Category: Conference

PLENARY PANEL: TUESDAY OCTOBER 23rd 2018 Diverse voices in educational research

 At the last 2017 SAERA conference, a critique was raised that the SAERA organisation and its conference needed to hear a more diverse range of voices about educational research, other than that of seasoned academics/ researchers/ experienced supervisors/ lecturers/specific institutional types, and to look at alternative formats to how conferences can be run to accommodate a more “social justice agenda”. The perspective (largely) of postgraduate students, was tabled at the SAERA Exec who asked the SAERA conference planners to consider hearing a more diverse set of perspectives about educational research from a broader range of stakeholders within the conference. Some of these matters have been addressed in the present conference: there is now a  developmental workshop for postgraduate students; the conference is being located to a “more affordable venue”; an invitation has been sent to UOTs’ Deans of Education to submit abstracts; the notices for conference have gone to all higher education institutions nation-wide; there are regional activities to decentralise the visibility of the organisation; more local than international speakers have been selected as plenary inputs; etc…. However, the panel is geared to reflect on what has been achieved to date in hearing the diverse voices of educational researchers, and what more still needs to be done.  The executive committee has considered that it might be useful to hear perspectives from a range of stakeholders about how they conceptualise the kinds of research (substantive content and form) that should be done by educational researchers within and outside university structures. Comments are  invited also about what shape and form conferencing about educational research in the specific South African    context should take. The panel members will each present a short input (+/-8minutes each) followed by a plenary discussion with conference delegates. This panel might be a useful opportunity to put in dialogue how educational research is viewed from multiple vantage points in order to promote a collaborative space for sharing interests and perspectives.

PANEL CHAIR: Michael Samuel

Michael Samuel is a Professor in the School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal. He holds  a Doctorate in Education from the University of Durban-Westville which focuses on a Force field model of teacher development. He has served as a curriculum designer of innovative masters and collaborative doctoral cohort programmes locally and internationally. He has also been a member of the Ministerial Committee on Teacher Education assisting the development of national teacher education policy in South Africa. He has served as Dean (Faculty of Education, UKZN). His research interest focuses on teacher professional development, higher education, life history and narrative inquiry. His book, Life history research: Epistemology, methodology and representation has inspired several studies of professional development in education and the health sciences. Continuity, complexity and change: Teacher education in Mauritius, explores the challenges and possibilities facing a small island in negotiating its presence in global and international discourse of comparative higher education and teacher education. His new book Disrupting higher education curriculum: Undoing cognitive damage explores options for imaginative redirection of higher education curriculum design. He has recently contributed to an international emergent discourse on the role of small islands developing states focusing on global partnerships for higher education research written collaboratively with a colleague in Mauritius where he runs a doctoral programme. He is the recipient of the Turquoise Harmony Institute’s National Ubuntu Award for Contribution to Education.


Ahmed Bawa currently holds the position of Chief Executive Officer of Universities South Africa (USAf). Until the end of April 2016, he was Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Durban University of Technology. Before that, he was a faculty member at Hunter College in the City University of New York as well as Associate Provost for Curriculum Development at Hunter College. He has led and coordinated the Ford Foundation’s African Higher Education Initiative. Ahmed Bawa holds a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the University of Durham, in the UK.  He was an inaugural member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa as well as the Academy of Science of South Africa.


Whitty Green is Chief-Director for Teaching and Learning Development in the South African Department of Higher Education and Training, and leads the work of the Department in respect of supporting the development of a university-based teacher education system that is able to produce sufficient numbers of high quality teachers for all   education sub—sectors; developing, implementing and monitoring policy and programmes to support and oversee the Department’s University Capacity Development Programme; and development of a coordinated system for the management of international postgraduate scholarship partnerships. Dr Green was formerly a school teacher, teacher training college lecturer and university academic.


Zahraa McDonald is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for International Teacher Education (CITE) at CPUT. She holds a PhD from the University of  Johannesburg that examines Islamic Education and post-secular citizenship in South Africa. Her thesis has been published titled Expressing post-secular citizenship: A madrasa, an ethic and comprehensive doctrine. She has completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stellenbosch University and UCT in the areas of citizenship education and religion education. Her current research interests are student teachers experiences of teacher education. In particular how this field may contribute understanding education systems and how individuals are authorised to legitimate literacy, knowledge and power.


