In 2013 NMMU hosted a visit involving UCT SII and SDU staff members. This created an opportunity for constructive engagement between education faculty members from both institutions as well as CCS (Centre for the Community School) staff, principals and teachers involved in the Manyano project. This conversation continued during discussions at SAERA in 2017 where we agreed that a follow-up meeting would be valuable to continue the discussions that were started and to critically reflect on some of the issues that were raised both during the conference sessions and in our informal conversations. This we hope to do by building an alternative symposium culture that is inclusive and dialogical, and that opens the space to all voices in ways that encourage the sharing of ideas and deepens our collective understanding. As agreed, the proposed symposium would afford us an exciting opportunity to share our experiences in participatory and interactive forums based on our respective university-school-community partnership projects.
We wish to critically engage with participants about some of the key questions relating to these partnerships, including:
Why have we established partnerships with schools, to what end(s) and for what purpose(s)?
What are the various research methodologies we employ/intend employing in our work?
How does our work contribute to the broader project of engaged scholarship at our respective universities?
How can we extend our thinking about decolonising approaches to university-school-community partnerships?
Starting from the perspective of the schools in community, we seek to deepen our understanding of the theoretical, practical and contextual elements as outlined above. Our goal is to generate insights that strengthen and deepen university-school partnerships and to participate in a collaborative research and practice-based network.
Possible outcomes of the symposium
To deepen our understanding of our work, in relation to broader and varied contexts and forces.
To continue the conversations and dialogues across multiple contexts.
To discuss research priorities and opportunities/to discuss scholarship that is gained through praxis that allows for the creation, interrogation, documentation and dissemination of knowledge in appropriate ways to multiple stakeholders.
To inform and reconceptualise aspects of university-school-community partnerships going forward.
To explore how engaged partnerships between universities, schools and education districts can contribute towards policies that promote improved schooling, and facilitate enabling learning environments.
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