SABEC Conference Chair 2014
|Ms Gail Campbell
Organisation: Chief Executive Officer
|Prof Mary Metcalfe
Organisation: School of Public and
University of the Witwatersrand
Message from the Chair
There is a growing acceptance that solving educational challenges in the country is urgent and requires the concerted efforts of all stakeholders. The second South African Basic Education Conference aims to support and channel joint efforts by providing a platform for dialogue between researchers and practitioners in the education sector and thereby help "Improve education through stakeholder collaboration". The Conference comes at an opportune time as we mark the twentieth anniversary of our democracy. This is a time to reflect on the shortcomings of the past, gains made and lessons learnt. The convergence of ideas will feed into and guide the processes started by the Education Collaboration Framework.
Since 1994 various stakeholders have supported government in its quest to strengthen democracy and contribute to economic growth and development through education - and progress has been made. This includes improvements in schooling infrastructure, increased funding of poorer schools, introduction of Grade R, curriculum improvements, and achieving close to universal access to schooling. Despite these achievements, the education system continues to struggle under the weight of poor performance as is evidenced in national as well as international numeracy and literacy assessments.
Government has acknowledged that the country is experiencing major challenges in education and has put into place a new vision and plan through the National Development Plan and the Department of Basic Educationís Action Plan 2014. The National Development Plan has reiterated the governmentís position of declaring education a societal issue and has called for a multi-stakeholder partnership to address education challenges. This call for collaboration is being realised through the establishment of the Education Collaboration Framework (ECF) which provides a platform for greater collaboration in the sector, increased dialogue, a consolidation of financial and intellectual resources and a coordinated roll out of solutions.
It is against this backdrop that the second South African Basic Education Conference hopes to play a supporting role in focusing and channelling stakeholder collaboration, knowledge-sharing and innovation on the six key areas outlined by the ECF, namely:
- The Professionalization of the teaching service
- A call for effective and courageous leadership
- Improving government capacity to deliver
- Improving resourcing in order to create conducive and safe learning environment: teachers,books and infrastructure
- Community and parent involvement
- Learner support and wellbeing
We urge all our educational colleagues to seize all opportunities and fully exploit platforms for dissemination, engagement and sharing. It is through working collaboratively that we can eliminate duplication and fragmentation in the sector and maximise returns from our collective contributions towards improving the quality of our education system.
Over 340 papers and more than 650 delegates at the 2012 SA Basic Education Conference...
The 2012 SA Basic Education Conference (SABEC) held in Durban over 2-4 April 2012, brought over 650 teachers, principals, academics, NGOs and government delegates together to discuss the state of basic education in South Africa. The purpose of SABEC was to provide a platform where academics and practitioners could share their experiences, stimulate debate, collaborate on solutions and identify best practices that will contribute to quality basic education for all.
The number and quality of submissions made to present at the conference (~340) highlighted the phenomenal initiatives underway that are achieving significant positive impact.
The importance of collaboration and sharing of resources and knowledge was emphasised throughout the conference proceedings and was tracked by SABEC as one of its key targeted outcomes. In the conference evaluation, 96% of delegates reported that SABEC helped them develop partnerships and 93% reported that they are likely to implement one or more of the innovations learned from SABEC in their work.