Welcome to the UJ Institute for Childhood Education
The state of education in South Africa is termed by many as one that is in ‘crisis’. At this Faculty we have decided to be part of the solution to this problem in an innovative way. We have based an ambitious and long-term programme on consistently-produced research findings that the potential to achieve academically depends much on what was put into place during early childhood and early school education.
To this end, this Faculty has envisioned a place that would concern itself intensively with understanding and developing Childhood Education. We want to find out what it is that promotes or hinders the foundational acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills in the early ages of 5-9 years. The place that we envisioned is an institute that will combine research with practice in a creative way and that is located on the University’s Soweto campus. The choice of this location was motivated by the fact that it is the most populous metropolitan and multi-lingual township in the country, serving as an example on which other urban initiatives (national and international) can be modeled.
This institute comprises a school that is both a teaching, a teacher training, and a research site. It is a place where children can be observed and their progress closely and consistently monitored over a long-term period, while at the same time a place where the new knowledge gained from such observation can be applied as it comes ‘hot off the press’, so to speak. We have called the overall institute the University of Johannesburg Institute for Childhood Education (UJICE) and the school the Funda UJabule schoolwhich means ‘learn and be joyous’ in isiZulu. This school is a public school in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE).
We are not just interested in the children’s development. We understand that families and communities, in addition to the teachers, play a vital role in the acquisition and development of those foundational numeracy and literacy skills. Thus the research and the service focus of the institute also includes the wider community.
Teachers are of course the ‘make-or-break’ pillar of any educational endeavour and our aim is also to train teachers in their knowledge and understanding of what it takes to impart those skills to their pupils. With this in mind we have created a new Bachelor of Education Degree programme that will focus mainly on how to become an effective teacher in this early phase of life. Students will act as researchers in the school and lecturers will teach those students how to become effective in their professions. We want other schools in the country (and elsewhere) to benefit from our experiences, mistakes, insights and progress, and for this reason we are going to launch a new academic journal on education in the early school years. This journal will publish the research conducted in the institute and its school.
For researchers: contextualising the lab school
School launch July 2011
See also see Prof Elizabeth Henning, the Director of the CEPR, who coordinates all the research in the Institute.
See our brochure for more info.
Download the brochure of the Funda UJabule school for more details.
Ms Lara Ragpot (011 559-4034) for all academic queries or
Ms Delia Arends (011 559-5102) for all other queries
Mrs Maboya (011 559 5010/1), the principal of the Funda UJabule school
Look at the picture gallery to follow the construction process.