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Centre for Researching Education and Labour

The Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL) is a research centre in the School of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand. 

The modern world is fast changing.  Local, regional, national and global trends all influence the way people live, the way business is done, the opportunities and access to education and work and the way the natural world is exploited.  In this era of constrained resources, increasing unemployment and poverty - the need for innovative, multi-disciplinary research is critical.

The REAL Centre is home to a vibrant and diverse community of scholars and practitioners, and forms an extraordinary hub for learning innovation.  

The REAL Centre conducts research into areas of theoretical, practical, and policy concern focused on the complex relationships between education, knowledge, work, the economy, and society with an aim to promote social, economic and ecological sustainability and a more just society. Our research programme thus covers many areas of relevance to academics, policymakers, education and training professionals, employers, trade unions and other interested parties.

Research Programme

Committed to methodological and research innovation, our aim is to contribute to researching, rethinking and teaching the politics and policy of post-school education and training, asking questions such as: 

  • How can education build social equality?
  • How do we conceptualize what education should achieve socially and economically for a more just world?
  • What is the nature of a progressive education project to struggle around and do research ?
  • How does education need to be transformed in order to transform work and society?

What kinds of education and work practices can contribute to sustainability?

Our work is broadly defined into three main overarching areas with the over theme being Rethinking the politics, practices, and policies of the Post School Sector :

  1. Rethinking skills & economic development for a just future
  2. Knowledge and pedagogy for meaningful & decent work
  3. Understanding & strengthening post-school institutions

Under-graduate studies

REAL has initiated the development and introduction of an Advanced Diploma in Technical and Vocational Teaching (Adv Dip TVT), to be implemented from 2017. The Adv Dip (TVT) is a professional teaching qualification for lecturers at institutions that offer technical and vocational education and training programmes.

Once this qualification has been introduced, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Technical and Vocational Education and Training will be developed, thereby enabling students to embark on a learning pathway which will take them into post-graduate studies.

Teaching Programme Post-graduate studies

REAL offers opportunities for Masters and Doctoral candidates in a wide variety of research areas.

The Centre has recently launched a postgraduate teaching programme: a package (specialisation) in the Wits M.Ed focused on education and work. This new package is aimed at people interested in improving their insight into education and the economy, education and social and economic development, and education and the world of work. The package will be of particular value to public sector workers, people with experience or interest in working in colleges, conducting or organizing workplace-based training, working in development-oriented NGOs, SETAs, development organizations, or other educational settings, who are interested in the complex intersection of theory and practice around education/work relationships in policy, training, and workplaces.

Doctoral researchers are supported through research weekends, regular seminars, high quality supervision and support, electronically accessible library resources and access to significant knowledge networks.




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