African Journal of Teacher Education (AJOTE) is a forum for examining, discussing, and publicising local, national, regional and trans/continental policies, practices, experiments and research on the training, preparation, hiring, and retention of teachers for all levels and tiers of Africa’s education sector.

Recent Submissions

  • Combating colonial mentality within higher learning spaces: The case of sub-Saharan African universities

    Balogun, Babalola Joseph; Woldegiorgis, Emnet Tadesse (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-07-19)
    As former colonies of Western imperial powers, virtually all aspects of African life have been invaded by forces of Western hegemony. Colonial mentality is the blind assimilation or internalisation of the colonial powers’ socio-cultural forms resulting in the destructive and disruptive abandonment of the ways of life of the colonies. As it applies to Africa, colonial mentality is a product of African cultural invasion in which, having been exposed to colonial experience for a long time, an average African has internalised foreign ideas and ideals—so much so that she has lost the authentic African ways of life in the process. Using philosophical methods of argumentation and critical engagements, this paper contends that a connection exists between colonial mentality and the observed failure of African universities to efficiently effectuate their relevance as Africa’s development partners. The paper identifies four key areas in which colonial mentality plays out most profoundly in African universities, namely, the nature of knowledge produced, the mode of certification, the language of instruction, and research funding. The paper argues that the incursion of colonial mentality in these vital areas continues to impede African universities’ capacity to substantively contribute to African development drives and aspirations. Given this close nexus, the paper maintains that African universities may never realise their potential as a critical sector in African development discourse. This qualitative research is based on critical inquiry through a process of identifying, questioning and assessing deeply held assumptions about Western hegemony. The paper concludes that decolonisation in learning spaces can only be a feasible project if it is accorded the seriousness that it deserves by all stakeholders both within and outside the university.
  • Intra-Africa student mobility: benefits for Africa and factors militating against it

    Agbaje, Olaide (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-07-19)
    Intra-Africa student mobility holds immense opportunities for students, institutions, nations and the African continent in general through the resourcefulness promoted by cross-border education and research capacity building. If well harnessed, the benefits of intra-Africa student mobility will enhance the visibility of Africa and its higher education institutions and serve as a vehicle through which the continent can profit from internationalisation. This paper argues that intra-Africa student mobility offers several benefits for both Africa and Africans, and is a viable means for turning the tide of the brain drain in the continent. The paper addresses an important question: In what way is intra-Africa mobility beneficial to Africa? The paper was developed qualitatively through a review of relevant literature.
  • Alleviation of social injustices in STEM education: Harnessing pedagogical affordances of virtual and augmented reality applications through open learning

    Dhurumraj, Thasmai; Ramaila, Sam (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-07-19)
    This paper explores the extent to which pedagogical affordances of virtual and augmented reality (VAR) applications can be harnessed as a means to alleviate social injustices in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education through open learning. The enhancement of epistemic and epistemological access in STEM education requires coherent implementation of appropriate strategic interventions which are essentially geared towards the promotion of pedagogic innovation in its broadest sense. The empirical investigation adopted a qualitative research design located within the interpretivist paradigm. Qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews. The study is underpinned by the theory of social justice framework as a theoretical lens. Key findings emanating from the study demonstrated that sustainable integration of VAR applications in STEM education can essentially be harnessed as a catalytic tool to address the articulation gap between school and higher education through parity of participation within the broader South African context. The realisation of this key strategic imperative hinges to a large degree on the critical interrogation of enablers and constraints about sustainable utilisation of VAR applications in STEM teaching and learning.
  • Editorial Comment

    Kolapo, Femi; Ndlovu, Sibonokuhle; Nyoni, Phefumula (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-07-19)
  • Plurilingual practices in Higher Education: An analysis of student perceptions from a South African University

    Tshuma, Lindiwe; Theledi, Kgomotso (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-07-19)
    This study describes student perspectives on the teaching and learning of a newly introduced University language acquisition course. It identifies three basic components of teaching and learning, namely teaching approaches, teaching and learning resources, and assessment of learning. The study focuses on how students perceive these basic components of teaching and learning by investigating how 1st-year students at a university in South Africa perceive the teaching and learning of the Sesotho First Additional Language (FAL) course (a newly introduced course in the university). Hence the objectives of this study are to establish the views of 1st-year Sesotho FAL students regarding the teaching approaches used by the lecturers presenting the course; the teaching and learning resources used in the course; and the quality of assessments applied in the course. Guided by complex dynamic systems theory, the study employs a survey methodology. A questionnaire comprising both close-ended belief statements as well as open-ended statements for students to respond to was administered to 51 study participants purposefully selected. Quantitative data were analysed using IBM SPSS, while qualitative data were analysed by the researchers themselves. Results emerging from the data reveal that 1st-year students generally find their lecturers’ teaching approaches and assessment methods satisfactory; however, they perceive the teaching and learning resources used by their lecturers in teaching Sesotho as inadequate. This finding points to the need for further dialogue broadly on the quality of teaching and learning, quality of assessment criteria and the availability of teaching and learning resources provided for presenting newly introduced courses in higher education institutions (HEIs); and specifically on the level of preparation of lecturers in these courses tasked with the teaching and learning.
  • African identity and curriculum transformation at universities in South Africa

