Posts byMalve Von Moellendorff

Start of the third CABLES Training for Centres of African Excellene in Accra

The third offering of CERM-ESA’s Capacity Building Programme for Lecturers and Supervisors (CABLES) has kicked-off successfully in Accra this morning. A group of 25 participants representing the
West African-German Centre of Excellence for Governance for Sustainable and Integrative Local Development
West African-German Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Rural Transformation
Congolese-German Centre of Excellence for Microfinance
Ghanaian-German Centre of Excellence for Development Studies and the
– Namibian-German Centre of Excellence for Logistics

are engaging in questions of postgraduate supervision, curriculum development and interpersonal competencies for excellent teaching. The week-long professional development programme is the last in a row of three international and cross-disciplinary CABLES offerings that DAAD  has sponsored for those lecturers, researchers and supervisors, who contribute to the success of the Centres of African Excellence.

Participants and facilitators of the CABLES@WA2019

CERM-ESA offers up to six DAAD in-country/ in-region Master’s scholarships and up to two PhD scholarships


6 Masters Scholarships for our Master of Education in Research Programme,
funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) starting from the 1st of September 2019

Please read the full text here: Announcement for_M_Scholarships_in-country_2019

and up to

2 PhD Scholarships in Sociology of Education funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) starting from the 1st of September, 2019

Please read the full text here: Announcement_D_Scholarships_in-country_ 2019


CERM-ESA graduate awarded for her academic achievement at Mandela University

Sarah Jemutai, winner of the ‘best dissertation in the Humanities’ award


The evening of June 21, 2018 was a particularly special one for CERM-ESA Master’s student Sarah Jemutai, her supervisors as well as for her family and friends. Sarah, who graduated cum laude, was selected as the recipient of the Nelson Mandela University Council’s best Master’s Degree by Dissertation in the Humanities Award, which she received during the Academic Awards Dinner held at Port Elizabeth’s Feather Market Hall. The dinner is an annual event to acknowledge academic excellence, both in undergraduate and postgraduate studies across all of the faculties at Nelson Mandela University. Excellence is one of the university’s six values and is believed to be central to the institution’s striving for a sustainable future.

Sarah completed her Master’s degree by dissertation, an academic journey which requires commitment, sustained hard work and diligence. Her dissertation is entitled ‘The effect of using a six-brick Duplo block guided play approach on pre-school learners’ visual perceptual abilities’. The study situates itself within the pre-existing body of knowledge around the development of children’s visual and spatial abilities, which belies reading, writing and mathematics. However, through her research, Sarah identified that pre-existing studies have focused on older children who are already literate and who are being educated within a Western context. In light of this gap, the focus and dimensions of Sarah’s study are particularly topical. In focusing on the use of a six brick Duplo block intervention in one South African and one Kenyan school, Sarah argues that children’s development is accelerated through teachers’ facilitation of guided play using the six brick Duplo block approach. In turn, these findings have implications for curriculum developers, early childhood advisors and teachers when designing instructional materials that promote the development of reading, writing and numeracy skills in pre-literate children.

Not only does her study attest to the ever-evolving ways in which we conceive of educational methodologies and innovation, but her outstanding academic achievement demonstrates the potential of committed hard work, which sets an inspiring example for CERM-ESA students to follow.

CERM-ESA Capacity Building Programme – Scholarships for staff at Centres of African Excellence!

Dear colleagues at the Centres of African Excellence,

CERM-ESA would like to announce its Capacity Building Programme for Lecturers and Supervisors in the DAAD funded Centres of African Excellence (CABLES).

The programme aims to further support the Centres’ work and efforts to offer excellent study and research opportunities. Hence, lecturers and supervisors who contribute to the Centres’ success and carry a substantial teaching and supervision load are the main target group for this year’s programme. Up to 6 lecturers/ supervisors of each Centre qualify for a full scholarship (travel, subsistence and study fees) to participate in the CABLES-programme.

The first CABLES-programme will take place between the 9th and 18th of August 2018 at the  Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. This programme is offered to lecturers and supervisors of the Centres of African Excellence in South Africa and Namibia. Please see the poster/ handout attached and forward it to your colleagues in the Centres of African Excellence. We will also ask you as managers of the Centres to provide us with a list of names of your lecturers and supervisors in the Centre indicating the teaching load / contribution to the Centre’s work.

