apply for NSFAS. Now the question is could this be clouded by corruption (i) students failing to produce their biological parents documents (ii) NSFAS Officials doing favours for the students they know or lack of sufficient funding for our students (iv) students associating NSFAS with poverty, that when applying for a student loan (NSFAS), it therefore means that, you are coming from poor background?. The study utilized both qualitative and quantitative approaches and a survey design. Random sampling technique will be applied to identify students and for qualitative approach a purposive sampling technique will be adopted. Data will be gathered through a semi-structured questionnaire, face-to-face interviews and observation. Content analysis with use of verbatim and thick descriptions will be considered in the study. Quantitative data will be analyzed with the aid of the SPSS statistical software package version 2.1 and presented descriptive statistics.

A critical enquiry on work experience as a recruitment criterion or human resource provisioning at Walter Sisulu University

LG Mbetshu

Walter Sisulu University (WSU) is located in the Eastern Cape in South Africa and a culmination of a merger process. As a result of the merger process new organograms emerged reflecting new vacancies that had become available necessitating the recruitment of human resources to fill up the vacant posts. WSU policy states that experience is a criterion for human resource provisioning. Therefore, only work experienced incumbents warrant consideration on recruitment in terms of the policy. The purpose of the study was to determine possible merits and limitations inherent in the recruitment policy, establish the rationale behind the criterion and the identification of innovative approaches to the university policy with respect to experience requirement. The research methodology was a mixed research method. The data collection instruments were focus group interviews and a questionnaire. The sampling method used was non probability sampling, namely quota and judgemental sampling and a probability sampling method namely stratified sampling. The sample size used was based on the supervisor’s suggestion. For data analysis, straight forward judgemental analysis and the statistical package for social sciences were used. One finding of the study was that high productivity potential on the part of experienced employees is based on assumption without empirical verification. One recommendation that came up was that human resource costs can be minimised by considering inexperienced capable incumbents rather than experienced incumbents.

Teachers before Technology Implementation: Ascertaining Teachers’ Readiness to Adopt Technology in their Classrooms

Danbaba Magana Na-Allah

The widespread adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) which has been made pervasive in society has led to ICT being imposed in schools. The infusion of ICT across education systems in South Africa demonstrates limited view as ICT remains foreign in the pedagogy of schools. In the process, teachers as critical players in the implementation of any form of change brought into the education systems remains marginalized particularly in critical decision making processes. This paper presents preliminary findings of teachers’ opinions concerning the recent introduction and current implementation of the Gauteng paperless schools project which started in 2015 in five pilot high schools. Using a descriptive case study approach, we generated qualitative data to understand teachers’ perceptions and beliefs on the adoption of ICT in their profession. Through critical thematic content analysis the findings revealed that pedagogical ICT integration and adoption in schools is still slow due to teacher and context-related parameters such as teachers’ preparedness to adopt ICT that interfered negatively thus posing challenges to the integration process.

Inclusive education: The attitudes, knowledge and preparedness of pre-service teachers in Lesotho

Rantsie Kgothule, Mopei Selikane

Although it is generally believed that education policies need to be adopted by training institutions in designing the curriculum, the pedagogy also requires empowering pre-service teachers to teach all children, including those who experience barriers to learning due to various disabilities and other reasons. Therefore, the problem revolves around pre-service teacher preparedness for inclusive classrooms. With this in mind, this paper reports on these teachers’ knowledge of, and their attitudes towards, inclusive education. The study employs a qualitative research paradigm. Data were generated and collected by interviewing a focus group of forty pre-service teachers and five lecturers from the Special Education Department at the Lesotho College of Education. The interviews were unstructured. It emerged that pre-service teachers have limited knowledge and understanding of inclusive education and they expressed general feelings of discontentment to the subject. Thus, it becomes important to have a sound policy at government level that will ensure effective initial teacher training and help pave the way for inclusive education in Lesotho.

Integrity and trust matter: Ethical insights of school principals and circuit managers from KwaZulu-Natal

Siphiwe Mthiyane

No leader can break trust with his people and expect to keep influencing them. Trust is the foundation of leadership. Violate the Law of Solid Ground, and you’re through as a leader. Literature on ethical leadership suggests of all the values that constitute an organisation’s culture, integrity and trust are considered extremely important for leaders and followers. In addition, ethical leadership theory suggests that it is the duty of leaders to engage in frequent communication with all employees about ethics and ethical standards. Thus, in school leadership, the criticality of ethical values such as integrity and trust, among others, is undisputed. Conceptualised within interpretivism and employing a qualitative approach, this paper reports on a study that explored the perspectives, experiences and practices of ten purposively selected school principals and six circuit managers regarding ethical leadership from two education districts in KwaZulu-Natal. The research project was contextualised against the backdrop of various reports of unethical behaviours such as misappropriation of school funds, irregularities in the provision of School Nutrition Programme, allegations of selling of teaching and management posts by certain individuals affiliated to a particular teacher union. These behaviours put into question the notions of integrity and trust in schools and the Provincial Education Department. Semi-structured interviews were used to generate data which was analysed utilising Kruger’s framework analysis. All ethical protocols were observed prior to the commencement of the study. The findings seem to suggest an increasing prevalence of unethical practices and a sense of impunity at schools and in the Education Department. The participants indicated that they did not trust that their leaders were acting with integrity when taking decisions and this does not bode well for the future of education in the province.

Presentations: 15:00 – 15:30

Discourses on the epistemological and moral to decolonise higher education: a Gadamerian approach

Berte van Wyk

Needless to say that discourses on decolonisation of higher education has to take into account the effects of colonialism. It is, therefore, useful to briefly analyse what colonialism entails, which is a Europeanisation of the world. In this world normative distinctions were made with regard to space, personhood, and society. There are two dimensions associated with this norming: the epistemological and the moral, and the discourses on decolonisation of higher education are explored in relation to these norms. To this end, this paper adopts a historically conscious Gadamerian approach to explore what Charles Mills (1997) refer to as the actual historically dominant moral/political consciousness and the actual historically moral/political ideals, in an effort to recognise their past and current influence and power and identifying their sources.  The consciousness and ideals to decolonise higher education are analysed. Following Gadamer, this paper attempts to analyse what was wrong with colonialism, what is wrong with higher education currently, and what can be done to decolonise higher education. I argue that transformation attempts in South Africa since 1994, focusing on increased and broadened participation, responsiveness to societal interests and needs, and co-operation and partnerships in governance, already provide a conceptual bridge to the decolonisation of higher education.

The ‘conversion factors’ affecting graduates’ employability: South African TVET college students perspectives

Lesley Powell, Dominique RalaRala, Babalwa August

Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has moved to the centre of political reform targeted at unemployment and economic growth (McGrath, 2012). The result of TVET being positioned as a central instrument for economic growth and social reform is an international convergence in education and training policies. In the South African context these policies have converged around the assumption that education and training is central to economic development and the most important instrument for addressing social inequities, growing unemployment and poverty. The assumption is that education and training will contribute to economic development by providing the skills required to compete in challenging and changing global and national economic contexts. Simultaneously, they will contribute to social justice by widening participation in programmes targeted at employability within communities most affected by unemployment which, in turn, will reduce unemployment and poverty.

