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Goal 4: Quality education

Goal 4: Quality educationEnsure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Education is vital as a catalyst for positive change. Learning empowers and can be used to drive innovation and sustainable development.

Nowhere is the failure to deliver quality learning more apparent than in sub-Saharan Africa where challenges abound, including a lack of infrastructure, facilities and basic amenities like electricity and drinking water and a shortage of trained teachers. As a consequence, minimum levels of reading proficiency have declined and school completion rates are expected to get worse.

UCT recognises the imperative of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all and is involved numerous ongoing projects and research initiatives to ensure this end.

The Political Economy of Education Research (PEER) Network, led in Africa by researchers in the UCT School of Education, partners with academics and policymakers in conflict-affected countries in Africa and elsewhere to assist national, regional and global-level policymakers with making socially just decisions about education investments for the most marginalised. The three-year project is a collaboration between UCT, the universities of Sussex and Ulster, in the United Kingdom, and Nazarbayev, in Kazakhstan.

The Schools Development Unit (SDU), part of the School of Education at UCT, draws on research expertise to help tackle the systemic and structural challenges of South Africa’s education landscape.

The UCT Centre for Research in Engineering Education (CREE) is also concerned with improving classroom practice and student learning. It explores innovative technologies and methodologies to nurture and facilitate learning.

Furthermore, UCT has five free, high-quality online Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) among the top 200 across the globe according to a recent international ranking. These cover a range of subjects, from scientific and philosophical to humanising healthcare. And in 2021, UCT launched its UCT Online High School – the first of its kind in Africa – to provide affordable online learning to scholars regardless of geographical location.

UCT has a particular focus on mathematics learning in multilingual contexts. UCT Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, an internationally rated scholar, was the first black woman in South Africa to achieve a PhD in this field.