Podcast interview with Prof. Petro du Preez on the challenges that Higher Education are facing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is a multi-faceted crisis, imbuing all dimensions of human life and having implications for all disciplines and fields in our education. Listen to Prof. Petro du Preez, editor-in-chief, and the sub-editors, Prof. Anné Verhoef and Prof. Shan Simmonds, introducing further challenges that scholars might consider to address in this special call for papers.
The corona virus outbreak and its spread witnessed higher education institutions across the world race to introduce online learning offerings and assessments as well as support programmes for staff and students. Few would question the affordances of new technologies in expanding learning into virtual spaces.
One of the outcomes of the pandemic is that a certain level of transformation has been forced upon higher education institutions. This compelled higher education institutions to ask fundamental questions about how they see themselves operate amidst this pandemic, but also how they might function in the future. Pragmatic responses have dominated the sector to the detriment of onto-epistemic questions that require a fundamental reconceptualisation of what higher education is for and for whom. Failure to reflect on these questions could potentially jeopardise deep thinking and learning.
Several questions immediately emerge:
- To what extent should we embrace (and/or even resist) these forms of forced transformation?
- How (and why) does a fundamental shift in the nature of higher education challenge the way we teach, learn and assess?
- What happens when spaces, gatherings and physical classes – in short, places of learning and knowledge production – are radically redefined and/or totally falls away?
We call for papers that critically speak to the complicated dimensions that COVID-19 pose for higher education. Onto-epistemic engagements that speak to the fundamental reconceptualisation of higher education will receive priority. Papers that question and address forced transformation in higher education are also encouraged.
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