ECEL Keynote Speaker Outlines

The following are outlines for the Keynote Speeches which will take place at ECEL 2023

ChatGPT: The first year

Zolile Martin Mguda, University of South Africa

On 30 November 2022 ChatGPT was launched by the company OpenAI. In 5 days it had reached a million users and within 2 months, a 100 million users. These are record-breaking numbers. ChatGPT has been identified as a potential threat to education because of plagiarism concerns. Its shortcomings have been and are currently being investigated by adopters and doubters alike. The early adopters of ChatGPT see it as the next big thing and its doubters believe it to be proof positive that artificial intelligence poses a danger to society.

In this presentation I shall go through the adoption of ChatGPT and critically analyse the narratives that have arisen in the first year of its launch. I shall limit such critical analysis to its impact on education, in particular tertiary education. I shall use, as a background, the stages in the adoption of new technologies. Universities are seldom ever the early adopters of technology and in some cases, their adoption of technology is induced by industry’s need for particular skills and qualifications.

 By the time of this presentation, these narratives will be in our “rear-view mirror” and at the time of writing this abstract they are still developing. To be an early adopter of ChatGPT in the tertiary education space requires us to revisit Bloom’s taxonomy and how the different SAQA levels evaluation standards.

The Role of African Feminisms in Shaping a Sustainable Future of Being and Learning

Thenjiwe Meyiwa, University of South Africa

Beset with a plethora of global challenges that have heightened in recent years, all forms of strategies and value systems are crucial to bring forth tangible solutions. The future of a sustainable world should be shaped by everyone that inhabits it. This paper subscribes to SONKE’s values, a non-aligned organisation working throughout Africa. SONKE advances that “women and men, girls and boys can work together to resist patriarchy, advocate for gender justice, and achieve transformation”. We should be in an equity, modern, and just world! Sadly, there is sometimes a disconnect between envisioning a sustainable future and translating that vision into reality. Valuable ideas and experiences on changed leadership are crucial to realise a sustainable future. Thus, it is crucial to explore innovative strategies, share success stories, and discuss practical solutions to bridge the digital and other kinds of divides – towards ensuring inclusive and equitable access to a quality life for all.

Responding to these questions, this paper explores the role and viewpoint of African Feminisms in shaping a sustainable future.

  • What lessons can be drawn from African Feminisms to achieve a sustainable world in which women, children, men, and gender non-conforming individuals enjoy equitable, caring, healthy, and kinds of relationships that contribute to the societies that are wholistically democratic?
  • How could the higher education sector achieve stimulating conversations with policymakers, and the corporate industry?
  • How do we unleash key constructs that are conscious of the Being towards achieving the worlds’ ideals?
  • What should be the role of Humanities in achieving the world’s ideals for humanity?

Digital Standards for South Africa’s Basic Education Sector

Dr Isabel Tarling, Director Limina Education Services. South Africa

The Department of Basic Education in collaboration with the British Council and FCDO embarked on a year-long project in 2023 to develop digital standards for different role players in the basic education sector. Throughout the year different working groups met to develop digital standards for learners, educators, leaders, parents/caregivers and communities, NGOs and volunteers, and for infrastructure at schools. Volunteers interested in the different working groups iteratively developed the standards with the first full draft of all the standards being presented in October 2023. Dr Isabel Tarling was the research lead for the project and coordinated the working groups’ deliberations and the development of the standards. In the keynote address, she will share the newly developed standards, plans to implement these and next steps for the project. The project website can be viewed at: