The Centre for the Study of Resilience (CSR), Faculty of Education and The College of Education at UNISA co-hosted an invitational meeting with education researchers from nine South African universities (Tshwane University of Technology; Northwest University; University of Kwazulu-Natal; University of South Africa; University of Pretoria; University of the Free State; University of Limpopo; University of Johannesburg and University of the Witwatersrand) to develop an implementable research agenda on how research can be useful for quality, equity and social cohesion in education in South Africa given structural disparity.
The breakaway deliberation was on Schools as Enabling Systems: How can research findings inform learning and wellbeing in high risk and high need schools? It took place at the Farm Inn Country Hotel and Wildlife Sanctuary between 1 to 3 September 2016.
These invitational group discussions over two days were facilitated by Prof David Osher, Vice President and Institute Fellow: American Institutes for Research as well as Dr Felice Levine, Executive Director: American Education Research Association and President, World Education Research Association.
It was decided that the Schools as Enabling Research Group would be hosted at the Centre for the Study of Resilience, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria with selected Steering Committee members namely: Prof Mahlapahlapana Themane (University of Limpopo), Dr Arvin Bhana (Medical Research Council in the Health Systems Research Unit in Durban), Prof Liesel Ebersöhn (Director: Centre for the Study of Resilience), Dr Phumzile Langa (National Department of Basic Education: Rural Education Directorate), and Prof Vanessa Scherman (UNISA).
The outcomes include constituting three national education research working groups from across South African universities to integrate alone-standing small-scale research on how evidence can promote resilience in high risk and high need schools. It also include prioritising the following for collaborative systematic review: a synthesis of knowledge on schools where high performance and well-being of learners and teachers are outcomes despite adversity; a related policy review; and a review of indicators and measures used. And finally, creating a dedicated electronic space with information related to the Schools as Enabling Space Research group on the website of the Centre for the Study of Resilience, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria (including details of collaborators, national peer-reviewed publications and completed postgraduate studies).