Saide Current Awareness
11 March 2024


Distance Education

  • Determining a framework for institutional support of instructors engaged in distance education programmes using the multiple-criteria decision-making method This study aimed to determine the criteria of institutional support offered to DE instructors through document analysis, and to reveal the importance weights of those criteria by using the method of multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM). The author examined the standards published by a number of accreditation institutions and international educational organisations for DE, and determined the importance weights of those criteria by applying an analytic hierarchy process (AHP). She determined seven support criteria, namely (in order of importance): (1) technical training and orientation; (2) teaching material and resource support; (3) technical support; (4) professional development support; (5) support during the course; (6) evaluation and report submission support; and (7) career development, incentives and financial support. In presenting her study, the author provides an effective evaluation framework for DE support systems which includes a comprehensive set of indicators based on a literature review and feedback from experts.Source: Yıldız Technical UniversityResearch Information System  
  • DECIDE - Detriments and Benefits of Choice in Distance Education Source:FernUniversität A project that looks at the follwing question i.e "Under which circumstances is choice beneficial for students and under which circumstances can it be detrimental?" DECIDE explores the consequences of choice in the context of distance learning – also taking into account student diversity.


 Education: South Africa

  • Edward Webster: South African intellectual, teacher, activist, a man of great energy and integrity, and the life and soul of any party Source:The Conversation Eddie Webster (82), sociologist and emeritus professor at the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, who died on 5 March 2024, lived a huge life, applying himself to many different arenas with great energy and insight. His achievements are quite extraordinary. He was an intellectual, a teacher, a leader, an activist for social change, a builder of institutions, a rugby player and jogger, a man of great energy and integrity, and the life and soul of any party.
  • Sustainability: South African Education, Moving Beyond the Private School Paradigm Source: LinkedIn Education is a fundamental human right and a key driver of social and economic development. However, in many parts of the Global South, including South Africa, the education system faces significant challenges that undermine its sustainability and effectiveness. One proposed solution to these challenges is the promotion of private schools, but this approach may not be a long-term sustainable model for addressing the complex issues facing education in South Africa.
  • Umalusi Accredits 54 Educational Institutions, Boosts Quality Education Standards Source:BNNBreaking In a significant stride towards enhancing educational excellence, Umalusi recently recognized 54 institutions for their commitment to quality education by awarding them accreditation certificates.
    This landmark event, held in Pretoria, witnessed the convergence of 700 delegates in a hybrid format, celebrating the rigorous standards met by these institutions to offer qualifications under the General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Sub-framework (GFETQSF).
  • Study on knowledge, attitudes and practices of parents/primary caregivers
    The importance of play in early learning
     Source: UNICEF The Department of Basic Education with the support of UNICEF has recognised the importance of play for early childhood care and education. This study aims to understand what parents’ knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAPs) are with regards to play in early learning – based on current knowledge that interactions between parent and child in the first years of life are especially important for early language, cognitive, and socio-emotional development. The data has informed the ‘Power of Play’ campaign to increase quality playtime between caregivers and children and will be used to inform programmes that aim to improve parent KAPs in this regard.
  • SAHRC clarifies controversial stance on school uniform Source: NewzRoomAfrika Eastern Cape's SAHRC says there is space for school uniforms in South Africa. However, it argues that the uniform needs to be cost effective and should not be an obstacle that stands in the way of education.
  • Concerns of quality education in poor communities Source: NewzRoomAfrika Poor access to quality education at early childhood development centres continue to prevail in poor communities across South Africa. Do More Foundation programmes lead, Dr Jessica Ronaasen, weighs in. 
  • Copyright bill a positive development, says advocacy group Source: University World News ReCreate, a copyright advocacy group, has declared its support for the South African Copyright Amendment Bill (CAB) that has just been approved in the National Assembly.
    The group, which supports the notion of ‘Fair Use and Fair Royalties’, believes the reforms to existing copyright legislation, which it describes as ‘outdated and unconstitutional’ was long overdue.


Language, Literacies and Research Writing

  • Shifting genetic tides: How early language skills forecast ADHD and literacy outcomes Source: PsyPost Recent research has provided new insights into the developmental trajectory of children’s language abilities. The study, published in Biological Psychiatry, uncovered a shift in the genetic relationship between vocabulary size and ADHD risk/symptoms from infancy to toddlerhood.Early language development serves as a crucial predictor of children’s subsequent language, reading, and learning skills. It’s also closely linked with neurodevelopmental conditions such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
  • Speaking of Literacy Source: Speaking of LIteracy Podcast In this ongoing podcast series, hosts Grace Cacini and Natalie Schloss will interview professionals in the field of speech, language, and hearing science to shed light on how their work supports the teaching of reading and writing skills. These episodes are intended for educators, students, caregivers, and any individuals who work with children who struggle with reading and writing tasks.The first episode looks at the question of "how does the brain process spoken and written language over time?"  Listen to the first episode of “Speaking of Literacy” to hear about Dr. Kristi Hendrickson’s research on word recognition through eye-tracking studies.
  • Demystifying disciplinary literacy – A root and branch approach Source: Educational Endowment Foundation  For a long time, literacy in secondary schools was the sole responsibility of the time-poor literacy co-ordinator. Generic literacy practices such a SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) were common, but too often how to read, write and communicate well within specific subject disciplines was sidelined. Disciplinary literacy has offered a welcome shift for secondary school teachers and leaders. But what exactly is disciplinary literacy and how do we address it in practice? Chloe Butlin, a literacy specialist, considers how to define disciplinary literacy and what it could look like in practice.
  • Fake academic papers are on the rise: why they’re a danger and how to stop them Source: The Conversation "...The cobra effect has taken root in the world of research. The “publish or perish” culture, which values publications and citations above all, has resulted in its own myriad of “cobra breeding programmes”. That includes the widespread practice of questionable research practices, like playing up the impact of research findings to make work more attractive to publishers. It’s also led to the rise of paper mills, criminal organisations that sell academic authorship."