The second CABLES-programme is planned to take place at Moi University in October 2018 for all Centres of African Excellence in East Africa. The third CABLES is planned in 2019 for the West African Centres of African Excellence. More information on these is forthcoming.

Background: following from CERM-ESA’s mid-term evaluation and discussions with DAAD, CERM-ESA has developed this programme as one of its pillars for the second funding phase (starting in 2019) and for the Centre’s long-term perspective and sustainability strategy. It was decided that the programme should be offered in a first pilot phase to all Centres of African Excellence. Please have a look at the programme contents below. We hope that they are relevant to you and your academic staff.

Please see the attached PDF document for more information.

With kind regards,

your CERM-ESA team   Capacity_Building_Programme_Proposal_2018-ENGLISH_Flyer


Today, CERM-ESA’s first cohort of eight Kenyan Master’s scholarship holders are graduating from Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. We are extremely proud of our pioneer group of students who ventured to do a Master’s by Research in Education programme and worked hard under difficult circumstances to achieve their goal! Thanks to all supervisors from Mandela University, co-supervisors from Moi University and mentors from the CERM-ESA Faculty who supported the students tirelessly in their reserach journey. A 100% passrate and half of the students graduating with CUM LAUDE is fantastic!

Congratuations and have a wonderful day, Sarah Jemutai, Lily Yego, Zainabu Ramadhan, Ezekiel Chemwor, Ann Waithera, Janet Ronoh and Cornelius Rugut! And to you too, Robert Gamba, receiving the award on behalf of your late father, dear Josphat.

Enjoy! CERM-ESA community from Kenya, Germany, Tanzania and Uganda is with you in thought today!

Education Research for Social Change: publication

Dear Colleagues

The Editors are pleased to announce the online publication of the tenth issue, Vol. 6 No. 1 April 2017 of the Journal ‘Education Research for Social Change’.

The theme is ‘Africanizing educational research and practice’ and the guest editor is CERM-ESA’s project leader at NMMU, Paul Webb. CERM-ESA has contributed several papers, amongst them a project report that gives you insights on how we work and how CERM-ESA contributes to Africanisation, engagement and social change. Here is the link to the tenth issue:

And here is the link directly to the CERM-ESA Project Report:

Educational Research for Social Change is an international peer-reviewed journal established in 2012 (an initiative of the Faculty of Education, NMMU) and received DoHET accreditation in January 2016. ERSC is also included in the IBSS from February 2016.

See or

Please read and enjoy!

10 Master’s Scholarships awarded in Eldoret

The East and South African Centre of Excellence for Research Methodologies and Management (CERM-ESA) awarded 10 scholarships for its new Master’s Programme in Education Research at Moi University, Kenya. Of the 63 applications from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, 21 students were shortlisted for a personal interview on 10-11 February. The selection committee, which consisted of members of all five CERM-ESA partner universities, namely Moi University, NMMU (South Africa), UMI (Uganda), UDSM (Tanzania) and Oldenburg University (Germany), was impressed with all the interviewed candidates, of which only 10 could be selected. The successful candidates were awarded the scholarship on the 13th February 2017 by the Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Laban P. Ayiro and DAAD’s Dr. Dorothee Weyler. The VC acknowledged the scholarship holders’ diversity representing various regions within Kenya as well as its neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda. This showed not only that the unique Master’s programme on education research is very attractive beyond Eldoret, but also that the selection procedure went fair and provided an opportunity for all Kenyans to be awarded with a scholarship. The Vice Chancellor in his speech thanked DAAD and wished the students all the best in their studies.


Left to right-scholarship holders (standing): Ann Wanjiku, Ekiru Simon, Mark Sirimbiri, Rose Njage, Ida Jaribu, Roba Godana, Nelson Mandela, David Lagat, Evans Mos

Left to right (seated): Dr Dorothee Weyler (DAAD), Prof. Laban Ayiro (Ag. VC- Moi University), Dr Susan Kurgat (CERM-ESA Coordinator Moi University), Malve von Mollendorff( CERM-ESA Coordinator Oldenburg University)

Note: one scholarship holder, Dorcas Ngenoh, could not be present for the award ceremony

Narrating my first data generation experience

Sarah Jemutai and Janet Chipchirchir Ronoh are DAAD/CERM-ESA Master’s scholarship holders from Kenya registered at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in South Africa. Here, they narrate what they experienced as they conducted their field work and generated data for the first time as postgraduate research students.  Sarah’s study focuses on ‘the effect of using a six-brick duplo block guided play approach on pre-school learners’ visual perceptual abilities’, while Janet’s is exploring ‘indigenous knowledge in the school curriculum: teacher educator perceptions of place and position’. Both students are conducting their studies in South African and Kenyan schools and have successfully defended their proposals in May 2016.

