The University of Newcastle, Australia


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE) Director, Professor Penny Jane Burke, and Associate Director, Belinda Munn, have just returned from two weeks in South Africa.


Penny and Belinda’s first week in South Africa was spent in Durban where they facilitated a meeting of the Founding Members of the International Gender, Social Justice and Praxis Network.

This network was previously housed in the Paulo-Freire Institute-UK, with a particular focus on building Freirean frameworks for gender equity in and through education.

The Durban meeting brought women scholars together from South Africa, Sudan, Ghana, China and California to exchange work on gender and access to higher education and lifelong learning.

The University of KwaZulu Natal hosted a symposium, for which Penny was keynote speaker. The public lecture was followed by a World Café style workshop on access to higher education, with a focus on research and community engagement. Both the Symposium and World Café was attended by government organisations, community leaders, gender activists and academic researchers as well as students.

Over the week of intensive exchange meetings, the network worked together on a number of ideas for collaborative projects on gender equity and access to higher education, with a focus particularly on the African contexts of South Africa, Ghana and Sudan.

One of the most exciting outcomes of the week, was that it was decided amongst the network Founding Members that CEEHE will now host the International Network on Gender, Social Justice and Praxis.

The second week was spent at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED).

During this time Penny & Belinda met with the Dean of CHED, Professor Suellen Shay, as well as a number of other key CHED units and members to discuss their work in facilitating access and participation for underrepresented groups at the University of Cape Town. Further discussions with Professor Shay are scheduled for the coming months about possible collaborative projects in relation to the methodological and intellectual framework that are being developed by CEEHE, under the leadership of Penny.

There were many highlights of the trip, but a particular stand out was the rich and complex discussions across the first week with a wonderful group of activist academics and the opportunities for future collaborations that the trip facilitated.

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