Linking research to practice: Joining hands for inclusive education

The Optentia Research Focus Area on the North-West University’s (NWU’s) campus in Vanderbijlpark, the Faculty of Education Sciences on the NWU’s campus in Potchefstroom, and the Flemish Association for Development, Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB) are hosting the Second Symposium on Teacher Education for Inclusion on 7 and 8 June 2017. 

Inclusion means creating a schooling system in which all children feel welcomed, where differences are recognised and accepted, each child’s needs are identified and support is in place to accommodate these needs. Following the success of the first symposium in 2015, it was clear that advancing teacher education for inclusion should be a key focus of higher education institutions with the support of the Departments of Higher Education and Training, as well as practitioners. This is essential in order to ensure the quality training of pre-service and in-service teachers to become fully inclusive in their teaching. A key strategy for this will be to bring teacher educators, researchers, practitioners and policy makers together to share knowledge and experience in order to ascertain a constructive way forward in classrooms and lecture halls. 

This symposium will therefore provide opportunities for practitioners to share good inclusive practices, for researchers and teacher educators to report recent findings and policy makers to disseminate the latest conceptual thinking and policy developments. A projected outcome of this symposium will be to establish working groups, representing all stakeholders, ensuring that the teacher education for inclusion movement is taken forward.

Some of the keynote speakers that will feature in the programme include:

- Prof Seamus Hegarty from the University of Warwick, England;

- Prof Nareadi Phasha from UNISA

- Dr Marijke Willsens form Arteveldehogeschool, University of Gent, Belgium;

- Ms Robyn Beere from Inclusive Education South Africa (IESA);

- Prof Elizabeth Walton from the University of the Witwatersrand;

- Representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training and the Department of Basic Education.

To attend

The symposium will take place on 7 and 8 June 2017 in Vanderbijlpark. Delegates may register to attend on the Optentia website: by 8 May 2017. 

Cost of attendance amounts to R1 500 per delegate. This includes attendance of all sessions, hand-outs, materials and refreshments. For special group rates, send an email to Marinda Malan at


Prof Seamus Hegarty.

Submitted on Thu, 04/06/2017 - 10:11