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College of Education

Community engagement

Educational research focusing on schools

Currently there are 26 Community Engagement (research) projects taking place across CEDU. The first grouping is those projects which are related to school management, governance and leadership, the next group are the projects related to gateway subjects and teacher development. These will feed into the development of the Teacher Centres, another CEDU project jointly embarked on with the Department of Basic Education (DBE). The third cluster of projects is related to Inclusive Education for which a new Centre of Excellence is going to be established at Unisa. The fourth group are those projects which are related to Early Childhood Development.

In the centre of the four groups or quadrants lies the 500 schools project which covers all these aspects. By means of the 500 Schools project much research information is being gathered, the outcomes of which will feed back into developing better practices at the schools and in how we train teachers, also at the teacher centres. The research is done together with the teachers who co-construct the knowledge about their situation and together they find ways of improving teaching and learning.

More information on some of these projects:

  • The 500 Schools research project investigates the underlying causes of under-performance in grades three and six with a view to developing an intervention approach
  • The Dynamics of Violence in Schools Project, has been embarked on jointly by the United Kingdom, Brazil, Pakistan and South Africa. The aim of the project is to facilitate international comparison of school violence through the generation of school-based indicators of violence and of security measures
  • The Vhembe Schools Project focuses on increasing learner performance in National Senior Certificate Examinations
  • The Early Childhood Development (ECD) Outreach Intervention is aimed at developing an understanding of the environment surrounding African, coloured and Indian students and investigates what the root causes are for the low success rate in BEd Foundation Phase and PGCE Foundation Phase courses
  • The Growing ECD Teachers in Rural Areas project is aimed at attracting and recruiting 100 young black females to register for a four-year Bachelor of Education degree in Foundation Education. The recruitment process will target learners in rural schools that have a good Grade 12 results
  • Ilima Lemfundo seeks to improve the teaching of indigenous languages in poorly performing schools
  • The Science Outreach in KwaZulu-Natal project aims to empower science teachers in rural areas through face-to-face contact sessions
  • An investigation into the teaching of science and mathematics to students in schools for the blind intends to evolve mathematics and science education for visually impaired learners
  • The Analyses of Mathematics Teacher Professional Development Programmes cross-continental collaborative study will analyse teacher professional development programmes with a view to improving the quality of these
  • A community project focused on the training of facilitators for persons living with hearing loss, which is aimed at developing a short learning programme in cooperation with the National Institute for the Deaf.

Unisa Early Learning Centre at Unisa Sunnyside Campus

The Unisa Early Childhood Education Centre (UECEC) on Sunnyside campus has recently been placed under the umbrella of the new College of Education (CEDU). The Executive Dean of CEDU, Prof KP Dzvimbo is the chairman of the board of trustees, ably assisted by Dr Soezin Krog and Prof Norma Nel. Read more...

"Lesson study" methods from Japan used to teach mathematics in Mamelodi

Ms Ronel Paulsen launched the first round of the project on 23 July 2009 in eight primary schools with the blessing and support of the Gauteng Department of Basic Education. Lesson study is a Japanese method used for teacher development. It formed part of research by Ms Paulsen on how the Asian Pacific countries excel with their mathematics training, part of which included the studying of classroom practises in Japan. Read more...

Professional Learning in School Management: Mpumalanga Project

In 2010, an Anglo American sponsored School Management Project was presented in the Nkangala region, approximately 100km east of Pretoria, for 30 education managers. The Project Leader was Prof. EJ van Niekerk, and was presented through the Centre for Community Training and Development. Read more...

Learn not to Burn

Every year and throughout the world we hear of people being burnt to death in their homes. Many people in South Africa lose their lives as a result of fires, especially in informal settlements, where poverty is rife. Most of these informal settlements are without electricity or adequate sources of heating, and residents are forced to seek alternatives, especially during winter. These usually take the form of open fires for cooking and keeping warm. Precautionary measures when working with fire make a significant contribution to curbing the number of deaths resulting from open source fires. Read more...