Leigh-Ann Naidoo was raised in an anti-apartheid activist home, surrounded by radicals who taught her from a very young age the value of critique and radical praxis. She trained as a physical education and history teacher at the University of the Western Cape. Leigh-Ann worked at Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism at Wits University  and in 2013 she completed an MEd on the role of radical pedagogy in the South African Student Organisation and the Black Consciousness Movement of the 1970s. She joined the UCT School of Education in 2017. Her research interests are in education and social justice, social movements as sites of knowledge production, the roles of education in  resistance movements.


John Volmink completed a PhD in mathematics education at Cornell University, Ithaca NY in 1988. John served as Campus Vice-Principal at the then University of Natal, Durban and later Pro-Vice Chancellor for Partnerships at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has also been centrally involved in curriculum reform in post-apartheid South Africa and has been asked by all four Ministers of Education to play a leading role in the transformation of education in the new South Africa. He served for four years (2006 -2010) as the Chairperson of Umalusi Council, and is now serving a third term as Chair of Council. In 2016 he served as the Interim Vice-Chancellor of the Durban University of Technology and also Acting Vice-Chancellor at CPUT in 2017.


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PLENARY PANEL: MONDAY OCTOBER 22nd 2018 The curriculum knowledge imperative in South African education


The politics of knowledge in South African universities recently witnessed a radical discursive rupture. The call for decolonising education has been the cornerstone of the students’ recognition struggles at universities. Mobilising on the basis of their demand for free education, students across the university sector articulated the need for change in university knowledge and curricula in the light of what they described as their exposure to Eurocentric, racist and sexist knowledge at untransformed institutions. They argued that such a knowledge orientation is at the heart of their experience of alienation at the university. They suggested that only the complete overhaul of the curriculum on the basis of a decolonising education approach would provide them the type of educational access that addresses their emerging African- centred humanness. This panel will work with / against the call for decolonising education which has raised fundamental questions about reframing the purposes of education. Centring Africa-centric epistemology is at the heart of this educational reframing. The panel will consider languages of description to inform curriculum knowledge selection in educational contexts.  In other words, the debate will centre on the bases on which curricula in universities, schools and colleges are constituted.  The panel is based on the view that a decolonial politics of knowledge, despite some limited activity at a few universities to develop decolonial curricular approaches, operates at the level of symbols and politics. Instead, the debate should turn to considerations about the terms of the curriculum veracity of a decolonial approach. The panel discussion therefore shifts the focus to what counts as curriculum knowledge based on decoloniality, and the conceptual bases on which university departments, programmes and courses would  organise their curriculum knowledge assemblages based on such an approach.

PANEL CHAIR: Aslam Fataar

Aslam Fataar is currently a distinguished professor in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town. He completed a PhD in 1999 and served as a Visiting Professor at Ohio University in the USA in 1999.  He completed a Fulbright Research Scholarship at Illinois University, USA  from August 2005 until June 2006. Aslam specialises in education policy the sociology of urban education. His first published book (2010) focuses on ‘Education Policy Development in the South African transition: 1990-1997’, His second book, published in 2015, is titled ’Engaging Schooling Subjectivities across Post-Apartheid Urban Spaces’. He has recently developed a focus on the sociology of curriculum. He has edited one book (2018), co-edited 6 books, and published more than 80 academic articles and chapters. He does active service work on two UNESCO commissions, one is the UNESCO Country Commission on educational development in Southern Africa, and the other is the Global City Network initiative based in Hamburg.  He held a B3 rating between 2009 and 2015, and currently rated as C1.


Lesley Le Grange is Distinguished Professor at Stellenbosch University. He is a former Vice-Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Education and teaches and researches in the fields of environmental education, research methodology, science education, curriculum studies, higher education studies and assessment. He has 205 publications to his credit and serves on editorial boards of eight peer-reviewed journals. He is a chairperson of the Accreditation Committee and member of the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) of the Council on Higher Education in South Africa. He is Vice-President of the International Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies (IAACS) and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (UK).


Simphiwe Sesanti is an Associate Professor at the University of South Africa (Unisa)’s Institute for African Renaissance Studies (IARS), and deputy editor of the International Journal of African Renaissance Studies (IJARS). His PhD (Journalism Studies) was obtained at Stellenbosch University where he taught for 7 years in the Department of Journalism. He has also taught in the Department of Journalism, Media and Philosophy at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He has published in accredited journals on a variety of issues, including gender, African philosophy, journalism and religion. He is an author of two books, a co-editor of one book, and a contributor of chapters in a number of books. In 2018 he was awarded an NRF rating, C2.


