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About REAL

The Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL) is a research centre in the School of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand. It conducts cutting edge research, offers teaching programmes and provides support to policy makers and regulatory institutions on 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.

REAL’s work is broadly defined into three main overarching areas with the overall theme being:

Rethinking the politics, practices, and policies of the Post School Sector

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

The REAL Centre was founded in 1987 as the Wits Education Policy Unit – One of the four university-based research units. The EPU’s purpose was to provide a scholarly context for the development of post-apartheid South Africa’s education policy. It provided policy support, research and analysis to the democratic movement and to national and provincial governments. In keeping with the changing context and new demands in democratic South Africa, Professor Peliwe Lolwana led the establishment of Centre for Researching Education and Labour at the Wits School of Education in 2012. REAL was founded to address the need in South Africa for a dedicated research centre focused on broadening and deepening understanding of the relationships between education and work.