Conference Hosts

Host Organisations

Rhodes University - Lead Organiser

Rhodes University, a 112-year old institution [in 2016], with a well-established reputation for academic excellence.

Located in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Rhodes is a small university which enjoys the distinction of having among the best undergraduate pass and graduation rates in South Africa, outstanding postgraduate success rates, and the best research output per academic staff member. This is testimony to the quality of students that Rhodes attracts and of academic provision, and to the commitment of Rhodes staff to student development and success.

Rhodes University, a 112-year old institution [in 2016], with a well-established reputation for academic excellence.

Located in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Rhodes is a small university which enjoys the distinction of having among the best undergraduate pass and graduation rates in South Africa, outstanding postgraduate success rates, and the best research output per academic staff member. This is testimony to the quality of students that Rhodes attracts and of academic provision, and to the commitment of Rhodes staff to student development and success.

Of our more than 7 000 students, 26% are postgraduates and 20% are international students from 40 countries around the world, making Rhodes a dynamic and cosmopolitan knowledge institution. Students are able to undertake an extensive range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the faculties of Humanities, Science, Commerce, Pharmacy, Law and Education. With the most favourable academic staff to student ratio among South African universities, Rhodes students are guaranteed easy access to academics and close supervision.

The University takes pride in its motto, Where Leaders Learn, and producing graduates who are knowledgeable intellectuals, skilled professionals, and critical, caring and compassionate citizens who can contribute to economic and social development and an equitable, just and democratic society.

Education at Rhodes is a partnership between students, academics, administrators and support staff of mutual commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of our natural and social worlds. Research, teaching and community engagement seek to be alive to the social and economic challenges of the local, national, African and international contexts.

Rhodes strives to be a vibrant and innovative knowledge institution that forms professionals, thinkers and actors. Research seeks to extend the frontiers of knowledge and to also inform initiatives that promote equity, justice and economic and social development. An active community engagement programme provides numerous opportunities for students to develop and share expertise and contribute to social development.

Almost 50% of Rhodes students and the majority of undergraduates live in the University residences, while there also special residences for postgraduates. Through a well-established structure of wardens, sub-wardens and residence committees, the residences play an important role in overall student development, including developing leadership skills.

Numerous clubs and societies provide extensive opportunities for students to participate in a variety of intellectual, social, cultural, and sport activities and further develop valuable skills.

At Rhodes the partnership between students, academics and other staff extends to the governance of the university. Through the Students Representative Council and other representative bodies of undergraduates and postgraduates students participate in the Council, Senate and other decision-and policy-making committees of the University.

Apart from enabling students to shape the nature and direction of Rhodes, these structures provide students invaluable opportunities to develop leadership skills.

Rhodes University looks to the future with confidence, secure that as indawo yolwazi (a place of knowledge) and through the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research and community engagement it produces outstanding graduates that are sought after and makes a vital contribution to human and social development.

I invite you to explore our website and discover what makes Rhodes University such an attractive proposition and the institution of first choice for anyone seeking an exceptional and meaningful higher education experience.

Dr Sizwe Mabizela

Environmental Learning Research Centre - Lead Organiser

The Environmental Learning Research Centre at Rhodes University has been involved in Work and Learning Research since 1992 when the Murray & Roberts Chair of Environmental Education was established at this institution. In association with national, regional and international partners the Chair and the Centre which developed around it, has been setting up and researching pioneering courses and qualifications for environmental education and training practitioners, from PhD to grassroots level.

These courses support educators in Africa to participate in building a more sustainable, just future, through education and professional learning for environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive development. The Chair, Centre and partners continue to research, design and evaluate professional development and workplace learning across the continent for a range of work contexts from agriculture, forestry, fisheries, mining, chemicals and other industries, to water and wildlife conservation.

Wits University

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (known as Wits) is located in Johannesburg (South Africa), the vibrant, culturally diverse and leading commercial city on the African continent.

The history of the University is inextricably linked with mining, scholarship excellence and political and civic activism.

The origins of Wits lie in the South African School of Mines, which was established in Kimberley in 1896 and transferred to Johannesburg as the Transvaal Technical Institute in 1904, becoming the Transvaal University College in 1906 and renamed the South African School of Mines and Technology four years later.

Read more on Wits Website:  History of Wits

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (known as Wits) is located in Johannesburg (South Africa), the vibrant, culturally diverse and leading commercial city on the African continent.

The history of the University is inextricably linked with mining, scholarship excellence and political and civic activism.

The origins of Wits lie in the South African School of Mines, which was established in Kimberley in 1896 and transferred to Johannesburg as the Transvaal Technical Institute in 1904, becoming the Transvaal University College in 1906 and renamed the South African School of Mines and Technology four years later. Other departments were added as Johannesburg grew and in 1920 the name was changed to the University College, Johannesburg. Full university status was granted in 1922, incorporating the College as the University of the Witwatersrand, with effect March 1st. Seven months later the inauguration of the University was duly celebrated. Prince Arthur of Connaught, Governor-General of the Union of South Africa, became the University's first Chancellor, and Professor Jan H Hofmeyr its first Principal. Building began at Milner Park on a site donated to the University by the Johannesburg municipality.

