The University of Johannesburg will host a virtual symposium to share research findings and lessons learned from a community of practice model (CoP) supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) to deliver care and support services for early grade learners in South African schools.
The symposium, set to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, will see researchers, practitioners, community organisations and decision makers look for solutions to improving child well-being.
The South African government recently adopted proposals to reconfigure responsibilities for early childhood development and care. The department of basic education will be the lead department in collaboration with those of social development and health. This move places child well-being for early grade learners at the top of the government’s agenda.
The symposium is the culmination of a two-year CoP research and intervention study funded by the NRF. It will share findings of two surveys conducted in 2020 and 2021 to assess child and family well-being. The symposium will share the lessons learnt from the CoP to overcome the fragmentation in service provision for early grade learners in schools in disadvantaged communities in Gauteng.
The CoP solutions align closely with national goals and the Sustainable Development Goals: poverty, hunger, health and education.
This symposium is a partnership between three SARCHI research chairs at the University of Johannesburg and the NRF-supported Centre of Excellence in Human Development at the University of the Witwatersrand.
– Prof Leila Patel, DSI/NRF South African Research Chair: Welfare and Social Development, Centre for Social Development in Africa, UJ.
– Prof Elizabeth Henning, DSI/NRF South African Research Chair: Integrated Studies of Learning Language, Science and Mathematics in the primary school, Faculty of Education, UJ.
– Prof Jace Pillay, DSI/NRF South African Research Chair: Education and Care in Childhood, Faculty of Education, UJ.
– Prof Shane Norris, Director, DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development, University of the Witwatersrand.
– Prof Arnesh Telukdarie, Professor of Digital Business and Research Chair, Johannesburg Business School, UJ.
The conference programme will include these topics:
– Findings of child well-being assessments of early grade learners in schools in disadvantaged communities during COVID-19
– The design and testing of a digital tool to assess children’s performance in maths and language development, child health and nutrition, child and caregiver mental health, poverty and hunger, access and use of community resources and learning difficulties
– Mobilising parents/caregivers to be more actively involved in their children’s learning
– Consider the potential for scaling up school level support and care services so that children may better learn and thrive.