Against this backdrop, this paper examines the interface between education and training and the world of work. It draws from a larger study on youth unemployment and employability funded through the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA) as part of the ETDP Research Chair:  Youth Unemployment, Employability and Empowerment. It focusses on the perspectives that unemployed young TVET college graduates have of the ‘conversion factors’ required for their education and training to translate into meaningful work opportunities and, vice versa, those ‘conversion factors’ (see Robeyns, 2005 for an indepth definition and discussion) that restrain such. An important aspect of these ‘conversion factors’ is the impact of  education in terms of how it impacts young people’s ability to understand, manoeuvre and access work. The central argument of the paper is that the ‘situatedness’ of TVET college graduates significantly affects their ability to convert their education and training into meaningful work opportunities.

Here the study reworks an old concern within the sociology of education – that of equality of opportunity – with an emphasis on the education to work nexus and the implications that this has for economic inclusion. The paper is framed within Amartya Sen’s capability approach (Sen, 1999), deepened by critical realism (Archer, 2000).  Together the development framework of the capability approach and the ontology of critical realism provides a valuable framework for taking cognisance of the ways in which the lives of graduates are affected by the structural circumstances in which they live, whilst at the same time not reducing their humanity in a deterministic manner to these circumstances. In the language of the capabilities approach, it allows for a distinction between education as ‘capabilities’ (meaningful opportunities) and work as ‘functionings’ (achievements). At the same time, ontologically framing the study within critical realism allows the paper to be cognisant of the interrelationship between human agency and structure. As such, the notion of ‘situatedness’ applied in the paper emphasises the importance of human agency and structure. In line with critical realist ontology, it does this by recognising that the effect of structure is not necessarily as universal, uniform or predictable as positivist sociology of education has offered. Rather, it recognises that it is tempered and shaped by the ‘life projects’ or desired ends (Archer, 1998) that matter to PSET graduates as well as by the aspirations and understandings (however fallible) that drive these ‘life projects’.

In line with the emphasis on agency in the capabilities approach and in critical realism, the paper brings to the discussion the voice of 20 unemployed TVET graduates.  It does this by drawing from life histories (Abbas, Ashwin, & McLean, 2013) and livelihood diaries undertaken with 20 college graduates: n=10 life histories and n=10 livelihood diaries.

By allowing for multiple accounts of the same reality, critical realism challenges the truth of current accounts of TVET graduates by challenging the largely positivist, empiricist and instrumental orientation of the literature. Important for policy, the paper argues for a conception of TVET college graduates that is antithetical to the deficit model of TVET graduates that dominates the media, educational policy and the institutional cultures of TVET colleges. In contrast, the experience and perspective of these twenty unemployed graduates shows that graduates understand, negotiate and manoeuvre their access to the world of work in interesting and important ways.

University Capacity Development Programme and the Creation of Sustainable Learning Environments

Sechaba Mahlomaholo

Inequalities continue to be recreated and reproduced through unequal distribution of educational resources and opportunities, among others. Against this backdrop, this paper analyses the recently introduced Department of Higher Education and Training intervention programme called the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP). This programme is aimed at enabling, especially historically disadvantaged higher education institutions (HDIs)  to catch up and be on par academically through excellent research, teaching and community engagement with those that have been privileged over the decades. The argument presented in this paper is that, instances of academic under-performance endemic in HDIs serving primarily the poor of the poorest communities seem to be entrenched by centuries of exclusion and marginalisation of the abovementioned communities. Improvement of the academic project in those HDIs seem to require a little more than mere intervention at the institutional level. Through a consideration of current decolonial theories and practices, I demonstrate how this welcome and well thought-out intervention programme may not achieve its intended goals if the context within which some of the historically disadvantaged higher education institutions remain the same. To illustrate the point I provide a succinct description of what the ideal; sustainable learning environments would be. This among others would include the vestiges and clutches of colonial and apartheid higher education being removed, and movement towards transformation, emancipation and plurality of modes of knowing – promised by decolonial education, being created, confirmed and affirmed. I problematise further the value and the meaning of UCDP at this point in history when there is a cry for a free and affordable higher education by all. To come to further meaningful conclusions on the subject matter, I revisit bricolage as the most effective lens to use to grapple with the complexities that are now emerging. Finally the paper comes to a halt by reaffirming Karl Marx’ view that; seemingly human beings make history, but not under the conditions of their own choosing. In short the findings are that while the success of the UCDP is dependent on reigniting the agentic powers of respective academics and their institutions at HDIs, the ever present regressive power of the contexts remains a challenge that will continue to prevent the realisation of the anticipated better academic performance. The recommendation therefore is that; complementary interventions at the level of the communities and social context be vigorously pursued so that gains to be made through the UCDP could be sustained.

Teacher Recruitment & Transformative Quality Education in Botswana: Lessons from the South East Education Region

Esther Mashabile

The dialectical relationship between the quality education and teacher recruitment cannot be overemphasized especially in any education system whose goal is to offer transformative quality education. Across the globe, both developing and developed countries are struggling with the task of recruiting highly qualified and an effective teaching force. Many studies carried out in third world countries indicate that recruitment and selection of teachers is frequently neither systematic nor robust. Botswana as a developing country has not been spared from this phenomenon. Despite significant efforts by government to invest both human and financial resources in pre-service and in-service teacher education programs for secondary education, students’ academic performance continues to decline, therefore raising concerns over teacher quality and ultimately the quality of education that students receive. Melloy & Winter (2005) contend that teacher recruitment is a key administrative task within the educational context as it is important in reforming the school. Staffing schools with highly qualified and developing teachers has been highly recommended by policy makers as it is vital for school reform.

This paper therefore presents the results of a study which explored the relationship between teacher recruitment practices and student’s academic performance in junior secondary schools in Botswana. The study reveals that there is a direct correlation between teacher recruitment practices and the quality of education given to the learners.  Arguably, a case is made in this study that in order for Botswana’s education system to become transformative in terms of quality, there is need to embark firstly on robust teacher recruitment processes which will not only ascertain that any teacher is placed in the classroom, but that well-trained, effective and motivated teachers pursue the goal of educating the nation.

The impact of a technology-rich classroom learning environment on Grade 11 learners’ technological literacy in a high resourced school setting

Melanie Luckay

South African educators are experiencing many changes in the educational sphere. The curriculum has changed and more emphasis is placed on educators to integrate ICT’s in their classroom practice.  When an educator do expose learners to ICT’s in their classroom learning, a key question is how ready the learners are to learn in this way. Key research in the areas of constructivism and technological pedagogical content knowledge will inform the findings.

In this study, we explore the levels of technological literacy of a group of Grade 11 learners at a high resourced school.  The study seeks to understand grade 11 learners’ levels of technological literacy, and the study further seeks to determine the relationship between the learners’ levels of technological literacy and their own comfort with teachers integrating ICT’s in their classroom learning. The aim of the study is to describe, analyze and compare the technological literacy of learners in a ICT-driven and high resourced classroom.  The study seeks to answer the following research question: To what extent are Grade 11 learners in a high resourced school technologically literate, and what is the relationship between their levels of technological literacy and their readiness with the integration of ICT’s in classroom practice?

