Research School Details

The 22nd Annual SAARMSTE Research School for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education

Hosted by the Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

25-28 June 2024

The 2024 SAARMSTE Research School invites PhD students in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, their supervisors and early career post-doctoral researchers to apply.

Contact saarmste@gmail.com for RS2024 Flier to indicate Expression of Interest.

 

Click on the applicable button below to apply to participate in the 2024 Research School.

Applications are Open

History

The first RS took place at the Eskom conference centre in July 2003. This RS was a tremendous success and as a result a decision was taken to host the RS annually. Across the period since this start, over 400 students have been supported at annual research schools, with highly positive feedback, and increasing progress into Higher Education lecturing, supervision and further research capacity development in STEM education/teacher education

The purpose of the Research Schools is to provide approximately 40-50 PhD participants with the opportunity to explore various aspects of the research process in a supportive environment. Each RS is a 3-4 day residential workshops open to doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and supervisors in mathematics, science and technology education largely from southern Africa. At each school, a team of invited experienced researchers from regional and international universities run plenary sessions and workshops focusing on issues of research design and theory, data collection and analysis, and writing for publication. Participants bring their own research data and writing with them, and in the workshop sessions they are able to share their work with others and get feedback from peers and experienced researchers.

Aims

The primary aim of the SAARMSTE Research School is building a critical mass of researchers and educators and aims to produce people with the knowledge and skills that will enable southern Africa to engage proactively in a competitive global economy.

The aims can be listed as follows:

  • Enhance the quality of research and research training in Science, Technology and Mathematics education
  • Facilitate the progress of doctoral/post-doctoral students engaged in current research
  • Provide an opportunity for students to “show case” their work through means of a poster presentation, for comment and engagement in an open atmosphere
  • Facilitate a high throughput rate of doctoral students
  • Facilitate research writing and publication skills
  • Strengthen the community of Science, Technology and Mathematics education researchers
  • Bring together supervisors to facilitate the provision of high quality supervision and mentoring in research programmes
  • Foster international, national and regional collaboration that will contribute towards a culture of continued Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (STME) research

Participants

The participants are drawn from higher education institutes in the SADC region that offer PhD programs. Participants are registered doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows and supervisors. Participants participate in presentations, workshops, poster sessions, consultation related to their individual research projects and reviewing of an article that they intended submitting to the African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Sciences and Technology Education (AJRMSTE).

 

Reflections from 2023 Participants

Before attending the research school I felt isolated and alone. By the end of the programme, I found I had managed to ground myself and I had found confidence in my ability as a research writer“. 

“Through the 2023 Research School Programme I was able to get feedback on my work from a different perspective to what I knew. It was informative as well. All the different themes presented valuable information”.

I received enough scaffolding from my mentors, so much so that I even started my data analysis process right away. Secondly, I also learnt much from the workshops of other themes, particularly the academic writing theme“.

” Thank you so much for this opportunity and this amazing coherent and effective event!! I do not have enough words to describe how I feel“.

” I think this is a great initiative. It’s worthwhile because every aspect of the school is relevant to all the attendees regardless of which session one may attend. There was no time wasted at all”.

” Thank you very much to the LOC and the RCBC of SAARMSTE. I personally feel empowered especially seeing very esteemed scholars coming down to our level and hearing our naive ideas. A special thanks goes to Profs Lubben and Rollnick. One can never get enough of such facilitators”.  

Themes

Theoretical and Conceptual frameworks for research
Qualitative data analysis
Quantitative data analysis
Supervision of research studies
Collaboration with research stake-holders
Chapters completed and in progress
Publication of research
Poster to showcase their work

Collaborations

The Research School embodies collaboration. The majority of South African tertiary institutions have, over the years, sent doctoral students, as well as many students from institutions in the Southern African region to the Annual Research School. Senior researchers from all over the world have been invited as facilitators for the Research School, helping to expand networks for academics and students in the SAARMSTE region. In keeping with SAARMSTE’s Research School goals, a Memorandum, of Understanding (MOU), between SAARMSTE and NARST, came into effect in January 2023.  NARST is a global organization for improving science teaching and learning through research. 

In the six months since signing the MOU, SAARMSTE presented a symposium at NARST’s annual conference. In addition, an exchange of students and mentors, from the respective Research Schools has taken place. The initiative provides great opportunities for members from both associations to learn from each other and to develop meaningful partnerships to further science teaching and learning across the world.

Visit NARST Website for more information including Annual Conferences, Publications and Announcements.

Challenges

A challenge for the RS every year is catering for the diverse audience of supervisors and students at various stages of their research

Finance to sustain the RSs

Research Capacity Building Committee (RCBC)

The purpose of the Research Capacity Building Committee (RCBC) is to initiate and oversee strategies, structures, activities, and/or events that support and facilitate early career (masters, doctoral and post-doctoral) research development in mathematics, science, and technology education.

This purpose is consistent with the aim of “assisting in the development of research skills of people interested in entering the MSTE field, and developing further expertise in that field by means of organizing workshops, short courses and exchange visits” outlined in SAARMSTE’s Constitution.

The RCBC was constituted at the Annual General Meeting held in Windhoek in January 2005. The impetus for this arose from the activities of a project supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) in South Africa and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States between 1997 and 2004. 

Among these activities were exchange visits of doctoral and post-doctoral researchers between the two countries and two Research Schools held in South Africa in 2003 and 2004, each with about 60 participants, predominantly from South Africa. Reports on these activities were presented at SAARMSTE Annual Meetings in 2002, 2004 and 2005.

SAARMSTE and NARST this year, (2023), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to develop a new partnership which has taken off amidst great excitement. 

The Research Capacity Building Committee (RCBC) members are:

  • Founding RCBC members
    • Peter Hewson – University of Wisconsin, USA
    • Fred Lubben –  University of York, UK
    • Tulsi Morar – Nelson Mandela University, SA
    • Marissa Rollnick – University of the Witwatersrand, SA
  • RCBC Chair
    • Elizabeth Mavhunga, University of the Witwatersrand, SA
  • Student representatives:
    • Tarryn Lovemore – Rhodes University, SA
    • Theophile Nsengimana – University of Rwanda
  • Co-opted members:
    • Zukiswa Nhase – University of the Free State, SA
    • Edgar Sintema – Copperbelt University, Zambia
  • LOC representative:
    • Angela James University of KwaZulu-Natal, SA