Saide Current Awareness
18 March 2024


Distance Education

  • Distance Education for Teacher Training: Modes, Models, and Methods Source: Contact North This second edition of the guide is a comprehensive, valuable resource for educators seeking to deepen their understanding of distance learning and its application in teacher training. Drawing on extensive research, program reports and their own expertise, the author presents updated insights and practical knowledge. What sets this guide apart is its inclusive approach, covering various modes of distance learning from traditional print-based methods to cutting-edge mobile learning. By exploring the potential of different tools and technologies, the guide emphasizes the importance of designing learning experiences that meet the unique needs of teachers. It emphasizes the importance of inclusive approaches, defines key terms and advocates for standardized practices. A must-read for educators seeking to leverage technology in distance education.
  • FODES 2023 Book of Abstracts Source: F.O.D.E.S FODES held its third annual Fully Online Distance Education Symposium on Leveraging Technology for Innovative E-Learning from 19-20 October 2023. Scholars from all academic and technical backgrounds shared their experiences, innovative ideas, and pedagogical approaches to transform the education practice.


 Education: South Africa

  • Concern over learner dropouts and repetition 
    Conference taking place at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg on Thursday. President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed concern over the persistently high rates of learner dropouts and repetition urging stakeholders within the education sector to intensify their efforts in tackling these issues. The President addressed the opening of the 2024 Basic Education Sector Lekgotla Source: SANews
  • Spotlight on basic education completion and foundational learning: South Africa Source: Unesco The South African Spotlight report is intended to provide timely, evidence-based diagnostics to support the country’s education leaders in their efforts to achieve out-of-school, completion, and foundational learning targets (benchmarks) through research, dialogue with the Department of Basic Education officials and advocacy activities. This country report is part of a series spotlighting early grade learning in African countries. Research conducted for the report systematically analyses the extent to which government vision is reflected in concrete, actionable objectives to improve basic skills (e.g., in mathematics) and how these intentions are translated into fit-for-purpose curricula and workbooks, teacher support mechanisms, and learning assessment. 
  • South African vice-chancellors’ pay rises ‘morally bankrupt’ Source: TimesHigherEducation  Average remuneration up by 8 per cent, including multimillion-rand bonus for former Johannesburg head
  • Local robotics team’s journey to the world stage Source: Intelligentcio In the heart of Cape Town, a group of young visionaries, aged 12 – 17, is making waves in the world of robotics. Known as Texpand, this team from Pinelands has not only dominated the First Tech Challenge (FTC) in South Africa but has also earned international acclaim for their innovative approach to engineering and problem-solving. 
  • Looking back: Strengthening support for human capital Source:Kresge Foundation How Kresge’s investments in the capacity of nonprofits advance the foundation’s mission Part of a series of stories on Kresges work in capacity building featuring the Inyathelo initiative. 
  • Effective Collaboration Is Imperative To Overcome The Education Crisis In South Africa Source: IAfrica South Africa’s education system is in dire need of support. Top education researchers have found that a third of primary school students in South Africa can be categorised as “functionally illiterate”. A 2023 report released by the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), an independent policy research and advocacy organisation, explains that (adjusting for post-COVID learning losses), it is now thought that 82% of Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning. The CDE report, ominously titled The Silent Crisis, reveals shocking statistics showing that, despite significant public expenditure, South Africa remains at the bottom of all international tables on learning outcomes in reading, mathematics, and science. The report references concerning statistics by the Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study (PIRLS) that reveals that 78% of 10-year-olds in South Africa “cannot retrieve explicitly stated information and make straightforward inferences”.


Language, Literacies and Research Writing


Open Access, Open Education and Open Educational Resources

  • Open Educational Resources- University of Edinburgh Source: The University of Edinburgh  The Open Educational Resources Services is a central service based in Information Services that provides staff and students with advice and guidance on creating and using OER, copyright and open licencing, and engaging with open education. 


Post Schooling

  • Qualification recognition treaty: A ‘game changer’ for HE Source:University World News Refugees and students returning to their home country after gaining their higher education qualifications abroad are among those set to benefit from an international programme agreed upon by the first 28 countries to ratify the United Nations’ first global treaty on the recognition of higher education qualifications.
  • Science network focuses on SDG 7 in Sub-Saharan Africa Source:University World News  The African Network for Solar Energy (ANSOLE) is set to hold an Africa Day conference and participate in the Science Summit of the 79th United Nations General Assembly later this year. Founded by nine African scientists during an international conference in Sousse, Tunisia, on 4 November 2010, and officially launched on 4 February 2011 at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, ANSOLE aims to promote technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and research activities in the field of renewable energy among scientists, both inside and outside Africa, involved in the education and training of African students and professionals.
  • Support services for at-risk students do help – Study Source:University World News In South Africa, many students, especially first-generation students, enter university without the skills needed for success in higher education. Academically unprepared, they may not engage in self-help-seeking behaviour and may be less likely to seek assistance when required. To help these students and to address the low throughput and high dropout rates, higher education institutions have introduced large-scale student support programmes, bridging and foundational programmes, counselling and career guidance, more explicit and transparent expectations and criteria for assessment, and different pedagogies.


Skills and Employment 

  • MEC Anroux Marais encourages youth to apply for Wellbeing Champions Programme Source: GOVZA  YearBeyond is excited to announce the opening of applications for two more of its programmes: the Little Explorers Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme and the Wellbeing Champions Programme. In South Africa, Early Childhood Development plays a crucial role in shaping a child's future. The YearBeyond Little Explorers ECD Programme is dedicated to supporting ECD centres and households, fostering literacy and gross motor skills in preschool children. This initiative not only nurtures young minds but also contributes to building strong foundations for lifelong learning.
  • ‘We need a skills revolution in Africa,’ says AAS president Source:University World News Africa still needs enhanced and sustained initiatives to build a pool of diverse skills that are necessary to harness the power of science, technology and innovation (STI), which, in turn, can drive the continent’s development agenda, experts say. Speaking during a round-table discussion that preceded the launch of the African Academy of Sciences’ (AAS) five-year strategic plan, the experts, drawn from academia as well as the public and private sectors, said STI remains the key driver of Africa’s sustainable development, but inadequate skills inhibit its potential.


Teaching and Learning: Local and Global


Technology-Enhanced Learning

  • Artificial Intelligence and education Source: Learnest Youtube Dr. Wayne Holmes shares his research on how to implement AI safely and responsibly in educational settings.
  • Where are the crescents in AI? Source: LSE Batting away the hype, bias, and botshit, LSE HE Blog Fellow, Maha Bali, champions the need for cultivating critical AI literacy in our students, and shares tried and tested teaching ideas and exercises for educators
  • Artificial intelligence and illusions of understanding in scientific research Source: Nature Scientists are enthusiastically imagining ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) tools might improve research. Why are AI tools so attractive and what are the risks of implementing them across the research pipeline? Here we develop a taxonomy of scientists’ visions for AI, observing that their appeal comes from promises to improve productivity and objectivity by overcoming human shortcomings. But proposed AI solutions can also exploit our cognitive limitations, making us vulnerable to illusions of understanding in which we believe we understand more about the world than we actually do. 
  • Digital Distractions Source: University of North Carolina Tips on managing technology   
  • Research Insights #5: Student-Focused Studies Part 4 Source: AI Simplified A blog post by Lance Eaton discussing  the impact of generative AI on students with 3 recent studies.