Data were collected from Grade 11 learners in a high resourced school (n=172) using a valid and reliable instrument, the Technological Profile Inventory. Patterns of students’ responses showed that learners’ levels of technological literacy were on average categorised as medium to high. Focus group interviews with them revealed that their exposure to technology at home, and through their teachers’ effective use of ICT’s in the class were contributing factors to their levels of technological literacy. These results have implications for developing learners’ levels of technological literacy at schools, and the integration of ICT’s in the curriculum and classroom practice.

Teachers, youth and inclusive education

Yusuf Sayed, Azeem Badroodien, Lorna Balie

There is growing global policy consensus that inclusive education is crucial to promoting access to quality education opportunities for young people. In South Africa, White paper 6 advocates for an inclusive education in public schooling to enhance access to equitable and quality education.  Despite this and other national policies targeting marginalised youth in South Africa and globally, youth who comprise the majority of the population still seem to experience different forms of exclusion with some experiencing  extreme forms of exclusion. In this context this papers which draws from a larger scale study looks at how, despite formal processes of inclusion in education, youth at risk are even more vulnerable than before. It is based on data collected 10 interviews with boys and teachers at an inclusive education institution in Cape Town. It also draws from a review of education policies about inclusion as well as those focusing on youth.

The paper positions the analysis of the data collected in a framework which notes the normative nature of the concept of education inclusion which seek to overcome exclusion. It argues that such a framing ignores how notion of inclusion and exclusion are conjoined and that in policy and practice inclusive policies may lead to further or new forms of exclusion. It also critiques the notion of inclusion framed within a discourse of targeting in which groups will also then need to be defined, identified and positioned (Sayed, Carrim and Soudien 2003). With such an approach, this paper argues that it may end up perpetuating inequities and masking power relations within society. These concepts also fail to highlight the differences between and within groups and who is already included. Using this framework this paper analyses the complexity of the issue in relation to the data showing how inclusion may pathologise individuals and often fails to understand the complex interactions between race, class, gender etc. and inequity in society.  Such an analysis sheds light on why education inclusion is not as successful as policy-makers argue.

Mediating violence through educational leadership: The role of middle management at Mafukuzela Gandhi Circuit

Michael. M. Ngobese

Presentations: 15:30 – 16:00

UNAKO: A Socio-critical Literacy Approach to Decolonising Education

Somila Mjekula

Among the talks about decolonising and transforming education in South Africa, the usual flow of discussion that follows from the complex language question is the content of what is communicated through language, the origin of this material content, and epistemic reasons explaining why it should be ‘decolonised’. These discussions usually take place in the seminar rooms, lecture halls and hallways of universities. Meanwhile, there is an undeniable urgency to not only take these conversations back to the Basic Education level but to begin changing the way we understand and approach education completely. Colonial language use and Eurocentric learning content are indeed key problematics that demand attention in the process. Yet, beyond this, we are also confronted by socioeconomic disparities, socio-political injustices, and even sociocultural marginalisation. These factors, mainly from township and rural communities, do not only affect the quality of schooling but even learner attitudes towards educational development. For this reason, revised language and updated content alone barely make an intentional impact to what a decolonial education project would mean. What is necessary is also a cognisance and engagement with the developmental inequalities that exist in many disadvantaged communities. The driving force behind this position is based on the work done by Unako Community Based Movement, an NPO that runs Literacy Clubs in primary schools and high schools in the KwaZakhele and New Brighton township areas of Port Elizabeth. Unako sees education as a social practice, and reimagines learning spaces as stimulated hubs of knowledge created by learners who engage with the conditions of their social contexts. Unako does this by engaging in a socio-critical literacy that does not negate the value of lived experiences and the power they have in capacitating agency. I thus argue that this is the ‘missing link’ in the decolonisation of education project.

Towards A Non-Binary Critical Discourse

Ingrid Baigrie

The South African constitution states that the Republic of South Africa is one, sovereign, democratic state founded on human dignity, the achievement of equality, the advancement of human rights and freedoms, non-racialism and non-sexism. Critical feminist research methodology has for many years now embraced the idea of gender as being a non-binary concept, and has actively sought to challenge the argument that gender is binary on biological grounds. Yet race continues to be spoken about as if it were a binary concept.  In a period in education in South Africa, marked by a call for the decolonisation of university curricula and systems, and equal access to higher education for all, is it not time for those of us committed to education in this country to begin to look at race in the same way that gender activists look at gender, and to actively engage in a non-binary critical discourse in relation to race in order to work towards the non-racialism referred to in our constitution.

Quality teacher knowledge development and enhancement for sustainable TVET learning environments

Moeketsi Tlali; Moeketsi Mosia; and Nixon Teis

The need for creating sustainable learning environments for the development and enhancement of lecturer knowledge in TVET engineering fields, is long overdue. The indicators that attest to this assertion are overwhelming and require urgent attention. In the main, the limited extent to which lecture knowledge in engineering disciplines, is responsive to the students’ need for appropriate skills and knowledge, appears to be the central issue. The appropriateness of skills and knowledge is resident in their capacity to enable students to meaningfully interrogate and engage with reality to the extent of creating functional knowledge. This presents unique opportunities for the quality of TVET lecturer knowledge in engineering contexts. To this end, active involvement of respective industries, engineering students and lecturers is immensely pivotal. It affords opportunities for them to engage rigorously with the various aspects of TVET lecturer knowledge. In this paper, we argue for participants’ intense engagements with the development and enhancement of the quality of lecturer knowledge in engineering. Such engagement should flow from conceptualisation of the nature and extent of the need for such enhancements; to devising responsive mechanisms to the identified need; to iteratively reflect on possible enhancements of the said responsive mechanisms, with a view to improve the impelling processes and envisioned outcomes. Our preliminary investigation revealed the prevalence of considerable limitations in the quality of engagements among the key stakeholders in this case. The study further found that as a result of this, the quality and sustainability of lecture pedagogical content knowledge in engineering tends to be compromised.  In order to respond to this challenge more effectively, we advocate for the adoption and use of participatory action research principles as an approach for engendering quality engagements among relevant stakeholders. In view of the transformative character of this study, and the prevalence of power differential realities embedded in the stakeholders’ diverse backgrounds, we framed this study on bricolage. This allowed us to be considerate of and focus on the richness of our diverse skills, experiences and knowledge that could help us respond to the need on hand. The multiplicity of skills, perspectives and theoretical positions which we presented could best be unravelled through critical analysis and interpretation of our discourses towards attaining our envisioned educative quality TVET lecturer knowledge in engineering studies.