    Mashilo, Phafane Peter; Govender, Logan (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-07-19)
    This paper argues for the notion of African identity to be placed at the centre of creating a new African university as part of the education decolonisation project. Defining the African university does not mean a total negation of Western ideas and epistemologies, but rather the foregrounding of African identity, traditions and culture. The paper recognises that Africa is part of a global economy, hence African university curricula must (among other phenomena) be responsive to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), pandemics and climate change. Drawing on recent African identity-driven curriculum transformation developments at four South African universities, the paper recognises differences in institutional initiatives, some with detailed curriculum transformation plans and others with no clear plans. Based on a literature review and document analysis methods, the results suggest that progress in curriculum transformation is mediated by context and history, as well as differences in institutional commitment to the decolonisation education project. The authors suggest that – with support from government and policymakers – a clear and detailed programme of curriculum transformation is needed, underpinned by a moral imperative to foreground African identity in the transition to the new African university.
  • Academics with disabilities during transformation to a New African University in South Africa

    Ndlovu, Sibonokuhle (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-07-19)
    The idea of transformation to a ‘new African university’ has become topical in contemporary African education scholarship. Whilst it is claimed that the process seeks to include all stakeholders, academics with disabilities are excluded because of discourses and dynamics in Africa’s higher education that have remained deeply embedded in Eurocentric thinking and mind-set. This paper applied Critical Disability Theory to analyse the challenges that face academics with disabilities in the areas of teaching, research, community engagement and doctoral supervision in South African higher education and that must be appropriately and adequately addressed for a successful transformation to a “‘new’ African University”. Data were collected through an analysis of South African literature on exclusion of students with disabilities as research, community engagement and supervision are regarded as a continuum and involve both students and the academics. Findings revealed that academics with disabilities are confronted with specific challenges similar to those faced by students with disabilities, as they all function within the same context during transformation to a ‘new African university’. The challenges are inaccessible physical environment, negative attitudes from the community members, impairment-related disadvantages, lack of adequate funding and lack of adequate media for use, which all compound to limit their functioning like their able-bodied counterparts. Including the voice of academics with disabilities in disability policy was proposed as a way to alleviate the challenges they confront enabling them to contribute positively to scholarship and thus affirm the transformation to a new African University
  • Towards a context-relevant, institution-based ICT integration model of teacher education curriculum at diploma level in Zimbabwe

    Dzinoreva, Tendai; Mavunga, George; Govender, Logan (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-07-19)
     21st Century requirements for teaching and learning, driven by ICT advancements have opened doors for the development of models to guide and enhance ICT integration. Some countries have adopted international models and others have adapted them to suit their own environments. Zimbabwe still remains silent on what model it is using as there is no clear framework (policy related to ICT in education). In this paper, the authors focus on the Zimbabwean teacher education landscape in the absence of neither a distinct localised model   nor an international one. Using literature review, document analysis and reviews of a proposed model, by six teacher educators from three secondary school teacher education colleges in Zimbabwe (carried out through semi structured interviews) this paper seeks to propose a framework for the integration of ICTs in teacher education curriculum. Drawing from literature around the Zimbabwean ICT landscape and its ICT policy framework, models proposed in the broader African and global contexts, we argue for a context-relevant and institution-based model of ICT integration for the teacher education curriculum in Zimbabwe. This proposed model privileges the localised contextual issues and takes a critical view of models which assume similarity of conditions across countries and institutions. Moreover, the model has relevance for ICT integration in the teacher education programmes of countries facing political and socio-economic challenges similar to those which Zimbabwe is facing.
  • Against the pedagogy of debt in South African higher education

