How to Apply for a South African Numeracy and Literacy Chair

Programme application and selection processes

 

The South African Numeracy and Literacy Chairs Initiative

The submission and assessment process consists of two sub-processes:
 

The Preliminary Phase

This phase begins with the submission of a short (maximum 10 pages but preferably shorter) pre-proposal from universities during the call period. The author of the pre-proposal, who is not the proposed candidate for a Chair, but rather a member of the Research Directorate of the Higher Education Institute (HEI), should address the selection criteria listed below.

Assessment of these pre-proposals will be undertaken by a panel of senior members of the FirstRand Foundation, Anglo American Chairman’s Fund, NRF, DST and Department of Basic Education (DoBE) in accordance with the selection criteria.
 

Recruitment Phase

The full proposal will give details of how the candidate meets the profile requirements as set out below as well as how the candidate’s proposal is expected to deliver on the following deliverables:

  1. Composition of the envisaged team to support the SA Numeracy and Literacy Chair:
  • What kind of human resources (collaborations, secondments, students etc.) the applicant will recruit to ensure that they deliver on the work required

2. Strategic Plan, which sets out:

    • How their proposal intends to meet the SA Numeracy and Literacy Chairs Initiative’s  four interrelated objectives;
    • How their proposal intends to meet the delivery targets of the SA Numeracy and Literacy Chairs Initiative ;
    • Specific details of the proposed programme for the professional development (skills and knowledge) of in-service teachers at selected public primary schools;
    • Specific details of how they will monitor improvement in learner performance in numeracy and literacy at their selected schools;
    • Specific details of the proposed programmes of research to improve the quality of:
      • teaching of numeracy and literacy at Foundation phase level, and/or
      • learner performance at selected public primary schools;
    • Specific details of how the candidate intends to provide leadership through academic citizenship and public engagement in national and regional fora in the field of mathematics education; and
    • The expected outputs and impacts in the five year period;

3.  Activity Plan for Year One, which sets out:

  • A brief, but functional development programme and research (activity) plan for year one of the grant. This plan should indicate significant milestones and expected outputs.

4.  Budget:

  •  A detailed and reasonable budget describing the expenditure of the SA Numeracy and Literacy Chairs Initiative , including the salary of the incumbent of the Chair, salaries of all other staff members working in the projects set up by the Chair and any other expenses.

Assessment of proposals will be performed by independent peer reviewers appointed by the NRF on behalf of the FirstRand Foundation, Anglo American Chairman’s Fund, DST and the. DoBE. Where necessary, in-depth interviews of the candidates will be conducted by an interviewing panel consisting of senior FirstRand Foundation trustees, Anglo American Chairman’s Fund trustees, NRF, DoBE, DST executives and other experts appointed by the FirstRand Foundation and Anglo American Chairman’s Fund.

 

Selection criteria for host universities

The selection of successful proposals from universities will be based on the following criteria:

  1. The level of direct or indirect financial and material support that the University will be able to commit for the Chair;
  2. Numeracy and Literacy education infrastructure at the university; and
  3. Experience and previous success in teaching numeracy and literacy at primary school level.
 

Selection criteria for candidates for Chair position

The selection of the candidates will be based on the merits of each candidate’s proposal.  This will include the strength of the candidate’s profile, including his/her qualifications and experience (using bibliometric indicators such as citations, Hirsh index, student training record and ability to raise large grants).  It will also include an assessment of the candidate’s strategic plan and activity plan (as set out below) in respect of its ability to deliver on the SA Numeracy and Literacy Chairs Initiative’s objectives and targets. 

The individual candidates who are applying for a Chair must:

  1. Hold a doctoral degree in any of the relevant areas (e.g. literacy studies, mathematics education, education, applied English language studies). The proposal must contain a full biography of the candidate, including qualifications and experience. Specifically, it must fully address items 2-4 below.);
  2. Be appointed at Associate Professor or Professor level,
  3. Have a four- or more year track record in developing and implementing programmes for the professional development of numeracy and literacy teachers at primary schools;
  4. Have a four- or more year track record of research that is excellent and sustained and/or clearly on an upward trajectory in teaching and learning numeracy and literacy in classrooms where students learn in a language that is not their home language;
  5. Have a track record of providing leadership through academic citizenship and public engagement in national and regional fora in the field of numeracy and literacy education; and
  6. Reside full time in South Africa for the duration of the Chair award.