The Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has launched a new website to make research available to those interested in childhood education.
This innovation, known as the Knowledge for Action website was launched on Monday, 6 November 2017 at the Funda UJabule Primary School, situated at the UJ Soweto campus. This website has been created to give educators access to research conducted by the Faculty of Education in the field of childhood education. The website aims at providing actionable knowledge to educators to enable research-informed decision making and teaching practice. It also provides educators with downloadable research-based tools.
Prof Sarah Gravett, UJ Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, said: "We thank USAID and Elma Foundation for supporting us in developing this important resource for educators. The website will make actionable knowledge available in relation to the developing child, the teacher, the school and the community. This will include summaries of research findings with links to the research reports or journal articles, videos on topical issues, downloadable tools and lesson plans. An open source course for teachers who serve as mentors for student teachers will also be hosted on this site. I thank the colleagues who have been contributing and who will contribute to this website in the future. Without their commitment and dedication, none of this would have been possible."
During this event the Faculty of Education also paid tribute to the Vice-Chancellor Prof Ihron Rensburg. The "Funda UJabule book that was launched is dedicated to him.
This book gives an overview of the work undertaken at the Funda UJabule School since its inception in 2010 on the Soweto Campus. The school is central to teacher education at this campus and it serves as a childhood education laboratory for the Faculty – a first of its kind in South Africa. In isiZulu, "Funda UJabule" means "learn and be joyful." The book tells the story of the joy of learning in its many manifestations. It is about the learning and development of the school's children. It is about the student teachers and their mentor teachers at the school.
"This flagship campus is a space that gives joy and pride for me, the University and the community. As I have been saying my goodbyes, my role here at UJ has always been encouraging us to find the power within ourselves and unleash extraordinary ambitions - my job was to unleash you to be the change", said Prof Ihron Rensburg, UJ Vice-Chancellor & Principal.
"My job has never been about me but the graduates around us. We have wonderful programmes and it's our graduates who give life and meaning to this," added Prof Rensburg.
The book also highlights how the joy of learning can be achieved through service and how it can be investigated and affirmed through research. And ultimately, the book is about the joy of impacting the lives of Funda UJabule children, and through the work in and with the school also the lives of other children, via the teacher education, the community engagement and the research.
The work of the Centre for Education Practice Research is pivotal to the success of the Flagship Childhood Education programme. While also celebrating the CEPR's 10 year anniversary, different role players gave an account of their involvement in the CEPR. "This was important for the audience as they received an overview of the kind of research that has been done and what research is still to follow: making knowledge for action in Primary School education available", said Prof Elizabeth Henning, Director: Centre for Education Practice Research and SARChI Chair.
"We wanted this anniversary to be an example of meaningful collaboration, while highlighting the public purpose of higher education through engaged pedagogy, research and partnerships," added Prof Henning.
Academics, teachers, funders, Department of Education officials, Funda UJabule partnership schools and research and community partners attended the event.