The SAERA executive would like to invite you to its 10th annual conference hosted by the Faculty of Education, Rhodes University.

Main Conference Dates: 
31 October – 3 November 2023 
ECR Pre-Conference Workshop (Monday 30 October 2023) – Blue Lagoon Hotel, East London
Conference Main Programme (31 October – 3 November) – Premier Regent, East London


Due date for submission of abstracts: 22 June 2023

Due date for registration: 11 September 2023

Due date for payment: 30 September 2023

Submit Abstracts For 2023 SAERA Conference

The conference will be conducted as an in-person, onsite event. The keynote presentations and SIG events will be live-streamed for wider access.  The first 270 delegates who register  will be allowed to attend the conference in-person. Therefore, we urge you to register early if you plan to attend this conference. 

Conference Theme

Education(al) Foundations

Currently there is much emphasis, and rightly so, on the foundations for future learning and life chances, laid in Early Childhood Education and Foundation Phase schooling. Researchers are building knowledge around literacy and numeracy development, the languages of teaching and learning and other aspects of educating young children. Given how disappointing the outcomes of early years education have been in many respects, it is vital that we share our studies and insights, theoretical and empirical advances in this critical arena of education, including improvements in teaching and learning. We look forward to this being a strong strand in the conference.

But the nature of education is such that it is always laying foundations, for application in the world of work, for example, and for further learning, and open-ended futures. Thus foundations of various kinds are being laid in intermediate and senior phase schooling; in vocational education and training; in community, workplace-based and work-integrated learning, and in higher education, in the first year of arriving at university, and as post-graduates lay their particular foundations for educational leadership. What are the break-through insights into how better to build learners’ capacities through programmes across schooling, higher education, vocational training, organisational and wider development contexts? What are the barriers that thwart learners, educators and leaders? And above all, how do we see our practices, challenges and successes, in relation to the future?

Education(al) Futures

Many researchers are giving thought to what the future for which education prepares learners and students may look like. In South Africa the post-apartheid education and training landscape sought to do just that. And, old and current exclusions remain a strong focus of contemporary educational research in search of new futures. This occurs in a context of new technologies including artificial intelligence; climate crises and dwindling natural resources; increased displacements and migrations; economic failures and jobless growth, all of which present some of the likely features of the near future, as they are already part of the present. The Futures of Education Commission (UNESCO, 2021) led by the President of Ethiopia, Her Eminence Sahle-Work Zewde, raises the possibility and potential of Africa’s young people, asking us to radically rethink how we offer education, training and development for regenerative African futures. Their report calls for a new social contract for education, to Re-Imagine the Future Together, to urgently move beyond the confines of the colonial and human capital traditions of education, in search of education(s) that give attention to human well-being and planetary well-being and the connections between these. It is a clarion call for researchers involved in re-imagining (at times with others) not only what educational future(s) might look like, but how such aspirations can be ‘birthed’ through our current praxis and research. 

New technology and online learning, for example, have significant implications for curriculum design, pedagogy, assessment, research and theory building, but as a growing field of research in the region has shown, in themselves they do not guarantee inclusive, or more justly transgressive or transformative futures for Africa’s young people. We have also learned hard lessons of over-idealising educational future(s) in South Africa. Other policy visions such as the African Union’s ‘Vision 2063: The Africa We Want’ have been guiding contextualised engagement with the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and tools such as the African Framework of Standards and Competencies for Teacher Education (AU 2015), which reframe the meaning(s) of what quality education for all might look like, and invite re-imagining how to provide it. Are we engaged with such future(s) visioning, and with what implications for policy, pedagogy, curriculum and assessment? And, what can we learn from comparative studies with the rest of Africa, and beyond?