Stephanie Matseleng Allais is the SARCHi Research Chair of Skills Development at the Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL) at Wits University. Her research is in the sociology and political economy of education, curriculum, and policy, focused on relationships between education and work. Prior to joining Wits University she was a fellow at the Centre for Educational Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. Before this she managed and conducted research into qualifications frameworks in 16 countries for the International Labour Organization.



Wayne Hugo is an associate professor at UKZN. He is   currently recovering from a bout of writing that resulted in four books by travelling around Africa, exploring disruptive education technologies, trying to get a handle on what to do about the massive demand for worthwhile education from our youth in a world gone awry.





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SAERA Doctoral Dissertation Award


South African Education
Research Association

Promoting and supporting research in education


Administrative e-mail:  az.oc.areasnull@esor


The SAERA Doctoral Dissertation Award may be made annually to an outstanding PhD thesis awarded by a South African Higher Education Institution in the field of education.


SAERA Doctoral Dissertation Award Email: az.oc.areasnull@esor


  1. Criteria for an outstanding PhD thesis


1.1 Makes a substantial and original contribution to theoretical, empirical, and/or methodological knowledge in education.

1.2 Shows outstanding research quality, including rigour, transparency and validity/trustworthiness.

1.3 Has potential impact for policy-makers, practitioners, and other research users or provides a significant conceptual and theoretical contribution to its field.

1.4 The study has a transformative intent. There are indications that the research is aimed at advancing theories and methodologies in socially critical ways.

1.5 Evidence of published or submitted research outputs would strengthen the nomination


  1. Eligibility

2.1 The degree should have been awarded during the calendar year preceding (i.e. the award for the year 2018 is for a degree granted during the period 30 April 2017 to 30 April 2018). ‘Degree awarded’ means when the University formally wrote to confirm the award rather than the graduation ceremony.


  1. Process of nomination

3.1 Any SAERA member may nominate an outstanding PhD thesis for the award.

3.2 The following documents must be submitted to az.oc.areasnull@esor by 30 June 2018:

  1. A completed nomination form;
  2. A proposer’s statement of no more than 1,000 words in support of the nomination. The statement should clearly indicate how the work makes a significant contribution to education research against the relevant SAERA Doctoral Thesis Award criteria for assessment;
  3. The examination reports (these may be anonymised if required by the rules of the HEI, and if requested by the examiners);
  4. Proof of any publications emanating from the thesis that have been accepted for publication or published from the dissertation;
  5. An electronic copy of the full dissertation.


  1. 4. The evaluation process

The evaluation panel will comprise three SAERA executive members, plus one other member nominated by the Executive Committee. The evaluation panel will examine all the documentation per nominee and make a decision based on how well the thesis meets the criteria.

  1. Award

The SAERA Doctoral Dissertation Award will be awarded at the Annual conference. The recipient will be sponsored to attend the conference, and receive SAERA membership for a year. The recipient will be expected to present his/her work at the conference, and to write a summary of the study to be placed on the SAERA website


Nomination form SAERA PhD award 2018

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Book Launch Opportunity


Dear SAERA member,




The SAERA 2018 conference hosted by the NWU Faculty of Education will be held from 22 – 24 October 2018. We would like to invite all SAERA members who recently published a book and or/ chapter in a book to present their book/s at the book launch and cocktail event on the 22nd of October.


For a fee of R2000-00 you will be provided with a table where you can exhibit your recently published book/s. Delegates will be able to walk around from one table to the other and be introduced to your work.


If you are interested in this opportunity or have any questions in this regards, please make contact.


Kindest regards

Corlia Twine LOC (SAERA 2018)


Tel: 018 299 2149


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17th BOLESWANA Conference in July 2018 in Windhoek, NAMIBIA

17th BOLESWANA Conference in July 2018 in Windhoek, NAMIBIA

The date for the submission of abstracts has been extended to 28 Feb 2018. SAERA is a member of BOLESWANA.
Conference theme: “Research for the Transformation of Teacher Education: Teaching for Equity and Relevance”

BOLESWANA is a research body composed of sister education research associations from Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, and the new addition, South Africa. This body of international educational research associations holds a biennial symposium that is hosted, on a rotational basis by member associations. The Namibia Educational Research Association (NERA) is hosting the 17th edition of this symposium in July 2017, in Windhoek, Namibia. BOLESWANA symposia bring together experts from the SADC region, Africa and beyond, to share knowledge, experiences and scientific evidence on educational matters. The Symposium is therefore a platform for sharing, reflecting and setting agenda for education improvement.
For more information, go to

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Call for SAERA Research Honours Award 2018

South African Education Research Association

Call For SAERA Research Honours Award

In 2017, SAERA launched its inaugural call for the Research Honours award.