Sarah’s narrative on introducing her intervention and testing visual perception abilities

I conducted my field work and generated data with five to six year old pre-school children in a middle income primary school in Port Elizabeth using a mixed-methods quasi-experimental pre-post-test design. I began the data generation process by administering a written pre-test on the learners’ visual perceptual abilities where learners had to discriminate between patterns which progressively became more complex. The same test will be used as a post-test after the six-brick Duplo block guided play approach intervention has been completed.

Prior to the testing, the class teacher introduced me and Ms Amina Brey, who had worked with the learners previously, my supervisor, Prof Paul Webb, and five fourth year psychology students who assisted with the pre-testing. We took out the Lego bricks and displayed them to the students, explaining that those were colourful toys which we were going to use for playing. We talked with them gently so that they were not intimidated by our presence. The learners were very disciplined and patiently waited for instructions to be given. The experience was a huge learning curve for me as I had mixed feelings before the pre-testing. I had imagined that the learners might be nervous, but to my great surprise, they were carefree and seemed fascinated by the toys and what they could build with them. Without the support of my supervisors, Prof Paul Webb and Prof David Serem, Ms Amina Brey, the psychology students, as well as the learners and teachers in the participating schools, I would not have progressed as well as I did and I would not have successfully administered the tests.



Janet’s narrative on using an imbizo as a method

I had my first data generation experience at a comprehensive South African university where the study participants were isiXhosa speaking academic staff who were familiar with the story of Nongqawuse and the cattle killing episode of the history of amaXhosa. An adaptation of John Peires’s historical account of the 1856/7 account of the ‘Conundrum of the Xhosa Cattle Killing’, which was written in English and then translated into isiXhosa, was employed as a stimulus to investigate the teacher-educators’ perceptions about indigenous knowledge and the school curriculum. A similar stimulus story indigenous to Kenyan teacher educators will also be used when I conduct data generation in Kenya.

My research employs a descriptive case study research design with questionnaires and a modified focus group workshop called an imbizo to further probe the issue of place and position of indigenous knowledge in the school curriculum. The particular focus on an imbizo as a data generation tool was motivated by the need to develop and utilize research tools and methodologies that are indigenous and reflect the African experience. In the Xhosa culture and other Nguni cultures, an imbizo is a formal gathering or meeting often called by the village chief to discuss pertinent issues in the community and to seek solutions to problems. An imbizo was deemed appropriate in this study and more fitting than the conventional interview or focus group discussion often used in scientific research because of the imbizo’s orientation towards seeking a local and authentic experience of a particular historic-cultural experience. The Kenyan equivalent of an imbizo is known as baraza and will be employed among the Kenyan participants.

The participants were invited to participate in the imbizo via email and face-to-face to allow for the personal African approach in building relations between the primary investigator and the respondents. I also visited the participants in their individual offices and introduced myself, said where I came from, why I was undertaking such a study, and told them why their contribution would be important in the study. I was anxious and nervous about whether they would attend the imbizo as it was the end of the semester and the lecturers were very busy with administration of exams but, to my surprise, I had 100% attendance!

During the imbizo, a traditional meal of umngqusho (samp and beans), vegetables and mutton stew was served to the participants to welcome them and make them ‘feel at home’. The participants and I were seated on a circle and the imbizo protocol with topics of discussion was distributed. Some of these topics of discussion included investigating:

  • the isiXhosa Indigenous Knowledge (IK) that the participants know about and whether they feel that they should be included in the school curriculum
  • asking what and how much IK should be included in the curriculum – how does one choose (i.e. what constitutes school knowledge in South Africa (how is it chosen)
  • asking how should the chosen IK be integrated with the existing content in the curriculum (or should it not be integrated but be a separate subject)?
  • asking the group how one might define and validate knowledge for the official curriculum in the face of multiculturalism, globalisation and the internationalisation of knowledge – what are the principles to be used.

I am pleased that this first data generation process via the imbizo approach was such a success. I also had the privilege of meeting the historian and author Professor Jeff Peires in Grahamstown from whom I learnt more about his writings on Nongqawuse. I am also thankful that I attended the Autumn School programme on research methodologies early in the semester as it prepared me for the proposal defence and the data generation experience.