The Centre for Practice Research

The Centre was established in 2007, with Prof Elizabeth (Elbie) Henning as founding director. Initially, it was a virtual entity with one desktop computer and a filing cabinet as its material home on the Auckland Park campus of the University of Johannesburg. Researchers from a variety of academic departments at the university congregated in the sparse room, whence many a daring research project was launched. More importantly, they came together to plan research about the burning issues of education at the time – most of which have not been resolved.

The CEPR is also the home of the South African Journal of Childhood Education, a National Research Foundation South Africa Research Chair, research projects in the Funda UJabule School, the Inventions for Good Inc. project for rural school children, educational video production, a winter school for researchers and teachers and many smaller projects. The Kelello Consultancy is affiliated to the Centre, sharing aspects of joint M & E research.

Centre For Education Practice Research

Components of the CEPR

Centre for Education
Practice Research

Academic research,
Community engagement

of Childhood

South Africa
Journal of Childhood

South Africa
Research Chair


Research projects in the Primary Teacher Education Program (DHET)

Student teachers learning in a teaching sch0ol

Rural Children in boarding school

Research capacity development annual winter school.

Research, monitoring and evaluation with Kelello Consulting

Research Collaborators

To broaden (and deepen) our understanding of the burning issues, we began collaboration with eminent researchers in different parts of the world. From scholars of language learning and literacy, such as Prof Catherine Snow and Prof Paola Uccelli from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, we have learned how to design research with a development foundation. Catherine Snow is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at UJ and has had a wide influence in South Africa, sharing her knowledge widely. Paola has assisted us in the use of her collaboratively designed instrument to assess the academic language of student teachers and children in the 6th and 7th grade. Her work has also impacted the Primary School Teacher Education Project of the Department of Higher Education and Training, involving universites where student teachers are educated.

Prof Jari Lavonen, a teacher education and also a science education specialist at the University of Helsinki, is another Distinguished Visiting Professor in this UJ Centre. In joint research with the CEPR and the Department of Childhood Education, he leads and supports teacher education research in schools such as the UJ teaching school, Funda UJabule, and the Viikki practice school of the University of Helsinki. His team includes UJ CEPR research associates Dr. Anni Loukomies and Dr. Reetta Niemi. Prof Annemarie Fritz-Stratmann is the first DVP appointed in the UJ Global Excellence status programme in 2015. She also spearheaded research for the development of the MARKO-D SA research, with her team Prof Antje Ehlert (University of Potsdam) and Prof Lars Balzer (Swiss Vocational Education Institute).

There are a number of other research associates who collaborate with the Centre.

Prof Annemarie Fritz Stratmann

Prof Nicky Roberts Research Projects

Primary school teacher education, (PrimTEd)

Department of Higher Education and Training
Assessment of student teachers

Project name PrimTEd assessment workstream
Client Department of Higher Education and European Union
Partners/collaborators UJ CEPR (lead)
Walter Sisulu University (WSU)
University of the Witwatersrand
Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)
University of Free State
North West University
Fort Hare
University of the Western Cape
Contract duration Start July 2016 End April 2020
Project leader Nicky Roberts*
Project manager Stacey Sommerdyk
Project team Elizabeth Henning*
Sarita Ramsaroop*
Kathleen Fonseca*
Jerry Maseko*
Yash Klipp
Rene Weston
Charis Allison*
Brief description To gather a national picture of the mathematical and literacy/language knowledge and skills for teaching of prospective primary teachers, on entry to and exit from, Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes.
Scale National (South Africa) – to reach all 26 universities


Prof Nadine Petersen Projects

Prof Petersen, the Vice-Dean of Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Education, has been a research partner of the CEPR since 2012.

Currently she leads two projects.

1. Transforming Education in Rural South Africa (

Project name Transforming Education in Rural South Africa
Project Managers Nozipho Motolo with Rhulane Ramasodi (South Africa) and Robby Harris (US).
Brief Description With a grant from Inventions for Good Incorporated (IFGI), a PBO in the US, several case studies of rural learners, who are the children of farm workers, are conducted. The studies aim to find how the transition from local farm school to boarding school has impacted the lives of the children.
Researchers Dr Sarita Ramsaroop
Taryn Bennett
Lufuno Tshidumo
Delia Arends
Dr Sonja Brink (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)

2. Student Teachers Learning in a Teaching School

Project name Student Teachers Learning in a Teaching School
Project Managers Nozipho Motolo (South Africa) Anni Loukomies (Finland)
Brief Description In this project Prof Petersen’s team collaborates with the team of Prof Jari Lavonen, who is a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the CEPR. The research commenced in 2013 and is on-going, forming part of a MoA between the Faculties of Education at the University of Johannesburg and the University of Helsinki. The sites for the research are the Viikki School in Helsinki and the Funda UJabule School in Johannesburg.
Researchers Prof Jari Lavonen
Dr Sarita Ramsaroop,
Prof E Henning,
Dr Anni Loukomies,
Dr A Myllivitta.