An investigation of challenges faced by students who have qualified for university entry but do not meet the required standards for entry in their preferred programmes

Bongiwe Vuyiseka Nonkwelo, Nomazwe Alice Mini, Thobela Ncetezo

The study focuses on challenges faced by students who have passed matric and qualified for entry at university but due to having obtained lower grades in mathematics and/or physical science they fail to meet the requirements for their preferred programmes. The interest was prompted by an observation that many students with poor grades in mathematics and physics could not be admitted to programmes of their choice.  These are the students who get lost in the system and find themselves cheated as they cannot achieve their university dream. The student intake in programmes that require mathematics and/or physical science negatively affects viability of these programmes and will have a debilitating impact on the capacity of the university to produce graduates with qualifications in scarce skills. The study will target students who have applied for university admission after matriculation. A mixed approach will be used for the study. Questionnaires will be issued to forty five students (five from each of the nine programmes) and nine member from selection panel will be interviewed. The data will also be collected from previous student application forms and admission records. Quantitative data will be analysed using a descriptive statistics.  It is hoped that the findings of this study will reveal the gaps between school system determination of aggregate and university entry requirements.

Cultivating design- and engineering discourse in STEM learning in the intermediate phase

Hennie Basson, Jari Lavonen, Piet Ankiewicz, Nadine Petersen

This paper addresses two related concerns: 1) the need for engineers and technicians in a society where they are increasingly in demand and 2) the opportunity to develop STEM discourse and knowledge (specifically related to engineering and technology) in prospective teachers of young children, who can serve as models of language use and clear expression of concepts and procedures, while also cultivating a disposition of inquiry and analysis. In the presentation we will set out the conceptual framework of four case studies in which intermediate phase student teachers’ core academic language skills, their knowledge of engineering and technology, their disposition towards engineering and technology, their performance in clinical interviews and tasks will be combined to extract findings to be used for an integrated STEM teacher education curriculum.

The main argument of the paper is that the “missing E” in STEM education in the primary school has implications for stimulating interest and learning of technology subjects early in learners’ school career. This ‘position paper’ will present and argument for integrated STEM education, with specific attention to the ‘E’ and the ‘T’. Theory of conceptual change and the function of language as ‘place-holding’ device for learning in the intermediate phase of schooling will be the main theoretical device. The samples of students will include four different cohorts cross-sectionally (N=400+), with a ‘bootcamp’ to pilot methods for clinical interviewing and tasking. Early results will be presented at the conference.

An Evaluation Of How Prescribed Language Learning Texts Integrated Health Information In The Dikgale High Schools

Laura Ndlovu

The aim of the study was to evaluate the extent to which the Mopani secondary schools’ language learning and teaching texts integrate health literacy promotion texts. The study adopted a mixed research approach where a descriptive survey (quantitative data) design and a case study (qualitative data) design were used.  For the survey data a simple random sampling where a total of 50 (22 boys and 28 girls) students were randomly selected and from the case study 15 (7 males and 8 females) teachers purposively selected. Data was collected through questionnaires and interviews. The findings revealed that students (94%) have difficulties in understanding health related texts because they focus mainly on language usage than on the health related information. A further (53%) of the students said they do not understand the main message being communicated and (52%) said although they have come across health related messages in their English prescribed text books they can never share the knowledge with other people they gained from such texts. The implications of this study suggest that there is still a need for curriculum developers to develop materials that will not only focus on language usage but also try to communicate the message, especially texts in English FAL prescribed textbooks.

Temperament as a Determinant of Success in Formative Assessment in Education

Kehdinga George Fomunyam and Thoko Mnisi

Assessment is a vital component of the educational process and formative assessment is a way of ensuring that higher education achieves its desired goals. Different factors influence how students perform in assessments in general and formative assessment in particular, and temperament is one such factor. This article reports on a qualitative case study of four universities in four different countries that examined how the temperamental make up of students either empowers them to perform excellently in formative assessment or incapacitates their performance. These four universities were selected in Cameroon, South Africa, the United Kingdom and United States of America and three students were chosen from each institution, six of which were under graduate students and six postgraduate. Data was generated through qualitative interviews and document analyses, preceded by a temperament test. The study found that cholerics who are natural leaders and hence do not struggle to express themselves, often perform excellently in formative assessment while sanguines, who, like cholerics, are extroverts, perform relatively well. Phlegmatics and melancholics performed averagely and poorly, respectively in formative assessment because they are naturally prone to fear and dislike such activities because they prefer to keep to themselves. The article therefore posits that temperament is a determinant of success in formative assessment. It also proposes that lecturers need to understand temperaments in order to be able to fully administer formative assessment. Balanced assessment is required so that some students are not privileged against others due to their temperamental makeup. Finally, the article suggests that since formative assessment is a process of generating data, it should be contextualised or approached at the level of the individual in order to ensure that trustworthy data is produced.

Panel discussions: 16:15 – 17:45


Becoming a teacher in Post Apartheid South Africa: Students experiences of their ITE programme across four South African universities

Yusuf Sayed; Nazir Carrim; Azeem Badroodien; Zahraa MacDonald; Marcina Singh; Maureen Robinson; Hamsa Venkatakrishnan

Drawing on multi-site case studies of four higher education institutions’ initial teacher education
programmes in South Africa, this panel provides an account of the experiences of becoming teachers
including their motivations for wanting to become a teacher, their development of professional
knowledge as well as learning to teach mathematics and languages. The panel further locates student
teachers’ experiences within a policy context and global debates, and provides policy recommendations.
Five individual papers are presented that elaborate on these.

The first paper that will be presented is entitled ‘Who becomes a teacher and why?
Presented by Chiwibiso Kwenda
This paper addresses the key question who becomes a teacher and why as a way of understanding how
the best can be recruited for areas and subjects of most need in the South African context. Addressing
this issue will shed light developing a more balanced and equitably deployed teaching corps in which
qualified and best paid educators are not disproportionately located in the former model C schools and
thus the most well-resourced environments but in those where they are needed most. Understanding
why people become teachers is also crucial to unpack reasons for individual to remain in the teaching

The second paper looks at ‘The development of student’s professional knowledge in Foundation Phase’
Presented by Maureen Robinson
This paper teases out this discussion about teacher professional knowledge and how it is formed in
teacher education programmes. Initial teacher education (ITE) internationally, and in South Africa, aims
to equip student teachers with sufficient knowledge that will enable them to provide high quality
teaching. However, studies show that student teachers develop their own understanding of teacher
work and what knowledge teachers should acquire, this being influenced by their previous teachers,
teaching and learning experience, their own personal biographies (see e.g. Miller and Shifflet 2016),
beliefs about knowledge, teaching and learning (Brownlee et al. 1998). The aim of this paper is to
explore the perception of the foundation phase student teachers about the professional knowledge they
gained at ITE programmes.

