6th SAERA Conference 2018

Education 01? In search of a new operating system: making education more relevant, responsive and authentic.

Due to special requests, the organizing committee are inviting you to submit your abstract before 3 August 2018, for the SAERA 2018 Conference.

The SAERA executive would like to invite you to its 6th annual conference hosted by the Faculty of Education, North-West University.

Conference date
Monday 22 to Wednesday 24 October 2018

St George Hotel, Pretoria

Conference theme
Education 01? In search of a new operating system: making education more relevant, responsive and authentic.


Conference Theme

There is no denying that we live in a fast-changing world on all levels. How we communicate, how we travel, how we work, how we define social institutions such as the family, how we understand health and wellbeing, how we learn – all these have changed dramatically over recent years and naturally will continue to change going forward. Yet, the way we do education, particularly schooling and higher education, does not seem to have undergone the same rapid transformation. We are still “doing” education and educational research within a system that was developed to supply the nineteenth-century industrialised societies with the human resources to make meaningful contributions to a tightly controlled capitalist economy. We are no longer living in such times, and the challenges we face as a human race have become increasingly complex and ‘wicked’, necessitating us, as educators (in all senses), to think, teach and work differently – but although our research speaks to the need to transform, substantive changes seem difficult to attain.

This begs the question: What is the relevance of education and educational research in times such as these?

Drawing on the computer metaphor of Odora-Hoppers and Richards (2011), we contemplate the need to develop a completely new operating systems for education – a total rethinking of schooling, higher education, research and community-based learning – which will enable multi-paradigmatic, multi-epistemic, place-relevant learning and knowledge generation. Unless we change the operating system and the algorithm, changes to the hardware (schools, universities, funding programmes, etc.) and software (programmes, curricula, textbooks, etc.) will not have much of a positive effect. This means that the whole enterprise of research and education – approaches, traditions, assumptions, and theories – needs to be reviewed, not only for the sake of knowledge democracy and cognitive justice but also to ensure that education retains its practical relevance. As Adam Habib recently

voiced, for higher education to be relevant in today’s world, programmes have to be multidisciplinary in nature, offering modules from various disciplines and paradigms to enable students to be exposed to an ecology of and plurality of knowledges. Former themes in SAERA have been along this line, calling for a reimagining and a decolonisation of education. But how do we turn this rhetoric into reality? How do we operationalise our ideas? One problem is that we tend to talk only to other educational researchers, who are restricted in what they can do to effect change at a systemic level and so, this year, we invite delegates, not only from traditional universities but also from research organisations, nongovernmental and parastatal agencies (e.g. HSRC, DHET, professional councils, teachers’ unions, etc.) to come and present to create a national discursive space for dialogue around what educational research should address, could address and is addressing.

From this vantage point, this conference aims to create a space for collective discourse about our experiences, research and theorising. Although the conference themes speak to particular ideas within the debate on relevance and authenticity, they are also broad enough to encapsulate all areas of education theorising, engagement, research and teaching within all education contexts.

The pertinent question is: How do we make education more relevant, responsive and authentic?

You are thus invited to submit an abstract(s) focusing on what you are currently teaching, researching, engaging in, experiencing, struggling with, questioning, analysing or critically thinking about in your own or the broader educational context(s). We call for papers, posters, panel discussions, workshops, round-table discussions or SIG sessions on one or more of the following sub themes:

  • Relevance and authenticity of teaching and learning.
  • Relevance and authenticity of research in various educational contexts.
  • Relevance of current educational systems and policies.
  • Relevant and authentic policies and practice within various educational contexts.
  • Epistemology, ontology and methodology of authentic and relevant education.
  • Relevant teacher education policy and practice.
  • Relevant and authentic experiences of students around access and success.
  • Relevant and authentic curriculum and pedagogy.
  • Relevant and authentic resistance, renewal and transformation within the educational framework.
  • Relevance and authenticity in postgraduate study and thesis supervision.
  • Relevance in language, literacy and learning.
  • Relevant and authentic view on professional educator identity and professional development.
  • Relevant interactions of education and communities.
  • Relevance and authenticity of leadership, management and policy implementation.
  • Relevant and authentic mathematics, science and technology education.
  • Relevant and authentic education systems for social justice.

ReferencesOdora-Hoppers, C. & Richards, H. 2011. Rethinking Thinking: Modernity’s “Other” and the transformation of the University. Pretoria: UNISA Press.

Call for Papers

The programme will include the presentation of individual papers, round-table discussions, panel discussions and workshops.

