South Africa/Kenya (CERM-ESA)

My participation at the Kick-Off Meeting – DIGI-FACE

As part of the Kenyan delegation, Susan, John & Raymond had the distinct pleasure of attending the much-awaited Digital Initiatives for African Centres of Excellence (DIGI – FACE) Kick-off Meeting held in South Africa by the world-renowned university, Nelson Mandela in Port Elizabeth. The meeting brought different scholars whose vast experience in pursuit of higher education was not only inspiring but an open door to insightful thought on the direction higher education needed to take, chiefly digital in nature, in order to stand the test of time for African Centres of Excellence (CoE). Precisely, the project aim is to develop and put into action digital learning strategies across Africa. A big part of DIGI-FACE is to enhance digital capacities of lecturers and academics and that the training of trainers (ToT) is a very crucial pillar of the project.

The kick-off meeting took place on March 3-6 with delegates drawn from universities in South Africa, Niger, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Mali, Namibia as well as Germany. Pursuant to achieving the goal, the delegates consisted of the Centre of Excellence Project leaders, Project Coordinators, Curriculum developers and the IT personnel. This was a brilliant mix in order to make the matrix of content development and dissemination complete.

At the opening session the delegates were taken through the overall aims of the initiative by the lead persons notably, Prof Ewald Eisenberg, representing project lead partner Kehl University in Germany; Prof Bernd Siebenhuener, German academic from Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg and Prof Paul Webb, Project Leader of the East and South African German Centre of Excellence for Educational Research Methodologies and Management(CERM-ESA).  A quick rejoinder on the collaborative approaches to capacity development and digitalization was brought into perspective by Professor Michael Samuel from the University of KwaZulu Natal who also doubled up as the event moderator. The meeting was officially opened by deputy vice-chancellor, learning and Teaching, Prof Cheryl Foxcroft, Mandela University who emphasized the need for all of us to make provisions for students to learn in digital spaces.

With the elaborate intro, the sessions that followed included the delegate’s reflections on their motivations; on-line learning experts presentations that shed more light into the digital classrooms; practical sessions of designing an interactive online session; Centres action steps, collaborations and partnerships; business plan; delegates visions and recommendations. The sessions were not only in-depth but quite mind-boggling in terms of reflections on the core challenges such as geographical complications, equipment deficiencies alongside proposed methodologies for accomplishing the DIGI-FACE project.

The project’s aspiration for the future could have consequences that undoubtedly would bring positive change and especially education without borders. The goal for the meeting was not only a means of documenting the problems faced by CoEs, nor was it an opportunity for CoEs to complain about the situation that they face, rather it was a critical discussion with actionable points aimed at reducing these challenges and possibly eliminating them entirely with guidance from a knowledgeable partner.

The discussions proposed scholars to take up the opportunity to create content on their own terms, with assistance from IT and Multimedia experts within the Institution, but with an eye for great and reusable content to a student, market to generate revenue for the Centre’s sustainability. The market out there consists of students willing to assimilate new information faster, with a lowered barrier to entry such as cost and time, and the reduction of time spent by students closing the physical geographical gap courtesy of antiquated forms of education.

Content in this context indicates the use of video, text, and interactive media as a delivery mechanism. By integrating open source software such as Moodle, specifically built to handle demands of heavy course material, it is by no means an end to itself, but rather the first step that scholars can take in order to achieve their personal goals and of the institution. Another valuable resource was H5P.org which utilized the power of HTML5 to create, share and reuse the content in a browser. The H5P platform is particularly useful since it can be integrated with MOODLE for added functionality.

As the conference progressed, we came to the understanding that many CoEs already have course material ready for digitization but lack the channels to take their course materials online. On that note, the question of sustainability arose on numerous occasions. Naturally, other questions were derived from this such as, would the funding partner, DAAD, provide sustainable solutions to the CoEs or would the CoEs be equipped with their own means of sustainability mutually beneficial to both students and CoEs.  These were just a few questions out of the many that came up. However, they were not all to be answered conclusively in this first meeting but rather at an ongoing basis customized to each CoEs needs. Furthermore, evaluations carried out at the end of the meeting could have captured more concerns from the delegates. At the close of the meeting, we were treated to a delicious dinner and thrilling excursion that cemented our continental bonds as well as giving us a chance to appreciate the beauty of Port Elizabeth and South Africa at large. Honestly, it was a great life experience and a real eye-opener for us all.

In conclusion, the flow of events throughout the meeting was pretty seamless under a powerful organizing team notably Prof. Eisenberg, Prof. Webb, Mike Swanepoel,  Merlin Kull, Ayanda Simayi just to mention a few. DIGI-FACE is headed for imminent success. We say a big ‘THANK YOU ‘to DAAD under the auspices of Dr Dorothee Weyler.

African-German Cooperation towards Decolonising Higher Education: CERM-ESA Approaches and Lessons Learnt

Dear all

Please find an article reflecting on CERM-ESA’s approach to cooperation in the German-African context that you might also find interesting with regard to your own Centre.

Abstract
This paper looks into decolonisation as a guiding principle for
North-South academic cooperation towards the United Nations
2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development adopted in 2015. The
purpose of this article is to examine the German Academic Exchange
Service (DAAD) funded African-German cooperation within the
East and South African-German Centre of Excellence for Educational
Research Methodologies and Management – CERM-ESA – and reflect
on its conditions and its contributions to decolonising higher education.
The article draws on relevant literature and reflects on
CERM-ESA activities, face-to-face discussions with CERM-ESA
faculty and students. The findings have practical implications for
North-South cooperation partnerships aimed at decolonising higher
education in Africa.
To read the full paper, please click here

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

THE EAST AND SOUTH AFRICAN-GERMAN CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES AND MANAGEMENT (CERM-ESA) at Moi University announces up to

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

Graduation!

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:
http://ersc.nmmu.ac.za/view_edition.php?v=6&n=1

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 http://ersc.nmmu.ac.za or ersc.nmmu.ac.za

Please read and enjoy!