Open Access, Open Education and Open Educational Resources

  • Carnegie Math Pathways at WestEd to License Quantway and Statway Courses as Open Educational Resources Source: WestEd For more than a decade, Carnegie Math Pathways has been guided by a mission to improve outcomes and close equity gaps in gateway college mathematics. Now, Carnegie Math Pathways at WestEd has taken its commitment to equity a step further by releasing its Quantway and Statway materials as Open Educational Resources (OER). With this transition, Carnegie Math Pathways is making its trusted and effective curricular solutions freely and publicly available, increasing affordability and accessibility for students while also granting instructors flexibility to reuse, modify, and build upon the materials to support students’ needs.


   Post Schooling

  • South Africa: women play a key role in early childhood learning and care – but they need help accessing university Source:The Conversation In South Africa, the early childhood development sector is dominated by women who build creches from the ground up. These women offer services to communities that go far beyond childcare. They teach, feed and nurture children and keep them safe. They also build sustainable businesses and provide employment opportunities to members of their communities.
  • Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Innovation, 08 March 2024 Source: Parlaiment of the RSA Youtube channel (National Assembly), [Briefing by the National Skills Fund (NSF) on update in the implementation of the Audit Action Plan to address the 2022/23 audit findings; Briefing by the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (MERSETA) on update in the implementation of the Audit Action Plan to address the 2022/23 audit findings, including progress in the implementation of the forensic investigations recommendations; Consideration of minutes], Virtual Meeting Platform,
  • NSFAS scrambles to address criticisms, but all not convinced Source:University World News South Africa’s embattled National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) this week announced measures to address some of the criticisms levelled against it, but not everyone is convinced that everything is now in order.
    At a media briefing on Monday 4 March, the acting NSFAS chairperson, Professor Lourens van Staden, conceded that there had been delays with the payment of allowances to students, and said the problem was being tackled from various angles.
  • How age-friendly universities can improve the second half of life Source:The Conversation By 2030, more than 1.4 billion people across the globe will be at least 60 years old. This number will shoot up to 2.1 billion by 2050. At this point, there will be more people age 60 or older than people between 10 and 24.These dramatic demographic shifts prompted the United Nations and World Health Organization to declare the 2020s the decade of healthy aging. The creation of a more age-friendly world includes basic things like improving health care access. But one critical component is often overlooked: taking college courses in your 50s, 60s or beyond. These opportunities to learn later in life have been associated with a host of positive health outcomes. These include being less socially isolated and staying sharp mentally.


Skills and Employment 

  • Vodacom and Microsoft partner on free access to Mzansi Digital Learning platform Source: Hypertext  Vodacom South Africa and Microsoft South Africa have announced a joint initiative aimed at opening up greater access to educational resources on the back of the country recording a 44 percent youth unemployment rate. The pair have announced that they provide free access to digital training courses via the Mzansi Digital Learning platform.
  • Database for Youth Workers:Source: Facebook post UReport The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities is leading the process of professionalizing youth practice in South Africa and are collating a database of Youth Development Practitioners/ Youth Workers. 
    To register, please WhatsApp the keyword DWYPD to +27 83 283 8313 and follow the prompts


Teaching and Learning: Local and Global

  • Understanding Notional Hours: A Framework for Effective Learning and Development in South Africa Source: LinkedIn Notional hours, or notional learning hours, are integral for businesses in South Africa planning training and skills development for their staff, as well as for adult learners seeking to further their education to enhance employment prospects. These hours estimate the time an average learner needs to invest in a course, module, or unit to meet specific learning objectives, providing a gauge of the required commitment for success.
  • 2024 SDG 4 Scorecard progress report on national benchmarks:Focus on teachers Source: UNESCO Setting SDG 4 benchmarks is a novel process. It has involved countries specifying their contribution to the achievement of the global targets based on their national plans and policies. Overall, 79% of countries have submitted benchmarks, or national targets, to be achieved by 2025 and 2030 for at least one of eight SDG 4 indicators. This process, supported by the UIS and the GEM Report, responds to the Education 2030 Framework for Action which had called on countries to establish ‘appropriate intermediate benchmarks … for addressing the accountability deficit associated with longer-term targets’.


Technology-Enhanced Learning

  • GenAI & Ethics: Investigating ChatGPT, Gemini, & Copilot Source: Google Docs A slidedeck presentation by Prof Torrey Trust, Professor of Learning Technology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  •  AI Will Set Education Back 2500 Years... And That’s a Good Thing Source: TEDx Talk Robert Clapperton shares why generative AI will set education back 2500 years, and why that’s a good thing. Robert presents an optimistic perspective, suggesting that AI can revolutionize education by creating a digital extension of teachers. Robert Clapperton is an Assistant Professor in the School of Professional Communications at Ryerson University. Robert earned his PhD in English Language and Literature with a Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Science at the University of Waterloo. He specializes in computational linguistics with an emphasis on the critical application of natural language processing in education. Robert’s teaching focuses on the digital enterprise and communication research methods.
  • Mastering Prompt Engineering: Maximizing AI in Education Source: Teaching CS Youtube Channel Elevate your educational tools with the art of prompt engineering. Tailored for educators, this video delves into crafting effective prompts to enhance AI output quality across various educational scenarios. From creating more engaging content to personalizing learning experiences, learn how to unlock the full potential of AI in your teaching practices through expert examples and tips
  • More Useful Things: AI Resources Source: MoreUseful Things.Com Ethan Mollick shares the companion site to the One Useful Thing blogging post site with resources and a prompt dictionary.