VUT’s Education Department hosts transformative workshop to deepen the understanding on care and support for teaching and learning

By: Qhawekazi Memani – 15 September 2023

The Vaal University of Technology’s (VUT) Faculty of Human Sciences recently had the privilege of hosting an enriching three-day workshop focused on Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL).

The workshop was facilitated by representatives from the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) and MIET Africa.

The gathering’s primary objective was to empower researchers with a comprehensive understanding of the CSTL approach and its Conceptual Framework, laying a robust foundation for their future research endeavours. Noteworthy attendees from VUT included Dr Chris Chitumwa, Head of the Department of Education, Dr Trishana Soni, CSTL National Steering Committee Member, a distinguished psychologist and researcher, as well as esteemed lecturers and Master of Education Students.

Dr Chitumwa welcomed the delegates, emphasizing that the workshop was organized for their benefit, and expressing hope that it would yield positive outcomes for all in attendance.

The workshop delved into crucial questions surrounding teaching and learning, including identifying common barriers faced by children, examining the impact of factors like poverty and HIV/AIDS on education, and exploring protective measures to uphold children’s educational rights. Additionally, a summary of the Policy Review of Care and Support for Teaching and Learning in South Africa was presented, providing insight into key international and regional commitments.

Key concepts such as the definition of orphans and vulnerable children, the determinants of vulnerability, and their application in an educational context were clarified. The workshop also championed a developmental, disability-inclusive, gender-sensitive, and rights-based approach to care and support for teaching and learning.

Participants engaged in discussions about mainstreaming care and support, understanding the principles that guide this approach, and exploring practical steps for implementation. The workshop also focused on effecting positive change, emphasizing the levels of change, adopting an appreciative approach, and outlining the steps to facilitate change.

As the three-day intensive program concluded, participants left equipped with a deep understanding of CSTL’s evolution and rationale. They embraced their pivotal role in enhancing school-based care and support through research rooted in real-life educational experiences. The significance of their research in shaping CSTL policies at national, regional, and continental levels was underscored.

Tshegofatso Ntoe, a VUT Master of Education Student, giving feedback on workshop shared that it was quite insightful and interrogated curriculum design, teaching and learning in depth, a module they are doing as part of their master’s programme.

Another student, Lerato Motloung said: “I learned a lot about the complexities of providing comprehensive support to both educators and students. The presenters expressed a strong commitment to creating a positive learning environment, emphasizing the importance of holistic development for both teachers and students. I learned about innovative strategies to address various educational challenges and improve the overall learning experience through engaging discussions and interactive sessions. The experience inspired me and provided me with a new perspective on the critical role that care and support play in shaping the educational landscape.”

Dr. Soni, in her closing remarks, commended the participants for their pursuit of mastery and highlighted the transformative power of research. She urged the students to take up the mantle of leadership in addressing critical issues facing the nation.

Participants were invited to contribute articles on CSTL’s pillars and encouraged to take part in the upcoming Windows of Opportunity Conference scheduled for 12 – 13th November 2023.

A key takeaway of the workshop was a poignant message: “Success is a journey, not a destination, and it undeniably requires a village to raise a child.”