The third paper looks at ‘Teaching and Learning Foundation Phase mathematics’
Presented by Hamsa Venkatakrishnan

Recent work in South African initial teacher education has focused on Intermediate Phase mathematics
and language (JET study). Analyses from their multi-institutional data set have pointed to differences
between institutions in mathematical content coverage, level and emphases (Bowie & Reed, 2015).
While there has been recent policy interest in Foundation Phase initial teacher education on the content
side (DHET EU project), there has been limited attention to subject-specific student learning and
experiences. In this paper, we explore Foundation Phase mathematics teacher education in relation to
the beliefs and views of ITE students, across a number of Higher Education Institutions, linked to the
mathematics content and theory focus of teacher education courses and their application in practice.
We look at the experiences and challenges in developing competencies to teach mathematics in the
Foundation Phase as identified by ITE students. We also substantiate the specifics of teaching and
learning mathematics in the Foundation Phase and highlight their sense of the relevance and
importance of preparing teachers who are confident and competent to teach mathematics. We will
include results from a small number of in-depth interviews aimed at gathering insights into ITE students’
mathematical knowledge and their ways of working with mathematics in the course of sharing their
ways of working with some mathematical tasks related to mathematics teaching in Foundation Phase.

The fourth paper looks at ‘Teaching and Learning Foundation Phase language’
Presented by Nomakhaya Mashiyi

This paper focuses on the experiences and challenges of initial teacher education students who
specialize in language teaching, and the competencies needed to teach languages in the Further
Education and Training (FET) phase (grades 10 to 12). The students in the study were from one
institution in the Western Cape and were enrolled for a one-year postgraduate certificate in Education
(PGCE). They were purposively selected and included all the PGCE student teachers enrolled for English
and isiXhosa at the tertiary institution. A mixed method approach was used to gain a more complete and
in-depth understanding of the perceptions of the students on their experiences and challenges in
developing competencies to teach languages in the FET phase.

The fifth paper looks at ‘Becoming a teacher in the 21st century’
Presented by: Zahraa McDonald
Drawing on the findings and recommendations of the first four papers in this panel, this presentation
looks more holistically at becoming a teacher in post-apartheid South Africa. It will discuss the current
dilemmas facing teacher education programmes and will provide recommendations on how these
problems can be mitigated. More specifically, this paper will locate the issues addressed in the
preceding papers in a wider context in two respects. First it will look at the extent to which South African
ITE policies and legislation are in keeping with international provisions including UN and World Bank
indications of what kind of teachers and ITE programmes the 21st century may require. It will also
address the different levels of pressures (and possibilities) that affect ITE providers and becoming
teachers, including living in an ICT driven age, political developments including the politics of
representation, participation and identity, and, the possibilities of ITE programmes, providers and
teachers to contribute to the development of a just social order.

Research Capacity Workshop

Current issues in postgraduate research supervision

Gert Van der Westhuizen, Michael Samuels, Shervani Pillay



Presentations: 16:15 – 16:45

Decolonisation Of The Curriculum: The Need For A Proper Conceptualisation

Jabulani Sibanda

The success or failure of the much advocated decolonization of education broadly, and that of the curriculum specifically, hinges on the extent to which there is uniformity of conceptualization on what decolonization is and entails. This paper seeks to interrogate the conception of the decolonization project from a scholars and authors’ point of view with a view to comparing their conception with that of key stakeholders in the Higher Education terrain. The imperatives to decolonize are interrogated within the context of the realities of the globalization. The paper also endeavors to interrogate the concept of decolonization in relation to related concepts like transformation, Africanization, traditional education, among others. What about the curriculum needs decolonization will be discussed from the perspective of different scholars. In the interrogation of decolonized education, an attempt is made to identify features of colonial education whose remnants merit redress. Within the South African context, the paper interrogates the extent of consonancy between colonial and apartheid and questions whether it is colonial, apartheid or both systems’ education which require redress and whether the tile decolonization is an apt description of what the ‘decolonization’ project seeks to achieve. The paper questions whether the decolonization should happen at the meta-theoretical level where underlying assumptions are made regarding what merits to be taught; at the theoretical level where African theories and concepts are generated; at the methodological level where appropriate teaching methods are sought; at the pedagogical level where teaching methods responsive to the students are selected; at the empirical level where issues relevant to Africa are determined; or at the applied knowledge level where the social reality of Africans inform the curriculum.

TVET Lecturers Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge  (TPACK) in South African TVET institutions: A Case study in automotive repair and maintenance teaching

V S Naiker, M Makgato

Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is an integral component of the South African education system. It is one of the three major sectors of education and training designed to meet the skills shortages in South Africa. Many TVET lecturers enter the  college sector with rich content knowledge of a particular trade or vocation and it is assumed that they bring with them knowledge of the tools and the technology of  industry, it cannot be assumed that lecturers have developed sufficient pedagogical knowledge to inform their teaching practices, let alone the technological knowledge required to integrate technology in their teaching. This study examines the knowledge and beliefs that TVET lecturers have about teaching automotive repair and maintenance in colleges.

ICT technology provides the means through which technical vocational education can improve the TVET sector. The success of technology integration in VET depends largely upon lecturers: professional knowledge, pedagogical and technological knowledge and the relationship between their beliefs about these constructs. In this study mixed methods were used to examine how lecturers’ knowledge and beliefs influenced their technology integration practices. Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data from twelve TVET lecturers teaching Automotive Repair and Maintenance in four TVET colleges in Gauteng. The study found that specific characteristics or behaviors related to each of the technology integration components of TK, TCK, and TPK that impacts on successful planning and implementation of TVET lecturers’ technology-enhanced lessons.

Development And Validation Of An Instrument For Assessing Psycho-Productive Skills For Physics Students In Secondary Schools In Nasarawa State, Nigeria

Amuche Chris Igomu

The study was targeted at development and validation of an instrument for assessing psycho-productive skills for physics students in secondary schools in Nasarawa State, Nigeria. The study developed and validated a test to assess psycho-productive skills of physics students. The construct and content validities of the test were determined. The internal consistency reliability of the test was found to be 0.81 and a Standard Error of Measurement (SEM) of 5.25. The average discriminating index of the test is 0.40 and the difficulty index of the test is 0.47. A positive high correlation (r = 0.69) exist between students’ process skills and their manipulative skills as measured by the instrument.   It was found out that psycho-productive skills of male students do not differ significantly from that of female students. A significant relationship exists between students’ process skills and manipulative skills as measured by the test. It was concluded that the test characteristics of the test fall within the accepted range of values suggesting that the test is valid and reliable enough to be used to measure physics students’ competence in both process and manipulative skills; students’ process skills are positively and highly correlated to manipulative skills; It was recommended that: Examination bodies in Nigeria such as the West African Examinations Council, national Examinations Council etc should integrate this innovative assessment procedure and the  adoption and use of the instrument to assess manipulative skills in other entrepreneurial and technological skills.

