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Home » Dr Gadija Petker

Head (Faculty Administration)
Name: Dr Gadija Petker
Location: B-Ring 317 and GNA, Auckland Park Kingsway Campus, Soweto Campus
Academic Administration Staff  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: 011-559-3508/5101


About Dr Gadija Petker

Dr Gadija Petker is currently the Head of Faculty Administration in the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). She joined the Faculty of Education in 2005 as founding member of the Centre for Education Practice Research working in a variety of research projects in teacher education and was a lecturer in the Department of Childhood Education. Her academic journey began with a Higher Diploma in Education (Rand College of Education) thereafter, a BEd Honours degree (Rand Afrikaans University) and MEd (University of Johannesburg). Her PhD research is recognised as ground-breaking by the American Educational Research Association and the Association of Practice Schools in the Finnish University system.


PhD – University of Johannesburg
M Ed – University of Johannesburg
B Ed Honours – Rand Afrikaans University
HDE – Rand College of Education
Dip Ed – Rand College of Education

Current position
Head of Faculty Administration


Department of Childhood Education
Faculty of Education
University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Areas of specialization

Teaching Schools
Teacher Education
Service learning, social justice and care, in foundation phase (elementary) teacher education
Education, training and development
Adult and community education
Current research

PhD Research
The study aims to investigate pre-service teachers learning in emerging teaching schools. The findings of this study will form part of a large scale research project aimed at investigating the establishment of teaching schools in South Africa. The first doctoral seminar for this study was presented in 2013. Promoters: Prof Nadine Petersen (Professor) and Prof Sarah Gravett (Executive Dean – Faculty of Education).

DHET Research
In addition to my D Ed, I am involved in a research project aimed at raising the stakes and the status in foundation phase teacher education. The DHET research is aimed at spreading a stronger discourse about foundation phase teacher education. This project is associated to the UJ Institute for Childhood Education (UJICE) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and is led by Professor Elizabeth Henning, the Director of theCentre for Education Practice Research (CEPR) at the UJ.

NRF Thuthukha Research
I am also part of a research team investigating the role an education field excursion with first year students has for campus learning communities. This research project is led by Dr. Nadine Petersen from the Department of Education and Curriculum Studies in the Faculty of Education at the UJ.

Other research foci

Foundation phase teacher induction and teacher retention in South African Schools
Service learning in the South African foundation phase teacher education curriculum
Service learning with a social justice and care framework
Recent publications

Petersen, N & Petker G. (2011). Foundation phase teaching as a career choice: Building the nation where it is needed.Education as Change. Vol 15.1 (s49-s61).

Gravett, S. Petersen, N & Petker, G (2014). Integrating foundation phase teacher education with a ‘teaching school’ at the University of Johannesburg. Education as Change​. 18 (1) s107-s119.

Community engagement

As lecturer in the Department of Childhood Education my community engagement activities are structured to include, service learning and community service. Some of my community engagement projects are linked to ‘Funda UJabule’, while others are aimed at promote reading and an appreciation of literature through storytelling.