Faculty of Education Webinar discuss Inclusive Education during Covid-19

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On 22 July, the Faculty of Education hosted a webinar titled: 2020 Inclusive Education Teaching 4 All. The webinar forms part of the advocacy programme for the Teaching for Allproject supported by the British Council and its partners, MIET Africa (non-profit African education organization), University of South Africa, Department of Higher Education and Training and the Department of Basic Education.

Themed:  COVID-19 Reveals Inequalities and Other Forms of Exclusions Within the Education Sector, the discussion sought to unearth the inequalities that are brought  about by the COVID-19 pandemic in the education sector, and the impact thereof. It also sought to suggest and recommend relevant strategies to address such inequalities.

According Dr Xolani Khalo,  Deputy Head,  Project Coordinator and Lecturer at the UFHSchool of Further and Continuing Education (Faculty of Education) -  this is the second dialogue on inclusive education hosted by the Faculty. The first discussion which took place in 2019 was themed:  Social Exclusion and Negative Stereotypes as a Limiting Factor to Teaching and Learning

“After the initial dialogue, the Faculty agreed to host annual events that advocate for inclusivity at all levels of education,” said Dr Khalo

The session  was officially opened by the Dean of Education, Prof Vusi Mncube.  He delivered the opening and welcoming remarks. Participants included representatives from the British Council, Eastern Cape Department of Education, Academics from 14 South African universities and Principals from local high schools. The webinar created a platform for participants to present, share experiences and reflect on the topic.

The following UFH Academics presented  abstracts of their research papers:

Dr Xolani Khalo and Mr Msimelelo Nkohla -The rise virtual learning during COVID-19 Lockdown: A Review of Limitations and Successes

Ms Zoleka Ntshuntshe and Dr Nondwe Ngibe -Equal Education opportunities for all: Inclusive Education Demystified

Mr Sive Makeleni, Prof Ntombozuko Duku, Dr Rose Masha and Prof Mzuyanda Mavuso -Access to internet is access to learning: A story of four pre-service teachers

Prof Jabulani Kheswa - Ramifications of COVID- 19 on South African schools in rural areas

UFH Disability Unit Coordinator, Mr Sam Musschenbroek also reflected on the challenges imposed by the pandemic on students with disabilities and the support provided by the unit.

The keynote speaker, Ms Zininzi Mpurwana,  the Programme Manager for the Eastern Cape Disability Economic Empowerment Trust reminded participants that: “It is the collective responsibility of government, teachers, parents and caregivers to help reduce educational inequalities for students with disabilities, especially during a time of a crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic.”