#RhodesMustFall: Exploring the potential for social media to provide decolonised learning spaces at the University of Cape Town

Sieraaj Francis

The student protests of 2015 and 2016 presented many challenges for Higher Education Institutions in South Africa. However, it was an exciting time as it sparked important conversations around access to higher education, the inclusivity of South African universities and decolonisation which have now become part of public conversation (Hlophe 2015). If South African universities do not improve access for students from previously disadvantaged communities and communities that continue to be marginalised today (access not just in admission, but tuition fees and an accessible curriculum), then South African universities will not be transformative in their education practices but will instead perpetuate the socioeconomic inequalities that exist in our societies (Kamanzi 2015). What interests me about the Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall movements is these students’ ability to successful leverage their social networks through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to organize their protests and raise awareness of the issues that they are protesting (Masondo 2015). In this presentation, I will discuss the students uses of social media and explore the potential for social to provide decolonised learning spaces. This research study involves interviews with students who have created Facebook pages and have utilised these spaces to connect people to these movements, educate others around the issues being protested and share information about these movements. Using Engestrom’s Cultural Historical Activity Theory as a theoretical framework (Engeström 2001) and Hardman’s Analytical framework that allows for the study of pedagogical practices through the CHAT lens (Hardman 2008), I then describe the various activities and communities and analyse how labour is divided between teaching and learning in these social media pages. As there are no assigned roles as teachers and learners on these social media pages, the teacher-learner binary is disrupted and the traditional power relations between teacher and learner are disrupted as well. This disruption in power could well be a stepping stone toward decolonised teaching and learning practices at higher education institutions in South Africa. I further explore what other lessons we can draw from these social media pages to improve our efforts towards decolonising higher education in South Africa.

Challenges Encountered in the Use of ICT to Enhance the Teaching and Learning of Natural Science in Rural Schools in South Africa

Nomxolisi Mtsi, Newlin Marongwe, Grasia Chisango

The study sought to identify the challenges encountered in the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to enhance the teaching and learning of Natural Science in rural schools of South Africa. Science education is an important subject, whereby learners would be able to pursue science related careers and for the economic and technological development of a country. Media reports has it that some schools in Eastern Cape perform poorly in grade 12 science subjects. These media reports prompted the researchers to undertake this study. The researchers are of the view that the poor results may be triggered by the use of traditional resources used in schools. Based on researchers’ observations, most teachers conduct science classes without using computers or other ICT gadgets. The researchers believe that fear and negative attitude in the adoption of ICT usage in class can retard the progress in science education. The study was located in the interpretivist paradigm, following a qualitative approach. The study adopted a case study design. The study was informed by theoretical framework technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPAK). Data was collected through individual interviews with principals, teachers and observations with teachers only.  The study found out that principals were aware of some of the ICT skills as they were always exposed to the departmental meetings and workshops they attended but lacked the skills to motivate teachers to use ICT gadgets in science teaching. In the case of teachers, they were aware of the skills but lack knowledge in terms of implementing. The researchers conclude that the effective teaching and learning of Natural Science can be negatively affected if the use of ICT is neglected. It is recommended that the schools development programmes and in-service training should be encouraged to motivate teachers to use the ICT gadgets in their teaching.

Improving the reading comprehension (RC) for English First Additional Language (EFAL)

Cherron Nonceba Vundla

This study intends to improve the RC of EFAL. The aim of the study is to develop an approach to enrich RC in EFAL  and this study is justified by the following objectives (i.e. to demonstrate the challenges and justify the need for an approach; to enrich the reading comprehension for EFAL; to highlight the components in respect of an approach; to outline the threats, strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for an approach; and to identify the conducive environment of such an approach; and to demonstrate the success indicators drawn from best practices around the universe). To improve reading comprehension the construction of the knowledge should ensure that more effort in vocabulary, repeated reading skills is applied timeously and taught of word recognition and phonemes is emphasized.  British London Summer Council School successfully implemented the Communicative Language Teaching CLT approach in German and French as they are using English as EFAL. Zimbabwe had implemented the (CLT) approach though, it had a problem as teachers were not well developed to teach it.  South Africa (SA) will have to make sure that it provides professional development to teachers to avoid mistakes.  It stands to reason that it is likely to work successfully in SA as the majority also use English as EFAL.  This study will adopt Participatory Action Research (PAR) as a research approach. The theoretical framework that will clinch this study is critical epistemology theory (CET). CET is a set of procedures to be followed in learning and how knowledge could developed. CET requires the stakeholders of co-constructors of the knowledge to work in collaborative and participative to be transformed members of the society.  This study will use Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to analyze data. CDA is best suited for this study as it used in the study of texts, discursive practice and sociological context. Findings of this study will assist in developing an approach that will improve the reading comprehension of EFAL.

Presentations: 16:45 – 17:15

Decolonizing Curriculum Knowledge

Reuben Dlamini

Knowledge and knowledge production are at the heart of the higher education project right across the world.  In formerly colonised nations such as South Africa, the need for transforming knowledge and the means of its production are critical for the curriculum decolonisation process. This paper argues that our universities as currently constituted have become complicit in the development of what Marini (1965) calls a sub imperialist continent serving to extend and accompany the imperialist agenda of the former colonisers. This form of coloniality perpetuates the dominance of western knowledge forms in our universities and works against the cherished ideals of transformation. We use Mbembe’s framework of decolonisation to explore the transformation we need to the four dimensions of university curricula at the purposes, content, pedagogical and assessment levels. We also explore changes to research and training of doctoral students that have taken place since 1994. We use examples of pre and post-apartheid curricula to illustrate the extent to which change has occurred across these dimensions. We conclude that not much change has occurred to these knowledge dimensions of our university curricula and suggest what we see as the barriers and how these can be interrogated in pursuit of more fundamental transformation.

Enabling vocational lecturer capacities towards sustainable human development

Lucky Maluleke, Neville Rudman and Kathija Yassim

This paper seeks to present and contextualise the kinds of vocational pedagogies identified within a humanising pedagogy curriculum framework (Zinn, Geduld, Delport & Jordaan, 2014; Zinn & Rodgers, 2012) and aimed at preparing vocational lecturers as teachers in a developing world context. At the heart of this explication lies the conceptual research that informed the development of an Advanced Diploma in Technical and Vocational Teaching (Adv Dip: TVT) at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU). It is an attempt to explore and re-imagine responsive vocational pedagogies that intersect with Sen’s Capabilities Approach.

In South Africa, as is the case internationally, there is – at a macro level – a strong belief that the vocational sector stands in service of the economy, (business, industry and commerce) to such an extent that the needs of individuals in the sector are completely ignored. (Allais, 2012; Vally & Motala, 2014; Wedekind, 2014). This productivist environment exhorts those universities that are currently developing TVET lecturer qualifications to consider alternative approaches, and (for Mandela University faculty of education in particular) to imbue lecturer qualifications with a capability (human-development) approach. This approach provides a greater balance between the needs of the people and the needs of the economy, and promotes the interests of social justice, human rights, and poverty alleviation. (Sen, 1990; Nussbaum, 2003; Powell, 2012; Powell & McGrath, 2014)

Research in the vocational sector indicates the many challenges that face the field, inter alia that many lecturers use traditional and often outdated teaching pedagogies (Ellis, Dyer, & Thompson, 2014). It further indicates that more than 50% of the country’s lecturers are professionally either un- or under-qualified (Mgijima & Morobe, 2012) and that they are generally inexperienced (HSRC, 2005). Moreover, research shows that many lecturing staff doubt “their ability to support this changing and diverse student population” (McBride et al., 2009, p. 24); and that the poor relationships prevalent between lecturers and students generally lead to poor throughput rates. (HSRC, 2005)

In an attempt to address the ‘deficit’ realities reflected in these research outputs, our Adv. Dip: TVT seeks to promote a humanising education philosophy designed to empower lecturers in the sector to view their disciplines, their contexts and their students in a way that unleashes the inherent potential within them.

