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The University of the Witwatersrand and the UNESCO Chair in Teacher Education for Diversity and Development, in collaboration with the Flemish Association for Development, Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB), and the sponsorship of the European Union, are pleased to announce that they will be hosting the third symposium on teacher education for Inclusive Education from 10-12 July 2018.

Symposium theme: Enabling all teachers to be inclusive teachers

Sustainable Development Goal 4 commits all countries to universal access and equitable quality education for all. There is a renewed focus on effective learning and acquisition of relevant attitudes, knowledge, skills, and competences. As a signatory to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), South Africa has an obligation to enable the right of all children to an inclusive education. South Africa’s White Paper Six offers the framework with which an inclusive education system will be established, building on the constitutional foundations of human rights, social justice, participation and social integration.

One of the necessary steps towards realising this right is to ensure that teachers are equipped to teach inclusively. This means challenging exclusionary practices that have become accepted and commonplace in schools and classrooms, and replacing these with pedagogies that are inclusive of learner diversity.

Teacher education is crucial in achieving an equitable and inclusive education system. Pre- and in-service teachers in ordinary and special schools need to be empowered to enable the disruptions necessary to reform the system. All teachers need to become inclusive teachers, so that all learners can be included.

In line with Article 24 of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), part of the process is expanding inclusive teaching practice to include the needs of learners with severe disabilities who may require additional, specific accommodations within an inclusive classroom. 

Following the highly successful first and second National Symposia, this third symposium aims to build knowledge interchange among researchers, practitioners and policy makers. Through plenary panel discussions, posters, breakaway paper presentations, interactive roundtable discussions, and various networking opportunities, the symposium expects to build capacity for teacher education for inclusive teaching. The following themes will focus the deliberations:

  • Agency for social justice and inclusion
  • Valuing and understanding learner diversity
  • Classroom practices that promote and support collaborative and individual learning
  • Collaboration to enable inclusive teaching and learning
  • Developing professionally as an inclusive teacher

The programme will begin with The Teacher Empowerment for Disability Inclusion (TEDI), a partnership between the University of Cape Town and CBM, who will present an analysis of teacher education needs and available teacher education programmes that promote the expansion of inclusive teaching practise to include meeting the needs of learners with severe disabilities who may require additional, specific accommodations within an inclusive classroom.  This will include consideration of programmes offered by Centre of Excellence at selected Universities and informal programmes offered by NGO’s.      

Registration for the Symposium is required and can be done here


  • Payment Instruction:
  • The cost of the Symposium are as follows

R1200 (VAT included)
R600 (Post graduate student discount)

The fees for the symposium and workshops include attendance of all sessions, handouts, materials and refreshments.     

Symposium Venue:

Emerald Conference Centre, Vanderbijlpark


Accommodation will be available at the Conference Centre, as well as a wide variety of Guesthouses in the area. A list of possible guesthouses can be found at http://www.sleeping-out/accommodation-near/Emerald-Casino

Submission of abstracts and requests (closed)

We invite submissions of abstracts for consideration as breakaway or plenary panel paper presentations of 20 minutes, or for poster presentations. These abstracts should be 250 words and will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Relevance of the topic to one of the symposium themes
  • Clarity of research question(s) and/or focus of enquiry
  • Quality of the research
  • Significance for practice, policy or theory in inclusive education

We also invite submissions of requests to present an interactive roundtable of 30 minutes. In this format, presenters are seated at a table, and talk about their practice. There may be up to eight interactive roundtables set up in the very large room, and delegates select a table to join. Interactive roundtable presenters would be welcome to bring laptops and or set up posters on the boards next to their tables. This format is highly suited for the presentation and discussion of practice, and the sharing of strategies that realise the ideals of inclusive education. This includes sharing inclusive teaching strategies for learners with additional needs arising from severe hearing, visual and intellectual impairments. Submissions of requests should be up to 200 words and address the following:

  • What is the practice/strategy?
  • Why is the practice implemented?
  • Who does it involve?
  • How is it practised?
  • What recommendations are there for others?