The research activities of the Department are aligned with the strategic plan of the University as well as the South African National Development Plan. The national emphasis on Early Childhood and Foundation Phase enhanced the Faculty’s emphasis on the Department’s role in research in this knowledge domain. Over the past three years the Department has solicited contract research through the EU Research Project. The EU-funded project, which was obtained in 2010, is an inter-institutional project that focuses on strengthening Foundation Phase Teacher Education. It provides opportunities for collaboration in research and material development with three other national universities, namely the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Tshwane University of Technology and the Central University of Technology. This project enhanced the publication outputs within the Department. Research in the EU-funded project focuses on national priorities determined by the Department of Higher Education and Training. We are therefore responsive to society’s needs.
Staff members have also written several books and chapters in books. Five textbooks and one scholarly book have been published. Several chapters have been published in books. As our main focus is teaching and learning in Early Childhood and Foundation Phase, we are known for our specialisation fields. Many publishers contact us for assistance with the authoring or co-authoring of textbooks. These books, written for the South African context, are very useful and less expensive than international textbooks to prescribe or recommend to our students.
Staff members are acting as external examiners for postgraduate students at various universities. At present these are mostly national universities.
The Department strives to build a strong and high-quality postgraduate student community. In addition to a highly selective admissions process, the Department forms part of an intensive support and development programme for Masters and Doctoral students offered by the Faculty. This intensive support of postgraduate students has led to a substantial increase in the number of graduates in our Department. The Department’s students’ research and achievements are showcased in the Annual Postgraduate Research Indaba, a highly regarded event inside and outside of the University of Pretoria.