We believe that it is only through a lecturer-development programme that strengthens the lecturers’ (humanising, capability-building) life view that we may make a lasting and sustainable impact on the calibre of students that graduate from the TVET sector, imbued with the capabilities to deal effectively with the challenges presented by the changing world of work and their social reality. In this way, the paper hopes to contribute to a better understanding of possible mechanisms that could overcome the poverty of information that Freire has termed “the culture of silence.”

Effective Teaching of chemical equilibrium in a Grade 12 class: a bricolage approach

Siphiwe Moloi

The study aims at formulating a strategy to teach chemical equilibrium in a grade 12 class effectively using bricolage .The strategy is necessitated by the background that learners are performing poorly in chemical equilibrium topic in a grade 12 class. Effective teaching will be characterized by being learner-centred, challenging to student, encouraging self-reliance and project orientated .Chemical equilibrium will be viewed as when the rate at which  forward reaction occurs is equal to the rate at which reverse reaction occurs such that  their concentrations  have no further tendency to change with time  .Though chemical equilibrium many sub-topics but the study will focus on reversibility of reactions ,Le Chaterlier’s Principle, factors affecting equilibrium and equilibrium constant calculations. Bricolage will be used as a theoretical framework and a teaching approach for it is transformative, empowering, multiperspectival, multimethodological and uses what is available to complete whatever task at hand. The study will use Participatory Action Research (PAR) as methodology, in generating data voice recording will be used. The researcher and the co-researchers will analyze data using CDA at three levels which are textual, discursive and social structure. Activities concerning the findings and resolutions will be done and judgment will based on whether they meet the criteria of good practice or not and determine whether the intervention is working or not. The study will help teachers, learner, community and the department of education to improve performance of learners.

A Conceptual Framework for Reflexive Education and Training Practice in Sustainable Development Programs

McLean, Daryl and Rosenberg, Eureta

Context: Rosenberg noted at SAERA 2016 that sustainability issues manifest as a “’polycrisis’ in which there is not one single big problem, but rather a series of overlapping and interconnected problems, all with multiple dimensions”. She argued that

“in order to achieve the deep changes required, global and local communities, industries and individuals need to engage in conscious and collective reflexive processes, in social learning to search together for new answers. The intellectual project associated with this reflexive, learning-through-doing-and-reflection process is in some ways in its infancy”.

Rosenberg has taken forward the vision by establishing a Green Skills program, which will draw together individuals and organisations in a dialogue that will cascade back into the work of participants.  This paper aims to provide a conceptual framework for reflexive practice within the program along the lines envisioned by her initial paper, and is argued as necessary to educational practice for any decoloniality agenda.

The model synthesises conceptualisations of reflexivity from different traditions of scholarship globally and historically; core concepts from cultural historical activity theory (in particular, expansive learning) as well as cultural psychology; adaptive management strategies; theorising about generative social movements; and new developments in monitoring and evaluation practice.

Problem statement:

Expansive learning conceptualises learning as a process that “transforms and creates culture” (rather than transmitting or preserving it); a process that involves “horizontal movement, exchange and hybridization between different cultural contexts and standards of competence” (rather than “vertical improvement along some uniform scales of competence”); as a process that leads to “the formation of theoretical knowledge and concepts” (rather than “acquiring and creating empirical knowledge” – Engestrom, Y. 2010.  Activity Theory and Learning at Work).  However, Engestrom notes that a “major challenge for the study of expansive learning is to conceptualise and characterise empirically the new forms of agency involved in expansive processes”.

This resonates with work on generative social movements which places “cognitive liberation” as central to “the forms of organising that focus on building alternatives and new collective capacities for civic engagement rather than simply oppositional politics” (Voss, K and Williams, M 2009. The Local in the Global – Rethinking Social Movements in the New Millenium).  Voss and Williams describe “fierce criticism” of dominant theories of social movements for “ignoring questions about how individuals and organisations gain the capacity to act”.


The approach to reflexivity within the Green Skills program uses the Engestrom expansive learning model to structure the curriculum (incorporating “change laboratories” as one mode through which a network of thinkers will engage practitioners in sites of practice; as well as activity systems analysis and systemic structural activity theory as the methods to develop, elaborate and test different concepts retroductively).

Bhaktin’s “multi-voicedness” informs the effort to involve “all the conflicting and complementary voices of the various social groups and strata in the activity system”.  At the same time, “moral maps” drawn from sustainable development paradigms provide the “horizons of significance” against which evaluative decisions can be made individually and collectively.

Mindfulness practices (drawn from Asian models of reflexivity and being explored in higher education programs internationally) and semiotic analyses (drawn from African and American Indian approaches to reflexivity) are used to deepen the interrogation of self, interiority and individuality as part of the dialogue.

Leveraging Information Communications Technology (Ict) As A Landscape For Social Cohesion In Large Lecture Venues

Joy Turyagyenda

The paper focused on the strategies I adopted to manage large undergraduate classes in two modules namely Media and Classroom Competences and the method of Social Sciences modules in the Faculty of Education at the Nelson Mandela University.  During the process of managing large classes I used student monitors and on-screen-videos, created with Flash Back Express 5 Recorder, open source software, to provide feedback to students.

The adoption of the approach served to make students aware of good practice and common errors, and the activities designed by students both individually and collaboratively, were filed in folders and made available to the entire class to access electronically. Through reflective practice with peer monitors, increased student to student interactions, lecturer to monitors and student interactions social cohesion was effected. Secondly the shared folder, an addition to the Moodle course site, led to a democratisation of the process since students’ constructed resources were shared with the rest of the class. The findings of the study based on module evaluation forms and personal interviews indicated that students were positively predisposed to the approach adopted and through their iterations highlighted their willingness to access each other’s resources.  In this way the relationships became symbiotic.

Debate as an interactive tool in teaching English First Additional Language in grade 6: Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement

Maja Margaret Malewaneng Maja

Literature describes debate as an outstanding activity that encourages language learning by providing learners opportunities to voice their opinions by listening, talking, thinking, and consolidating these language skills into written format. The purpose of this study is to explore the use of debate as a learning tool in teaching English First Additional Language (EFAL) to enhance learners’ communicative skills. This multiple-case study involved two public primary schools in Tembisa Township of Gauteng Province where five teachers in Grade 6 classrooms were purposely selected. Semi structured interviews, observations, document analysis and field notes were the main data collection sources. It was found that some teachers do not implement debate as an interactive activity in this grade and is not also prescribed in the national Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). It is recommended that debate as an interactive activity should be included in the CAPS of grade 6 teaching plans and be implemented in this grade.