The SAERA Research Honours award may be made annually to an individual for an outstanding contribution to educational research in South Africa.

email: az.oc.areasnull@esor

  1. Criteria for SAERA Research Honours award

1.1 The individual has contributed to the development of education research in South Africa over a sustained period of time and has made an exceptional contribution with respect to i) research outputs of consistently high quality (e.g. sustained, excellent post graduate supervision; journal articles and book chapters; edited and sole authored books) and ii) through meaningful service to education research (e.g. role in South African research associations; research innovation/management positions; research development).

1.3 The contribution should promote the transformational agenda of SAERA in terms of research in South Africa.

  1. Eligibility

2.1 The nominee should be a South African citizen/permanent resident.

  1. Process of nomination

3.1 Any SAERA member may nominate an individual for the award.

3.2 The following documents should be submitted to az.oc.areasnull@esor by 31 August 2018:

  1. A completed nomination form (available below) signed by the nominator and nominee.
  2. A nominator’s statement of 1000 words maximum in support of the nomination. The statement should clearly indicate how the nominee has contributed to the development of education research in South Africa.
  3. Supporting documents may be attached to validate the statement if wished.
  4. Evaluation process

The evaluation panel will comprise 2 executive members of SAERA, plus two members nominated by the evaluation panel. Their recommendation will be approved by the full executive of SAERA.

  1. Award

The SAERA Research Honours award will be presented at the annual conference in the form of a framed certificate. The recipient will be sponsored for registration of the conference and will thus receive SAERA membership for the coming year. The recipient will be expected to present an overview of their work at the conference

Click below for nomination form

Call for SAERA Research Honours_ Award 2018 Nomination form>

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This year’s award was won by Dr Bruce Damons from Nelson Mandela University. He was nominated by his colleague Dr Deidre Geduld for his thesis entitled “A COLLABORATIVELY CONSTRUCTED PROCESS MODEL FOR UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORTING THE WORK OF THE COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER IN A COMMUNITY SCHOOL”. He was promoted by Prof Lesley Wood, with Dr A Witten as his co-promoter. This thesis was judged by all three examiners as making an important international contribution to the field of school leadership and community-based research and was accepted by all without any required changes (not even technical ones!). The thesis explored how community volunteers could be recruited, supported and sustained to assist a community school operating in difficult socio-economic conditions in achieving basic school functionality. Following a Participatory Action Learning and Action Research (PALAR) design, he recruited 15 community volunteers and formed an action learning set where they collaboratively sought to understand the processes and conditions needed to recruit, support and sustain community volunteers and their involvement in the school. Transcripts and visual artefacts from the action learning set meetings and a focus group meeting of the school management team were analysed to generate data, complemented by secondary sources, such as documents. This participatory approach to data generation allowed the voice of every participant to be heard; agency was increased through active participation; and the sense of affiliation to the group was deepened. The iterative design of the research process further ensured that the participants also engaged in a critical discourse analysis of the emerging data, of which the trustworthiness was enhanced through the use of dialogic and process, catalytic, rhetoric, democratic and outcome validity. The emergence of the data through this collaborative engagement was underpinned by the ethical values of mutual respect; equality and inclusion; democratic participation; active learning; making a difference; collective action; and personal integrity.
The findings revealed that community volunteers did add immense value to the school by supporting teaching and learning processes. However, the community volunteers also harboured expectations of material support and opportunities to develop skills. In addition, the study revealed that the hierarchical culture and structures present in most South African schools need to become more democratic and collaborative, with those working to make the school more functional, including community volunteers, being valued, acknowledged and supported. The participants also constructed their understanding of what a community school should be and do and how it should serve the interests of the children from the community. A process model was constructed from these findings regarding on ways to recruit, sustain and support community volunteers involved in community schools, specially designed so that schools could adapt it to suit individual contexts. In addition, a manual of the process model was generated so that the participants could facilitate other schools to implement it.

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