In the Beginning

In 1923, the University gradually vacated its premises in Eloff Street to move to the first completed teaching buildings at Milner Park (the Botany and Zoology block - housing the departments of Geology, Botany, Zoology and Applied Mathematics). The University had, at that stage, 6 faculties (Arts, Science, Medicine, Engineering, Law and Commerce), 37 departments, 73 members of academic staff and little more than 1000 students. In 1925 the Prince of Wales officially opened the Central Block. 

During the period between the two world wars severe financial restrictions were imposed upon the University. Nevertheless, student numbers were quite impressive - in 1939 2 544 students enrolled; that grew to 3100 in 1945. The sudden increase in student enrolment after the Second World War led to accommodation problems, which were temporarily resolved by the construction of wood and galvanised-iron hutments in the centre of the campus. These huts remained in use until 1972.

The period between 1947 and the 1980s was marked by considerable growth - student numbers increased rapidly to 6 275 in 1963, 10 600 in 1975 and 16 400 by 1985. In 1951 the University awarded its 10 433rd qualification, in May 1981 its 50 000th and by 1988 its 73 411th. 

The acquisition of additional property in adjacent areas became imperative. The medical library and the administrative offices of the Faculty of Medicine moved to a new building in Esselen Street, Hillbrow during 1964. The Graduate School of Business was established in Parktown in 1968. In 1969 the Ernest Oppenheimer Residence was formally opened in Parktown. Savernake , the official residence of the Vice-Chancellor, also located in Parktown, was made available to the University during 1969. In the same year the clinical departments in the new Medical School were opened. However, the Medical School moved premises again and is now situated in York Street, Parktown - the complex was opened on 30 August 1982.

Expansion into Braamfontein also took place. In 1976 Lawson's Corner, renamed University Corner , was acquired. Senate House, the University's main administrative building, was occupied in 1977. The Wedge , a building formerly owned by the National Institute of Metallurgy, was taken over by the University in 1979. The Milner Park showgrounds were acquired in 1984 from the Witwatersrand Agricultural Society and renamed West Campus. Today, the campuses are some 101 hectare in extent. In 1989, the Chamber of Mines Building for the Faculty of Engineering on the West Campus was opened, and the brick-paved AMIC deck was built across the M1 motorway to link the East and West campuses. 

The University's interests have not been confined to development and expansion at Milner Park and adjacent areas. In the 1960s the University acquired from the Stegmann family the farm Sterkfontein , with its world-famous limestone caves, rich in archaeological material. In 1968 the neighbouring farm, Swartkrans, also a source of archaeological material, was purchased. In the same year, the University acquired excavation rights in caves of archaeological and palaeontological importance at Makapansgat in the area now known as the Limpopo Province.

Continued Growth

Today, with five faculties (Commerce, Law & Management; Engineering & the Built Environment; Health Sciences; Humanities; Science) and 33 schools, Wits offers approximately 3000 courses to 32 500 students. Over a third of the student body comprises postgraduate students. Library facilities consists of two central libraries and 12 branch libraries with students having access to over 1,5 million books. Approximately 5000 students are accommodated in a number of residences and student villages. There are 42 sport clubs and many cultural opportunities in the form of over 60 student societies, the Wits Theatre, art galleries, concert hall and 14 museums. 

Bibliography

Several books have been written on the history of the University:

  • A Vice-Chancellor Remembers. The Memoirs of Professor G R Bozzoli, by G R Bozzoli (Alphaprint, Randburg, 1995)
  • Wits the Open Years . A History of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 1939 - 1959, by Bruce K Murray (Witwatersrand University Press, Johannesburg, 1997)
  • its. A University in the Apartheid Era, by Mervyn Shear (Witwatersrand University Press, Johannesburg, 1996)
Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL) - Co-Organiser

The REAL Centre is part of the Wits School of Education at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa. It conducts research into areas of major theoretical and policy concern, focused on the complex relationships between education, knowledge, work, economy and society.

Previously known as the Education Policy Unit (EPU), the REAL Centre was upgraded into a fully-fledged research centre in 2012. The Centre has recently launched an M.Ed. specialisation in Education and Work and has initiated the development of an Advanced Diploma in Technical and Vocational Teaching (Adv. Dip. TVET).

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) advises the Minister of Higher Education and Training on matters regarding the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The objectives of SAQA are to advance the objectives of the NQF; oversee the further development and implementation of the NQF; and co-ordinate the sub-frameworks of the NQF.

PSAQA also oversees the implementation of the NQF. The Authority is governed through a body of 12 members appointed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training. They consist of represent education and training;professional bodies; organised labour; organised business; and organisations representing community and development interests. See more at www.saqa.org.za.

Local Organising Committee

  • Prof. Heila Lotz-Sisitka, Rhodes University
  • Prof. Eureta Rosenberg, Rhodes University
  • Ms Presha Ramsarup, Wits University
  • Prof. Stephanie Allais, Wits University
  • Prof. Andre Kraak, Wits University
  • Prof. Volker Wedekind, Wits University
  • Dr Siphelo Ngcwangu, University of Johannesburg
  • Ms Jocelyn Vass, Department of Trade and Industry
  • Dr Angelique Wildschut, Human Sciences Research Council
  • Prof. Shirley Walters, University of the Western Cape
  • Ass. Prof. Linda Cooper, University of Cape Town
  • Ass. Prof. James Garraway, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Prof. Chris Winberg, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Dr Heidi Bolton, South African Qualifications Authority