Faculty of Education
Prof I Eloff, Dean
Telephone number: 012 420 3515
Fax number: 012 420 4215
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Message by the Dean
The state of education is a high priority in South Africa at the moment. We are at a juncture, like nowhere before, where it is crucial for researchers, policymakers, educationists and practitioners to work together to strengthen the capacities that are available in the education system, but also to address the numerous challenges that we face in education.
The challenges are considerable, for example in terms of demands on educators, alarming literacy and numeracy skills in learners, HIV & AIDS and others. However, while it is important to acknowledge the challenges, we also need to recognize the debilitating effect of continued negative discourses around education. Educational realities are constructed and contested through the narratives we create and the stories we choose to foreground.
In this regard, it is therefore noteworthy that some of the best educational researchers on the continent of Africa make the Faculty of education at the University their home. Consequently, this faculty is where you will find the leading studies on literacy, numeracy, mathematics and science education, the psychology of resilience, the training of teachers in integrated arts, teacher migration, exceptional patterns of racial integration and increased participation of children with special needs.
During 2007 the faculty combined the focus of its research projects to include lenses that focus outwards, while also reflecting inwards on the state of education. We were in the pre-schools, schools and universities where education provides the building blocks of our transforming society. We were in our own lecture halls and community engagement programmes to amplify the need to continually improve our practice and align knowledge creation accordingly. While we take great care to protect the educational processes we may be investigating, we also emphasize the importance of creating knowledge that is strongly entrenched in classroom realities.
We interrogated the intrinsic processes of scholarship in education, while responding to the growing needs of high quality teacher training in South Africa. We explored locally and we connected internationally. While we explored the intricacies and challenges of current-day education, we also highlighted the possibilities intrinsic to being able to impact on education.
The robust connections between research, teaching and learning, as well as community engagement in the Faculty of education contribute notably to the quality and depth of research endeavors in the Faculty. Research is viewed as integrally linked to practice and social responsibility is ingrained in the work that is done. The Faculty values deep-seated relationships within the educational, psychological, and policy environments in which research is conducted.
As a signifier of the prominence of high quality research in our Faculty, two of the prestigious NSTF awards were awarded to researchers in the Faculty of education during the last year. Short articles on Professors Annemarie Hattingh and Saloshna Vandeyar appear elsewhere in this report.
The awards were made for sterling contributions and leadership in capacity development in research in science and technology. The fact that both of these awards were made to women academics symbolizes the emphasis on equity and diversity in the Faculty of education.
Several books of researchers in the Faculty of education were published by leading publication houses during 2007. The book publications ranged from cutting-edge textbooks to scholarly book publications that capture current-day educational issues. The themes ranged from academic motherhood to values in education and from first steps in educational research to identity, diversity and teaching for social justice. Similarly, multimedia publications on classroom literacies and music education were also developed.
The facultyís cadre of researchers is leading some of the largest funded research projects in Southern Africa. They are also aligning their research goals with intensified capacity development by investing in young and upcoming researchers.
Continuing an established tradition of delivering high quality postgraduate-students annually, numerous masterís degree and PhD-students completed their studies in the Faculty during 2007. These studies are often quoted internationally and students are invited to present their findings to national and international forums on a regular basis. The Faculty maintains a growing stream of exceptional international postgraduate students from Kenia, Nigeria, Namibia, Mozambique, Europe, Asia and the Americas.
The Faculty continues to build its five research focus areas, namely HIV/AIDS, assessment and evaluation, the scholarship of teaching and learning, educational change and distance education. The research focus area co-coordinators of the five research foci enjoy wide esteem within their fields and often serve as expert consultants to stakeholders and funding organizations.
Prof Irma Eloff