Saide Current Awareness
25 March 2024


Distance Education


 Education: South Africa

  • Action threatened against unregistered school that charges R850 per month Source: GroundUP A school in Mpheni village, Limpopo, catering to children up to Grade 5, may soon be closed, and its approximately 150 children will have to find a new educational home. The school, according to the Limpopo Department of Education, has never been registered. Yet for at least two years it has been collecting money from parents while not offering accredited tuition.
  • Teachers want control of chaotic classrooms Source: Sunday Tribune Teachers are calling for a national conversation on ways in which they can reclaim their authority in the classroom from unruly pupils who refuse to respect them or the rules of the school.The Pardoning Teachers’ Movement (PTM) was born out of frustration, according to Glen Snyman, a teacher from Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo, who has been at the forefront of establishing the movement.
  • Changes for school calendars in South Africa Source: BusinessTech The Department of Basic Education has gazetted a new policy for determining school calendars in South Africa.
  • Breaking the cycle of poverty by addressing education inequality Source: Biz Community Much has been written in recent years about South Africa’s broken public education system and dismal educational outcomes which perpetuate the cycle of unemployment, poverty, and inequality. 


Language, Literacies and Research Writing


Open Access, Open Education and Open Educational Resources


Post Schooling

  • Navigating the horizon: Preparing African universities for the inevitable AI Source:University World News Dr Eyualem Abebe, dean of STEM at Eastern Florida State College, Cocoa, in Florida in the United States of America discusses the question “Are we ready for such a transformative power?”  and writes the following "This question becomes especially relevant to academic institutions that are expected to serve as the centres of knowledge creation. As much as AI transforms how we do things in all aspects of our lives, it will also unquestionably change what we would like to learn and how we learn it.
    The biggest hope is this leap will transform the historical and largely chalk-and-talk approach in higher institutions to a more student-centred, engaging and tailored one. Unfortunately, at least in the short term, it may also intensify academic dishonesty, especially in institutions of higher education that lack the preparedness to benefit from it.
  • ‘Economics has an Africa problem,’ Nobel symposium hears Source: University World News “Economics does, indeed, have an Africa problem,” a gathering of leading academics was told last week.They were meeting in South Africa for the third Nobel in Africa symposium, this time focusing on economics.
    The symposia are an initiative of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), in partnership with Stellenbosch University, and have been held under the auspices of the Nobel Foundation and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences since 2022, with funding from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.
  • ARUA plans to revolutionise doctoral training in Africa Source: University World News The African Research Universities Alliance, or ARUA, indicated in its strategic plan (2022-27) its intention to assist member universities to produce 1,000 PhD graduates annually by the end of the plan period, up from the average of 200 that the universities have been doing.
    It is good to see that these universities have already started growing their numbers, even if modestly. The target was prompted by the huge deficit that exists in the production of highly skilled and competent researchers to undertake work that will provide answers to the many development challenges of the region.


Skills and Employment 


Teaching and Learning: Local and Global


Technology-Enhanced Learning

  • a teacher-created app to support a human-centered writing process Source: Substack A post by Anna Mills who writes" How can AI support students’ writing processes without taking the place of writing or thinking? I have been a volunteer advisor on an app developed by teachers, I wanted to share a little about why this approach makes sense to me as. way to support both AI literacy and students’ development of their own words and ideas."
  • AI vs The Law — in battle for development, only one winner can emerge Source: Daily Maverick If you keep your model open-source and share every detail about how the model was built, then you will not be harassed and you’ll mostly be exempt from the punitive side of the AI Act.
  • Beyond Burnout: AI as an Academic Ally in the “Publish or Perish” Culture  Source: Faculty Focus The concept of “publish or perish” in higher education suggests that the destiny of academic faculty depends on their success in publishing scholarly work. De Rond & Millier (2005) suggest that aphorisms such as these are respected by many and feared by even more.  This culture still persists in many higher education institutions, but we often fail to see the detrimental impact of it, particularly on time-strapped professionals.  One of the critical challenges faced by higher education educators is the scarcity of time, with faculty often juggling up to 18 teaching contact hours each week, alongside administrative responsibilities. This leaves little room for quality empirical research to be done. In this context, Artificial Intelligence (AI) emerges as a potential savior, offering solutions to some of the challenges experienced. 
  • Faculty-Student Mentoring in Online Higher Education Source: Faculty Focus In the online college classroom, the relationship between undergraduate students and faculty mentors has been the subject of some research, particularly within the framework of structured academic mentoring programs. These programs are designed to foster meaningful connections between faculty mentors and their undergraduate mentees, extending beyond individual growth to positively impact student retention (Olesova, 2019; Jefferson, 2021). This practical guide draws on research and experience to help you implement an effective mentoring program for your online students. 
  • Provenance and the infinite regress Source: LinkedIn A post by Mark Basset Director, Academic Quality and Standards at Charles Sturt University, questions the worth of having students submit their prompts  for ‘evidence trail’ purposes, opining that it is is highly problematic as it assumes a very narrow use case and isn’t based on the reality of Large Language Models.
  • Who pays for 'authenticity'? and other questions from the wokery-fakery Gemini fall-out Source: Substack. A post by Helen Beetham with a  list of 'critical AI' resources for educators