Department of Early Childhood Education

Prof HB Ebrahim

College of Education
School of Teacher Education
Department: Early Childhood Education
Tel: 012 429 8747


  • Pre and Junior Dip
  • BA
  • B.Ed (cum laude)
  • M.Ed (cum laude)
  • PhD

NRF Rating


Currently teaching

  • UNESCO Co-Chair in Early Childhood Education, Development and Care

Fields of academic interests

  • Early childhood policy, practice, curriculum  and teacher development

Field of Specialisation

  • Early childhood policy, practice, curriculum  and teacher development


Ebrahim HB, Okwany, A. & Barry O. (in press). Early Childhood Care and Education at the Margins: African Perspectives on Birth to Three. London/New York. EECERA and Routledge/Taylor Francis

Ebrahim HB (2017)  Early Childhood Education in Muslim Preschools: Rationales and Practice in South Africa . London/New York. Routledge/Taylor Francis.

Books Chapters

Okwany, A. & Ebrahim, HB. (in press). Creating visibility for birth to 3 in Africa: A push from the margins. In Ebrahim HB, Okwany, A. & Barry O.(Eds) (in press). Early Childhood Care and Education at the Margins: African Perspectives on Birth to Three. London/New York. EECERA and Routledge/Taylor Francis.

Gwele, M. & Ebrahim, HB. (in press).  Challenges in implementing in a home-visiting model for early childhood in South Africa. Ebrahim HB, Okwany, A. & Barry O. (Eds). (in press). Early Childhood Care and Education at the Margins: African Perspectives on Birth to Three. London/New York. EECERA and Routledge/Taylor Francis.

Ebrahim HB & Phatudi NC. (in press). Rights-based early childhood development in South Africa. In Pascal, C., Bertram, T., & Veisson, M. (Eds).London/New York. EECERA and Routledge.

Okwany, A. & Ebrahim, HB. (2016). Rethinking epistemology and methodology in early childhood research in Africa. In A. Farrell, SL Kagan & KM Tisdall. (Eds)The Sage Handbook of Early Childhood Research.

Ebrahim HB. (2013)  South Africa: who are the early years practitioners and where do they work?. In Georgeson, J. and Payler, J. (eds). International perspectives in early care and education. Maidenhead: Open University Press/ McGraw Hill.

Ebrahim, HB. (2012). Emerging models for ECD from birth to four in South Africa. In Papatheordorou, T. Debates on early childhood policy and practice. Global snapshots of pedagogical thinking and encounters. London, Routledge.

Ebrahim, HB & Penn, H. (2012).  Research on early childhood in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Halai, A & Williams, D (Eds).Researching Methodologies in the South. Oxford University Press: Pakistan.

Journal articles

Martin, CD & Ebrahim HB. (2016). Teachers’ discourses of literacy as social practice in advantaged and disadvantaged early childhood contexts. South African Journal of Childhood Education 6 (2) online p1-10.

Ebrahim, HB (2015). What is a Madrasa? Unveiling narratives from the margins. Southern African Education Review. 21 (2). 131-139.

Ebrahim, HB,  Martin, C, Koen, MP, Olivier, M & Van Zyl E. (2015). Teacher educators conceptions of teaching and learning in the early years. South African Journal of Higher Education. (29),3. 50-68

Shaik, N & Ebrahim HB (2015) Child participation in Grade R. SA Journal of Education. 35 (2). 1-12.

Muthukrishna N & Ebrahim HB (2014) Constructions of motherhood in the context of disabilities. Childhood. Published online  DOI: 10.1177/0907568214524233. 1-6.

Koen, MP & Ebrahim, HB. (2013) Using real world learning in the Foundation Phase. SA Journal of Education Vol 33. No. 3.

Ebrahim, HB. (2012) Tensions in incorporating global childhood into early childhood programmes: The case of South Africa. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood. Vol. 37. 3. 80-86.

Ebrahim, H.B.  (2012) Foregrounding silences in the South African National Early Learning Standards for  birth to four years. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal. DOI: 10.1080?1350293x.2012.738869.

Ebrahim, HB, Koen, MP & Martin, C. (2012) Interrogating the current imagination of early childhood teacher education through dialogical processes. Communitas. Vol. 17. 101-115.

Ebrahim, H.B. Verbeek,C & Mashiya, J.N. (2011). Enabling roles for teacher agency: Insights from the Advanced Certificate for Education (Foundation Phase). Perspectives in Education, 29, 4..

Declerq, B, Ebrahim HB, Koen, M., Martin,C., Van Zyl, E., Daries, G., Olivier,M.,  Venter R., Ramabenyane, J., Sibeko, L.  &  Sibeko , L (2011). Levels of well-being and involvement in centre-based provision for birth to four years in the Free State in South Africa. South African Journal of Childhood Education. Vol1.2.1-15.

Ebrahim, HB. (2011) Children as agents in early childhood education. Education as Change. Vol 15. 1. 121-131.