Presentations: 17:15 – 17:45

Transformative curriculum changes pedagogy and learning

Noxolo Mafu

The faculty of engineering at Vaal University of Technology (VUT) developed and implemented a new programme. Among the newly integrated courses, social intelligence module was also implemented. The is compulsory for all first year engineering students across the entire faculty. Its curriculum is social sciences oriented and issues-based, tapping into student’s prior learning experience, requiring analytical skills, reflections, dialogue, critical thinking and student engagement in pursuance of transformative learning. Social intelligence course is offered through 90% e-learning Blackboard experience and 10% teacher-student engagement in classroom. The dominant reliance on e-learning teaching and learning renders a student-centered and independent transformative learning experience. This is a qualitative and explorative research investigating the influence of the development and implementation of social intelligence in terms of its influence on pedagogy and learning experience.  A survey of 1200 engineering first year students is conducted with the aim to provide evidence which reveals that the new curriculum (particularly of social intelligence) can be a catalyst for transformative teaching and learning. A semi-structured interview process used to collect data from faculty members as an attempt to explicate that a new curriculum can be a catalyst for educational reform also forms part of the evidence. Emancipatory research approach also guides the study to provide a voice to the subjects, through student engagement that is shifting away from traditional pedagogy and learning, towards integration of pluralistic values, as they are situated in a diverse yet interconnected sphere.

Problematizing Multicultural and Democratic Education in Botswana:  When Access and Retention in School Signal Social Injustice

Prof. Agreement Lathi Jotia

The role that education plays in the building of the post-colonial African states cannot be overemphasized. Upon the attainment of independence, a lot of African states embarked on vigorous and robust reform and transformation oriented education policies which were not only geared towards the revamping of the almost dead, enslaving and irrelevant education systems but were also deliberately focusing on ascertaining that every child has access to education under the guise of Education for All. Botswana-just like many other post-colonial African states, made great strides in transforming her education system although a plethora of challenges still exist even today especially those pertaining to access and retention within the marginalized communities. It is therefore argued in this paper that the post-independence multicultural and pluralistic Botswana society still struggles with issues of access and retention in school which reveals pockets of social injustice in education as well as the shortfalls of democratic education in a country which is often branded as a classic shining example of African democracy. A case is made that there is absolute need to urgently put in place modalities which will not only ascertain that every child goes to school, but that they go to school and also remain in school to learn and leave the school environment as intellectually empowered and transformed individuals. The paper also contends that Botswana’s education system should recognize the multicultural diversity of the nation and try to address it rather than pursuing policies which ignore the heterogeneous nature of schools in particular and society in general.

The role of educators in motivating girls to study Physical Sciences: A perspective from secondary school educators

Shapule Modjadji

An Investigation into the Effectiveness of Implementing Mobile Learning: A Case of Walter Sisulu University Accounting Students in the Extended Programme

Zandile Nxenye, Khululwa Spelman

Mobile learning is defined as being capable to acquire or deliver educational content on personal pocket devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), tablets, smartphones and mobile phones so as to improve teaching and learning. In 2014 the Center for Learning and Teaching Development (LTD) of Walter Sisulu University embarked on a project of buying tablets for the students who enrolled for extended programme in their first year. This initiative was undertaken to help these students to have access to their study materials and resources at anytime and at the palm of their hands. Lecturers were also given the tablets and they were offered a training in order for them to be able use the device effectively in the courses that they are offering.  The main purpose of this paper is therefore to investigate the effectiveness of implementing mobile learning by both lecturers and students in the accounting extended programme in improving the teaching and learning. Walter Sisulu University, Queenstown Campus Accounting Extended Programme students will be used as a test case. Supporting theory to be used in this study will be different schools of thoughts to show clearly what really signifies mobile learning and also prospects and challenges will be identified.  The methodology that will be adopted basically in this study is qualitative research method which entails conducting interviews and focus groups. Quantitative approach will complement qualitative method through administering of questionnaires. This method will help the researcher gather more in-depth information about the topic at hand.

Assessment Of The Diffusion Of EAssessment Adoption In A Faculty Of Education Of A Rural-Based University

Khululwa Spelman, Newlin Marongwe, Zandile Nxenye

Technology, specifically the Internet has transformed how people do ordinary things, including how students access education.  With the advent of internet we now have e-learning. Assessments which are a vital aspect of teaching and learning also have been transformed by technology.  Many institutions of higher learning are now using Learning Management Systems (LMS) to conduct what is commonly called e-assessments.  E-assessments are assessments that utilise the internet as an online platform to distribute and facilitate assessments.  This study investigated the impact of e-assessment adoption in a selected rural university in Eastern Cape. Three hypotheses were formulated for the study. Data for analysis were collected with the use of questionnaires that were distributed to students and lecturers.  One Department from the Faculty of Education was purposively sampled for the study. One hundred (100) students registered for first, second, and third year of study, and ten (10) lecturers teaching in these levels, were randomly sampled to participate in the study.  Group focused interviews were also conducted to probe ambiguous and unclarified responses. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyse the data and INVIVO to transcribe and analyse interview data.  The findings revealed that, although both lecturers and students were enthusiastic about the idea of e-learning, their online activities have not diffused to incorporate areas of e-assessments.  The study also discovered that technology for teaching and learning, at this university is used mostly as a channel to distribute teaching and learning materials and broadcast communications between lecturers and students. Furthermore the study exposed that computer competencies on both lecturers and students have an effect on level of diffusion (what and how much is done on the LMS) of activities online.  The study thus recommends persistent training in e-learning technology for both staff and students if the university is to adopt e-learning and subsequently e-assessment.  It also recommends that more student facilities, computer laboratories and/hotspots, be increased, and the existing be improved and upgraded so that access can be easier.  Furthermore the paper advises that heads of department or subject advisors become active drivers for e-assessments.

Numeracy Instruction Through Games In Preschool Classrooms

Olabisi Adedigba, Jude Nyam

Numeracy serves as the basis for good understanding of mathematics in future which involves lifelong skills that children need to be successful in life. The very significance of numeracy is shown by various countries in their educational policies to bring mathematical concepts to preschool pupils as revealed in their objectives to teach them rudiments of number, shapes, space and measures. Games method in preschoolers’ classrooms makes learning simple and enjoyable. Therefore, there is need to authenticate its effectiveness in numeracy instruction. The study examined the impact of games on numeracy instruction in preschool classrooms. A pretest-posttest, control group, quasi-experimental 2x2x3 factorial matrix was adopted. Fifty Nursery Two pupils of intact classes in the selected two schools were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. The experimental group was exposed to instruction in numeracy using games method of instruction while the control group was taught using conventional method of instruction. The instruments used were Instructional Guide on Games Method for the experimental group and Conventional Instructional Guide for control groups, Pupils Numeracy Achievement Test (r=0.86) and Pupils’ Interest in Numeracy Scale (r=0.81). The data collected were analyzed using Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) and Multiple Classification Analysis (MCA). Results indicated that games method was effective on preschoolers learning of numeracy and also found to increase the children’s interest in numeracy instruction. Based on these findings, recommendations were made that child educators, parents and curriculum developers should embrace and encourage the use of games method to improve numeracy instruction among preschoolers.

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