Saide Current Awareness
22 May 2023


Distance Education

  • Student Dropout as a Never-Ending Evergreen Phenomenon of Online Distance Education Source:European Journal of Investigation in Health Psychology and Education. The primary aim of this study was to assess the research trends of student dropout within the distance education literature by employing data mining and analytic approaches. To identify these patterns, a total of 164 publications were examined by applying text mining and social network analysis. The study revealed some intriguing facts, such as the misinterpretation of the term "dropout" in different settings and the inadequacy of nonhuman analytics to explain the phenomenon, and promising implications on how to lessen dropout rates in open and distance learning environments. 


Education: South Africa 

  • Two Unisa council members resign in wake of damning report into university affairs Source: News24 The resignations come after the council held a meeting on Thursday, where members apparently discussed the report by independent assessor Professor Themba Mosia. Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, had this week provided the university with a copy of the report and is currently studying its findings.


  • Report recommends university be placed under administration Source: University World News A report into the affairs of the University of South Africa (UNISA) that was commissioned by Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande recommended that the university be placed under administration, writes Ndaedzo Nethonzhe for EyeWitness News.



  • International study shows most Grade 4s in South Africa cannot read for meaning Source: Daily Maverick The results of the 2021 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study show that 81% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa are unable to read for meaning in any language. Education experts have called on the Department of Education to produce a coherent and budgeted plan to address learning losses in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.



  • South Africa’s education crisis – the importance of early childhood education Source: Daily Maverick Learning starts long before children enter school – and so do learning backlogs. If South Africa is to solve the long-standing problem of poor and unequal education outcomes, the government will need to invest more time and resources into increasing access to high-quality early learning opportunities.


  • In S.Africa a 3-year-old reader stands out amid literacy 'crisis Source: At three years old, a South African toddler reads better than 80 percent of the country's schoolchildren who are more than three times her age. Lethukuthula Bhengu, whose reading skills have already made her a TikTok star with nearly a million followers, was this year named the youngest African "kidfluencer" at an annual award held by US children's TV channel Nickelodeon.


  • Basic Education engages with Treasury to fund National Reading Strategy Source: Discourse on development Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says her department is engaging with the National Treasury to fund an Integrated National Integrated Reading Literacy Strategy. The Minister said this in Parliament on Thursday while tabling the department’s Budget Vote for the 2023/24 financial year.



Language and Literacies

  • Rhodes University hosts Language Resources Audit Source: Rhodes University Rhodes University hosted the first sector-wide Language Resources Audit conducted by the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLAR) at the Continuing Education Centre 


Open Education and Open Educational Resources

  • Leveraging Open Educational Resources to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A Guide for Campus Change Agents Source: AAC&U This publication is designed to support the integration of OER and DEI efforts within higher education institutions. Based on research funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation that examined the strategies and experiences of the sixty-six colleges, universities, and state systems that participated in AAC&U’s inaugural, yearlong Institute on Open Educational Resources (2021–22), this publication provides evidence-based guidance and best practices that result in initiative sustainability and broad adoption of OER by strategically connecting this work to DEI goals, strategies, policies, initiatives, and offices that also exist within a given educational context.


  • New Course Materials Models: Who Benefits? Source: Inside Higher Education Course materials affordability remains a top concern among college students. Experts debate the ins and outs of new sourcing models, namely inclusive and exclusive access.


Post Schooling

  • Project to focus on digitalisation of graduate research Source: University World News An article describing the proceedings of an event to launch the European Union-funded Internationalisation and Digitalisation of Graduate Training and Research for the Attainment of African Regional and Global Development Goals (DigiGrad) project, in Eldoret, Kenya, on 11 May.


  • The cost of being a ‘public good academic’ in South Africa Source: University World News "The call for the reinsertion of the public good into higher education has grown louder in recent years. However, considerations of what it takes for higher education to contribute to the public good tend to focus on the financial costs that have to be covered through student fees, government subsidies and private donations."


  • Academic freedom violations in public institutions are increasing Source: University World News Academic freedom in African universities has dipped significantly in the recent past as a result of threats by political systems, according to researchers who searched databases on the issue in Scopus and Google Scholar platforms. The papers were published between 2004 and 2022.


  • Do we need a new type of Higher Education institution? Source: Tony Bates In his latest blog, Bates casts a critical gaze on existing institutions and questions whether our current institutional models – universities, polytechnics, colleges – are fit for purpose in the 21st century, or if we need innovation in the form of institutions that are differently designed, organised, managed and financed and whether our existing institutions are flexible enough to accommodate the changing demands of the 21st century.


  • Social media addiction takes toll on academic performance Source: University World News Research shows that African students spend too much time on social media. This not only negatively affects their studies, but also their mental health. And the addiction seems to be rising, increasing the risk of depression and anxiety.


Skills and Employment 

  • KZN innovation, robotics hub targets 4IR upskilling Source: IT Web "Higher education, science and innovation minister Dr Blade Nzimande has officially unveiled the newly-upgraded Richmond-Indaleni Innovation Centre in KwaZulu-Natal. The centre has been integrated into a larger hub that incorporates fourth industrial revolution tools and technology; for example, drone technology, business-related robotics learning and virtual-reality-integrated learning, according to a department statement. The innovation and skills centre aims to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural communities by providing access to the internet, digital skills and robotics capabilities.'


  • The important skill young South Africans need to get a job Source: Business Tech "Despite calls for technical and vocational skills in South Africa, youth with soft skills are more likely to find employment. South Africa’s unemployment rate worsened in Q1 2023, jumping by 0.2% from Q4 2022 to 32.9%, with youth unemployment especially concerning. Youth unemployment for ages 15-24 years and 25-34 were the highest on record, totalling 62,1% and 40,7%, respectively."

Teaching and Learning- Local and Global

  • ‘Technology is not created by the sky’: datafication and educator unease Source: Learning Media and Technology In this study by Czerniwich and Feldman, the authors report 'on findings from focus groups in a mixture of institutions in South African education. Archer’s theoretical framework provides a lens to show how, despite very little choice, educators critically reflect on their circumstances expressing discomfort and unease."






Technology Enhanced Learning



  • On-boarding your AI Intern Source: One Useful Thing. Prof Ethan Mollick's latest post on using AI to assist with your everyday tasks He writes: There's a somewhat weird alien who wants to work for free for you. You should probably get started. 


  • AI Colonialism Source: MIT Tech Review An MIT Technology Review series, supported by the MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program and the Pulitzer Center, investigating how AI is enriching a powerful few by dispossessing communities that have been dispossessed before.



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