EASA Blog

 
     

Message from the Chairperson: Dr Ruth Mampane

Jun 05 2017

Higher Education stability was shaken by #Feesmustfall movement and later a call for #Decolonisation of curriculum and education in the 2015-2016 academic calendar. These national and well-coordinated revolutionary and reformative movements by students in higher education and universities in particular have refocused and brought to light teaching and learning strategic goals of universities. Universities are tasked with the core responsibility among others of teaching and learning, research, community participation, while also co-constructing, testing, affirming and generating new knowledge. Student cohorts of 2015-2016 owned the responsibility of evaluating, critiquing and assessing the relevance and quality of education and other services provided by these HE institutions. Many could attest that revolutionary student protests under the umbrella of #Decolonisation of knowledge and education are a direct criticism and dissatisfaction with the significance and impact of these core responsibilities of HE institutions on the lives and future perspectives of students and communities.

In essence, the significance and relevance of acclaimed and popular epistemologies founding mainstream knowledge are questioned through these revolutionary movements of students. Significantly, the #Decolonisation movement has focused, impacted and influenced the research agenda nationally and internationally. The question worthy of asking EASA delegates is: how has #Feesmustfall and #Decolonisation of education and/or knowledge impacted your research focus and agenda? Surely, it cannot be business as usual.

As South African universities responded with curricular, epistemological and ontological changes to avert and arrest further academic disruptions, and to respond to students’ demands, more questions remain unanswered regarding conceptual clarification of decolonisation of knowledge and education. HE management, academics and researchers need to fully involve, recognise and invite the participation of current student cohorts of #Decolonisation of knowledge and education movement into the reformulation agenda of HE strategic goals on teaching and learning, research and community participation. It would be ethically and methodologically wrong to exclude this group of constructivists and interpretivists who are instrumental in the re-emergence of epistemological and ontological concepts of #Docolonisation of education and / or knowledge.

It was with this in mind that the 2017 EASA Conference, hosted by North-West University touched on South African history at the world recognised heritage site, the Dome. This well thought of venue, Khaya iBhubesi against the historical context of the Dome is an active acknowledgement of our humanity and developmental roots. The lessons of how history and context impacts, epistemological and ontological knowledge and research were clearly focused on by all guest speakers in this conference.

During this conference, many new  research focused developments emerged, like the re-establishment of SIGs (discussed in this newsletter) and a greater focus on HE developments as dictated by #Feesmustfall and #Decolonisation student movements through invited guest speakers (this is discussed at length in this newsletter).

Further developments included the nomination of a new Chief Editor of SAJE, prof Ronel Ferreira as prof Liesel Ebersohn completed her term of office. I would like to thank prof Ebersohn for her excellent performance in her role as chief editor of SAJE, we have seen the journal growing stronger towards the current impact factor of 0.7. We also welcomed the incoming chairperson of EASA, prof Johnnie Hay who will take the role of chairperson in 2018. In the same spirit, we thanked the outgoing 2015 chairperson Prof Meahabo Magano for her outstanding leadership. Prof Magano will always be remembered for not only steering the translation of EASA into multiple languages, but for also coining the construct Easans. Again, EASA has witnessed especially in 2017, a move towards co-opting into the EXCO committee a member from University of Limpopo, dr Maphutha, and this move towards being representative of SA demographics and ideologies is a much welcomed move. 



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