We invite you to submit abstracts for:

  • Individual papers:
    300 – 400 words, paper title, name(s) of presenter(s), affiliation(s) and email address(es), four to six keywords.
    This presentation will consist of a 15-minute presentation around a critical question emanating from your work in relation to the conference theme and 15 minutes audience interaction.
  • Panel presentations:
    1000-words outlining abstract of panel topic, panel chairperson and names of panel participants, affiliation and email addresses of participants, four to six keywords.
    In a panel presentation of 90 minutes, abstracts should give a brief overview of each paper presented and indicate the common theme in relation to the conference theme. Please include critical questions for audience interaction.
  • Round-table discussions:
    300 – 400 words, paper title, name(s) of presenter(s), affiliation(s) and email address(es), four to six keywords.
    During this 90-minute discourse, five or six people will converse a similar theme; each person can prepare a handout for others so that they only need to give a 5-minute overview of their paper in relation to the conference theme and the rest of the time is spent on discussion. This is a suitable platform for emerging researchers, postgraduate students or delegates wishing to present a work in progress on which they would like advice and guidance.
  • Posters:
    300 words, poster title, name(s) of presenter(s), affiliation(s) and email address(es), four to six keywords.

Submission of Abstracts

Proposals for presentation of papers at the SAERA 2018 conference in the relevant form, as described above, should be submitted by email to Petra Lawson conferencepl@gmail.com  on the prescribed form. (Only abstracts submitted on the prescribed form will be accepted.)Acknowledgement of receipt of all abstracts:Within three working days of the abstract having been successfully submitted, an email will be sent to the presenting author(s) to acknowledge receipt. The author will also be provided with an abstract number that should be stated in all further correspondence.

Abstract proposals will be considered on a continual basis with a very quick turnaround time. A detailed programme will be announced once it has been finalised.
Please take note: Each delegate may only present a maximum of two (2) papers.

Your presentation will be removed from the programme if –

  • you do not register on or before 6 September 2018; or
  • payment is not received on or before 28 September 2018.
    (Please take note that a PurchaseOrder is NOT proof of payment.)

Important Dates

Due date for submission of abstracts: Extended to 3 August 2018

Due date for registration: 6 September 2018
Due date for payment and proof of payment: 28 September 2018

Delegates need to submit proof of payment on or before the due date to ensure attendance/presentation at the conference.

Conference Registration Fees

The following conference registration fee structure is applicable:

*Proof of registration for postgraduate study must be attached to conference registration form. **Only one day of the conference may be attended on this option.

The full registration fee includes registration, membership fee, conference material, refreshments, lunch, cocktail function and gala dinner, but excludes all travelling costs, accommodation and any other refreshments not included on the programme.

Daily rates include registration, conference material, refreshments and lunch, but exclude all travelling costs, accommodation and any other refreshments not included on the programme.

Regrettably no refunds, but you are most welcome to send a substitute at no extra cost.

Complete the delegate registration form and forward it to Bronwyn or Petra Lawson. An official invoice will subsequently be emailed to you to confirm your successful registration.

Please fax/email a copy of the deposit slip or proof of electronic transfer to Bronwyn or Petra Lawson at fax no. +27 (0)86 541 1173 or email conferencepl2@gmail.com.

Conference registration fees

Accommodation & Transportation

All costs (travel, accommodation or subsistence) related to participation in the conference must be covered by the participant, regardless of the proposal acceptance. SAERA is not liable and holds no responsibility for any of these costs.

A number of rooms have been reserved at the St George Hotel to cater for delegates. It is recommended that you book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

*St George Hotel is a 3-star facility. Other options for more or less expensive accommodation at venues in close proximity to the St George Hotel are also available. All accommodation bookings can be done through Narina Basson at narina@thusares.co.za or 082 901 1883.

Transport from and to airports can also be arranged through Narina Basson at narina@thusares.co.za or 082 901 1883.


General and Registration:

Bronwyn & Petra Lawson
Conference administrators (SAERA 2018)
Email: Petra Lawson conferencepl@gmail.com
Fax to mail: 27 (0) 86 541 1173
Phone: 27 (0) 74 2018 7323 or 27 (0) 83 231 6538

Local Organising Committee:

Carolina Botha
018 299 4732 or 082 879 7786

Corlia Twine
018 299 2149

The organisers reserve the right to change or cancel the published venue, programme, dates and/or fee due to unforeseen circumstances.

Confirmed Speakers

Panel Chair: Aslam Fataar
Faculty of Education, Stellenbosch University, Cape Towntus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lesley Le Grange
University of Stellenbosch

Simphiwe Sesanti
University of South Africa (Unisa)’s Institute for African Renaissance Studies (IARS)

Stephanie Matseleng Allais
Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL) at Wits University

Wayne Hugo
University of KwaZulu-Natal

Panel Chair: Michael Samuel
School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Ahmed Bawa
Chief Executive Officer of Universities South Africa (USAf)

Whitty Green
South African Department of Higher Education and Training

Zahraa McDonald
Centre for International Teacher Education (CITE) at CPUT

Leigh-Ann Naidoo
UCT School of Education

John Volmink
Durban University of Technology and CPUT

Panel Chair: Robert Balfour
North-West University

Susan Coetzee-Van Rooy
North-West University

Rosemary Wildsmith-Cromarty
Early Childhood Development and Education at North-West University

Mbulungeni Madiba
Centre of Higher Education Development (CHED) at the University of Cape Town