    Masutha, Mukovhe (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-07-19)
    On the back of decades of austerity, marketisation, credentialization and related neoliberal conceptions of education and society, a student debt crisis has emerged in higher education (HE). Despite the well-documented history of government-guaranteed income contingent loans (ICLs) indenturing students and their present and future families, such loans continue to be canvassed by policymakers and interest groups as an ideal ladder of educational opportunity, particularly for students from traditionally excluded communities. In this paper, the author brings together insights from Jeffrey Williams’ Pedagogy of Debt, Carter G Woodson’s Miseducation, Ha-Joon Chang’s idea of Bad Samaritans, and Kwame Nkrumah’s theory of Sham Independence as conceptual building blocks to reinforce the wall of resistance against the orthodoxy of debt as a paradigm for HE funding in South Africa. To add to the student debt abolition movements and the voices calling for freeing public HE, this paper critically reviews the recommendations of South Africa’s 2017 Fees Commission Report. This is done to offer an analysis that makes explicit the likely impact of the proposed student loan policy on South Africa. As we imagine transitioning towards the new African University, this paper makes a case for freeing public HE for all, on the basis of mutual aid, transitional and reparative justice.
  • The SDG agenda and university transformation in Africa: The decolonial turn deferred?

    Motala, Shireen; Sayed, Yusuf YM; Maggott , Terri (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-07-19)
    The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed in September 2015 set the scene for a renewed and ambitious development framework in a global context of widening inequalities within and between countries, global economic crises, conflict and climate change. Higher education is framed in several of the targets that make up SDG 4 and is also argued as central to achieving all 17 goals. However, the extent to which they engage with higher education in the context of calls for responsive, decolonised higher education remains underexplored. It is this gap that this paper addresses, arguing that while the SDGs take a broad approach to education the focus on specific targets and indicators limit states’ autonomy by de-territorialising local frameworks (Sayed & Moriarty, 2020). As a result, universities in Africa struggle to assert their agendas as power is overly located at the supra national level. We use the case of South African higher education to examine how and in what ways the national education agenda articulates with the SDG agenda. In particular, we focus on the lack of a clear equity and anti-racist focus in the SDG agenda which fails to engage with the disciplinary hold of racism over knowledge. We use Boaventura de Sousa Santos’ (2014) notion of difficult questions in higher education with weak answers to address what a decolonised and deracialised higher education system might look like. In particular, we articulate how Western domination has marginalised knowledge present in the global South. In so doing, we describe the influence of the SDGs in higher education noting the strides made but also their limited application in the global South and the decolonial turn. We argue that the decolonisation of knowledge in higher education is a collective process in which disruptive disciplinary practices contribute to cognitive global justice.
  • Access and politics of higher education for refugees: Comparative contexts from Uganda and Ethiopia

    Woldegiorgis, Emnet Tadesse; Monari, Kennedy (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-07-19)
    An intricate mesh of factors hampers students from refugee backgrounds from accessing and having success in higher education (HE). The paper examines HE within a broader framework of refugee education and the future politics of its provision. Much research is done on refugee children and youth in schooling contexts, but less is known about students from refugee backgrounds in HE. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an estimated 65 million people are currently displaced, of whom over 21 million meet refugee status criteria. Nevertheless, only five percent of this group has access to HE. Thus, access to HE and the success of students from refugee backgrounds are central to the discussion on the future of HE. The paper provides a comparative overview of difficulties regarding access to HE for refugee students in Uganda and Ethiopia, highlighting policy and settlement issues in their legislative and political contexts. It also interrogates students’ coping mechanisms, exploring their experiences through interviews. The study uses secondary data, document analysis, and interviews with a total of 30 students from refugee backgrounds, fifteen from Makerere University in Uganda and fifteen from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.
  • Practice schools as third spaces? Navigating the continuum between hierarchical models and collaborative partnerships in teaching practice in South Africa

    Le Roux, Sarlina Gertruida; Lemmer, Rina (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-06-01)
    Mentoring student teachers is a fundamental approach in teaching practice. Traditionally, teaching-practice models have been based on cognitive apprentice approaches and have been hierarchical in nature. Problems with finding suitable schools for teaching practice and mentoring experiences have been challenging, which has led to the implementation of collaborative partnership approaches. In South Africa, minimal research has been undertaken on the establishment of partnerships to strengthen teaching practice, with work in the third space almost non-existent. The research question under investigation in this paper is as follows: How do we move away from hierarchical models of teaching practice and establish collaborative partnerships between schools and universities? The paper is underpinned by both third space theory and border theory. The aim of the paper is, first, to explore the challenges encountered with the hierarchical models used in teaching practice. Second, we explore what collaborative educational partnerships entail and investigate the various models used internationally to establish partnerships between universities and schools to strengthen teaching practice. This non-empirical paper uses a secondary-source data design that draws on existing texts, research findings, and journal articles. A qualitative research approach has been employed as it allows a narrative description of the data collected. An interpretive approach is employed to interpret and to discuss the findings. The paper concludes by reviewing practice schools as a type of school that allows lecturers, teachers, and students to cross institutional borders and collaborate in the third space.
  • Moonlighting agricultural practices of Ugandan rural teachers and teacher retention