Ebrahim, HB. (2010) Dominant discourses of teachers in early childhood education. Perspectives in Education. Vol 28. 4. 80-88.

Ebrahim, HB. (2010) Conflicting discourses of private nursery entrepreneurs in KwaZulu-Natal.  Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. Vol 1. 1. 41-49.

Ebrahim, HB .(2010) Mapping historical shifts in early care and education in South Africa. Journal of Education. No 48.119-135.

Ebrahim, HB. (2008). Situated ethics: possibilities for young children as research participants in the South African context.  Early Child Development and Care. Vol. 180.3. 289-298

Ebrahim, HB. Killian. B, Rule, P (2008) Practices of ECD practitioners for poor and vulnerable children from 0 to 4 in South Africa. Early Child Development and Care DOI: 10.1080/03004430903392602. 1-10.

Ebrahim, HB. & Francis, D. (2008) You said, ‘Black girl’: doing difference in early childhood. Africa Education Review Vol 5.2. 274-287.

Govender, K. & Ebrahim, H.B (2008). Listening to the voices of children in early schooling in the South African context of HIV/AIDS. Journal of Psychology in Africa. Vol18.3.485-488.

Muthukrishna, N, Tshauka,F., Ebrahim, HB & Mbatha, T. Ntoi, V. (2008). Doing childhoods in the context of HIV and AIDS: Young children in early schooling speak. Journal of Psychology in Africa. 18.3. 223-230.

Paper presentations

National (2018)  Transforming the ECCE teacher education landscape  in South Africa (birth to four). South African Research Early Childhood Education (SARAECE). Forever Hotel. Centurion. 10-11 May

International (2017) International Keynote Address – Troubling parental involvement. Roehampton University. Roehampton UK. 5-7 July.

International (2017) Lansdowne Lecture -Muslim childhoods: critical issues in child rearing and early education. University of Victoria, Canada 21 September.     

International (2017) Transforming early childhood pedagogy through a child-oriented focus in plural societies. Early Childhood British Columbia. University of Victoria, Canada  20 September.

International (2017) Building multiple stakeholder participation for ECD. Basaigo University. Botswana.5 October.

National (2017) A transformative perspective on becoming child-oriented in ECCE.   South African Research Association Regional Conference (SARAECE), Eastern Cape  Rhodes university 24 November.

National (2016) Together with Prof A Okwany – Epistemic (in) justice in early childhood research. SARAECE National Conference. Johannesburg Resolution Circle. 20 January.

International (2016) Problematising agency in early childhood. Liverpool Hope University. Childhood Studies conference  Liverpool, UK. 23 June.

National (2016) Reimagining assessment in the early years. Global trends and local actions. UNICEF Knowledge Building seminar.Sierra Hotel, Pretoria  8 November.

National (2015) Messages for teacher education in the birth to four curriculum. Centenary Hall. Bloemfontein. 2 September.

National (2014)   The challenges in breaking the cycles of poverty through ECD. Unicef Gaborone, Botswana 2 December..

International (2013).Research in childhood studies, CODESRIA, Child and Youth Institute. Dakar, Senegal.16 to 20 September.    

National (2013) Building ECD programmes for birth to four. Prodimensions  Indaba Hotel, Fourways. 7 August.

National (2013) Challenges and Opportunities in Early Childhood Research. SARAECE University of Western Cape – School of Public Health. 14 August.

International. (2012). Bridging the divide for birth to four in South Africa. University of London: Institute of Education and Birmingham City University (UK) –. 29 May 2012 and 7 June 2012.

International (2012) University of East London (UK) – The national birth to four curriculum in South Africa – 24 May.

International (2011) Invited by the University of Cork. Tensions in incorporating global childhood into ECD programmes. University of Cork, Cork. Ireland.  7 and 8 April.

National (2010) Challenges that need to be addressed through a qualitative lens in Foundation Phase Teacher Education.National Teacher Directorate. 2 June.

National (2009) Examining approaches to Grade R in the South African context: issues and challenges. Montessori Association of South Africa. Johannesburg. 7 November.

International (2008). Indigenous knowledge and local practices:Asking the critical question. Bernard Van Leer Foundation Southern African Early Childhood Network. Durban. 18 November

International (2008). Conflicting discourses of private nursery entrepreneurs in KwaZulu-Natal. Overseas Development Bank (London) and University of East London. 2 June.

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

Professional position

  • 2018  Finalist in South African Women in Science Award
  • 2017  Winner of UNISA Women in Research (Leadership category)


2017-2019  Institutional Leader for EU, DHET and UNICEF funded Project for Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Education

2017-2019  Institutional Leader for DHET funded Tranformative Pedagogy Project for Birth to Four


  • Sector Editor for the South African Journal of Childhood Education
  • Editorial Board Member for the European Early Childhood Education Research Journal,
  • Research Fellow at the Centre for Mixed Economies in Child Care– University of East London (UK)