Koers conference discusses challenges in education landscape
Koers: Magazine for Christian Science recently held an international conference on Worldview and education in Potchefstroom. The aim of this conference was to discuss the challenges in the South African education landscape, especially through the identification of subjacent philosophical issues.
Prof Siebren Miedema of the Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam) hands over some of his works to Ms Jubrie Oosthuizen of the Ferdinand Postma Library. Prof Miedema was a guest speaker at the Koers conference and donated a number of his books to the library.
Various education experts, subject specialists and internationally acclaimed philosophers talked together to make constructive contributions with a strong philosophical foundation and fine normative disposition, relevant for the South African context. Video clips of pre-interviews with persons involved with tertiary education in (South) Africa were placed on the Koers web-page (www.koers.co.za), which evoked a lively interest.
During the conference Prof Yusufu Turaki from Nigeria and Prof Bennie van der Walt (NWU’s Potchefstroom Campus) positioned the South African education challenges within the larger Africa context. Both Dr Samson Makhado of ACSI (Association for Christian Schools International) and Prof James Olthuis (Institute for Christian Studies, University of Toronto), placed emphasis on the traumatised South African society and the importance of justice, healing and forgiveness from a post-postmodern context. Profs Gerrit Glas, Govert Buijs and Siebren Miedema of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam explored new possibilities for good education within a plural society. In an impressive way, Prof Danie Strauss of the University of the Free State sketched a philosophical framework in which all these issues could be understood.
Conference delegates dance along with the NWU Choir during the gala evening of the Koers conference on “Worldview and education”.
The conference was also a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the accredited magazine Koers. The atmosphere was optimistic and warm, despite Potchefstroom’s cold weather. Bonuses such as energetic performances of Setswana, Zulu and Sophiatown dances, a visit to Maropeng and the Apartheid Museum, a game-viewing excursion
Prof Rantoa Letšosa of the NWU’s Potchefstroom Campus during the international Koers conference.
and lunch in the Vredefort Dome as well as singing performances by the University Choir and a church choir created space so that congress delegates could understand one another (and South Africa) on more than just an intellectual level.
During the gala event, Prof Annette Combrink, former editor of Koers, emphasised Koers’ special connection with the then Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, as well as with the NWU. Helena Hoogstad, current editor of Koers, expressed the hope that this positive relationship would continue, and she thanked the North-West University for their financial support for the conference. At the same time Hoogstad also emphasised the independent nature of the magazine and stated that the magazine’s vision for the future includes that Koers: Magazine for Christian Science, would be an important discourse space where academic, philosophical thoughts would be welcomed from various contexts.
Published by Kiewiet Scheppel on 19 July 2011.