    Arinaitwe, Gilbert; Michael , Corbett (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-06-01)
    This paper explores a little understood aspect of education labour markets, the tendency for teachers to simultaneously engage in both white-collar side-hustle and blue-collar or land-based entrepreneurial activities. The papers argues that teacher’s engagement in multiple activities such as moonlighting and agriculture in rural community enhances their income and this helps to compensate for wage differentials with their urban counterparts. This practice is also associated with teacher retention and community integration of teachers which is a common challenge relating to rural school staffing. We suggest that the phenomenon of non-education related teacher side-hustles, which are typically understood to be problematic, is a more complex issue and a practice which may have potential benefits for hard-to-staff schools.
  • Student-on-teacher violence in South Africa’s Tshwane South District of Gauteng Province: Voices of the victims

    Venketsamy, Roy; Baxen, Elaine; Hu, Zijing (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-06-01)
    School violence is a growing concern globally and schools in South Africa find it difficult to manage the problem of learner behaviour. Despite various educational policies and frameworks developed to prevent school violence, the system continues to fail teachers. Due to violence,  schools are no longer safe places for teachers and learners. In South Africa, teachers are regularly exposed to physical violence and verbal attacks by learners. Recent media reports about teachers being attacked by learners clearly show an intent to inflict severe physical harm on the teacher. This qualitative study was conducted in one province in South Africa underpinned by the National School Safety Framework. This qualitative study aimed to understand the lived experience of teachers who had experienced violence against them by learners. The findings revealed that teachers are experiencing social, emotional and psychological trauma. Many teachers cannot perform their duties fruitfully and are constantly anxious to go to school. Emanating from this study, the following recommendations have been proposed: the Department of Education in South Africa should enforce its numerous policies and guidelines to protect teachers against violence. Social and psychological support services should be made available to teachers who have experienced violence. A stricter disciplinary code of conduct should be implemented in all schools for learners.
  • Pre-service Teachers’ Preparedness to Teach during Teaching Practice in Tanzania

    Mpate, Hawa; Campbel-Evans, Glenda; Gray, Jan (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-06-01)
    Teachers are vital to the success of any education system. However, concern continues to be raised about the quality of teachers’ preparation in the teachers’ colleges and about the quality of teachers in schools in Tanzania (Global Partnership for Educational Support in Tanzania Mainland, 2013; Mgaiwa, 2018; Makoro, 2020). In line with such concerns, this study explored Tanzania’s pre-service teachers’ demonstration of knowledge and skills of teaching during teaching practice. The study was conducted in three secondary schools located in Moshi rural District in Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania. It involved five pre-service teachers from one of the Diploma Teachers Colleges, five supervisors from the same Teachers’ College and mentor teachers from the three home schools where pre-service teachers were placed for teaching practice. The study is descriptive, employing qualitative methods of data collection. Interviews, focus group discussions and observations were used to collect data. Drawing on Shulman’s (1986) categories of knowledge, data were analyzed thematically. The findings revealed that the pre-service teachers had limited skill in lesson preparation and classroom management, which negatively impacted their learning during teaching practice. Based on these findings, the study recommends that teacher education colleges should take steps to better prepare pre-service teachers to effectively handle lesson planning, teaching, and classroom management.   
  • The imperative for real-world experiences in Kenyan teacher preparation for disability inclusive teaching

    Johnson, LeAnn; Kariuki-Githinji, Scolastica; Namai, Joab (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-06-01)
    Traditional university-based teacher training in Kenya has relied on theoretical campus-based coursework which provides strong knowledge but little opportunity to develop practical skills. The need for practical skills is particularly evident for teacher candidates who are expected to teach students with disabilities who attend class in regular education settings. This case study outlines a pilot class at Daystar University that incorporated video, field trips, and real-world assignments within an experiential learning model to determine the impact of real-world experiences on student attitudes towards individuals with disabilities and their families, knowledge of disabilities, and skills in identifying and using understanding of learner strengths and weaknesses to make instructional recommendations and incorporate those recommendations into the design of class-wide learning activities. Teacher candidates enrolled in the pilot class reported positive changes in attitude and understanding towards individuals with disabilities, increased learning, and had more confidence in their ability to work in inclusive classrooms. These results have implications for ongoing curriculum restructuring in teacher education in areas of the world where educator preparation lacks the necessary resources for implementing a series of fully supported field experiences leading to a full-time teaching practice opportunity.
  • Implementing competence about vision disturbances in Tanzania’s teacher education: A contextual analysis

    Vågenes, Vibeke; Ludvigsen, Kari; Melting, Arne Jacob (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-06-01)
    Around the world, schoolchildren suffer from vision disturbances that may challenge their ability to learn to read and write. Often teachers lack the competences to identify and help children who struggle with vision problems. This study is a part of a Norwegian-Tanzanian research project with intentions to strengthen teachers’ competences on identifying and improving pupils’ vision problems.  With a qualitative research design, we analyse how contextual factors of task, time, scale and direction provided possibilities and barriers for implementing the new competence in Tanzanian special needs teacher education, and for scaling up the competence to mainstream teacher education. The task, timing, and direction of the capacity building meant that the efforts were well received in special needs teacher education. The core ideas of the competence building corresponded with the national education strategies for inclusive education and may spread awareness on learning difficulties amongst teachers. Teachers’ knowledge and awareness of vision disturbances and other learning problems may contribute to enhancing inclusive educational goals. However, further scaling up of the competence to ordinary teachers and into mainstream classrooms is hindered by factors related to task and scale, in particular a dual-track educational system and lack of teacher competencies.   
  • Inclusivity and the remote doctorate supervision experience of a student with disability in a South African university

    Akala, Benard (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-06-01)
    These are personal accounts blended with literature on higher education in South Africa that reveal my experiences as a patient and a disabled online doctoral student. In recovery, I encountered challenges in reading, walking, speaking, and swallowing. Using the narrative technique, this article highlights the academic challenges that I experienced as I transformed into a disabled online doctoral student. To demonstrate the strength of habitus as espoused, the faculty of education demanded an abeyance letter explaining the delay in my doctoral studies. The paper reveals delays in receiving feedback, lack of physical, and intellectual feedback from PhD colleagues and my experience of the burden of critical thinking about doctoral studies.  The paper recommends that the Department of education along with higher education institutions should spell out what should be done when a higher education student(s) develops disability(ies)while enrolled and the extent to which they can be included in institutions of higher learning.
  • Improving South African student teachers’ English language skills: an argument for the assessment strategies of the PrimTEd language teaching project

    Mort, Thelma (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-06-01)
    South Africa is a linguistically diverse and educationally complex country. Most student teachers in Bachelor of Education programmes who are preparing to teach in primary schools do not speak English as a mother tongue. The medium of instruction for B.Ed programmes is English. Foundation Phase teachers will be expected to teach learners English (as a) First Additional language (EFAL). Intermediate Phase teachers will be expected to use English across the curriculum as English is the Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT) from grade 4 upwards. As such, it is important that newly qualified teachers entering primary schools can engage with English texts, have a competent understanding of English and communicate fluently in English. As one way of making a positive intervention in future teacher competency, this paper argues for the use of language and literacies assessment in Initial Teacher Education (ITE)at universities. The Primary Teacher Education project (PrimTEd) has developed a set of Language and Literacy standards for teachers, as well as assessments for primary school student teachers’ knowledge of English. These assessments are designed to occur at two points: entry level (first year) and exit level (fourth year) of the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree. Methodologically this paper considers the complex background conditions in language education which led to the PrimTEd project’s work and then sets out how the PrimTEd project’s assessment strategy may offer a hopeful intervention in these circumstances.   
  • ‘Nothing for us without us’: Exclusion of students with disabilities in disability policy review at a South African institution of higher education

    Ndlovu, Sibonokuhle; Woldegiorgis, Emnet Tadesse (Sustainable Programs to Reduce Educational and Avocational Disadvantages (SPREAD), 2023-06-09)
    The prominent disability rights slogan ‘nothing for us without us’ which was adopted from the 16th-century Polish revolution ‘nihil de nobis, sine nobis’, means that persons with disabilities, should be involved in anything that concerns their welfare so that they speak for themselves as people with a lived experience of disabilities. This empirical paper explores the participation of students with disabilities in the review of an institutional disability policy in a single institution of higher education in South Africa. Qualitative data were collected through interviews with twelve students with disabilities and seven disability unit staff members. Informed by critical disability theory, the finding was that there was limited participation by students with disabilities in the formulation of institutional disability policy meant for their welfare. While contemporary scholarship on disability seeks to address the exclusion of historically disadvantaged social groups such as those with disabilities but without privileging the voice of those with a lived experience of disability in policy issues, the ‘nothing for us without us’ slogan will remain elusive, fragile and cliché merely chanted. The paper thus aims to contribute to the understanding that limited participation in policy formulation could negatively affect the learning of students with disabilities and consequently their timeous graduation. For genuine inclusion, all students, including those with disabilities will fully participate in higher learning.  

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