Plenary Speakers

The Learning Conference will feature plenary sessions by some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Vivienne Bozalek Samuel Ouma Oyoo
Tejanand Dewoo Mohammad Issack Santally
Denise Newfield Crain Soudien
Mokubung Nkomo Arjoon Suddhoo
Bernard Ouma Mikume Chryssi Vitsilaki

Garden Conversation Sessions

Plenary Speakers will make formal 30-minute presentations. They will also participate in 60-minute Garden Conversations – unstructured sessions that allow delegates a chance to meet the speakers and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.


The Speakers

Vivienne Bozalek
Professor Vivienne Bozalek is the Director of Teaching and Learning at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa. Prior to this she was Chairperson of the Department of Social Work, University of Western Cape. She holds a PhD from Utrecht University. Her areas of research, publications and expertise include innovative pedagogical approaches in Higher Education, including the use of educational technologies, feminist and participatory research methodologies, critical family studies, and the use of post-structural, social justice and the political ethics of care perspectives to analyse policies and practices. She was a member of the Standards Generating Body for Social Work in South Africa and a member of the Quality Assurance Task Team, which has been involved in capacity building in relation to benchmarking of the Bachelor of Social Work curriculum in South African Higher Education Institutions. She is involved in numerous inter-institutional projects in teaching and learning and has been recognised as one of the academics at UWC and in Social Work education who has pioneered e-pedagogy in the academy. She was a recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at UWC in 2007. In 2010 she received the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award and the Association of Southern African Social Work Education Institutions (ASASWEI) Distinguished Educator of the Year Award

Tejanand Dewoo
Mr. Tejanand Dewoo ( also known as Shekar) is currently Principal High School at Le Bocage International School, Mount Ory, Mauritus. He holds a BSc Hon Maths (University of Delhi), Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (MIE), Principal Training Certificate for international schools, PTC (Imperial College, London), MSc Human Resource Studies (UOM) and MA in Educational Management (University of Bath, UK). He is further a workshop leader for IB- International Baccalaureate, examiner; former Mayor of Curepipe and chairman of Agricultural Marketing Board, represented the LBIS in various international forums and have run many educational workshops.

Denise Newfield
Denise Newfield is a teacher educator in the School of Literature and Language Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has been associated with the Learning Conference for over a decade and was co-organiser of the highly praised Learning Conference in Johannesburg in 2007. Her interests span literature, literacy, media, popular culture, pedagogy and transnational research. Her PhD study was concerned with processes of multimodal meaning-making in classrooms. Other research has focused on the role of poetry (on the page and in performance) for English second language students in township and rural schools in South Africa. She publishes in the fields of English education, multiliteracies and multimodality. She co-edited a special edition of English Studies in Africa, entitled ‘English Education in Africa’ (49.1, 2006), which includes her award-winning paper, ‘Mobilising and modalising poetry in a Soweto classroom’. She is leader of the Wits Multiliteracies Research Project, and is a member of an India-South Africa-UK English classroom research project and of the TESOL Research Committee. She was a frequent research partner and collaborator of Professor Pippa Stein’s, until Pippa’s untimely death in August 2008.

Mokubung Nkomo
Currently Mokubung Nkomo is currently Extraodinary Professor in the Department of Education Management and Policy Studies and director of the Centre for Diversity and Social Cohesion at the University of Pretoria. He obtained his Masters and PhD degrees at the University of Massachusetts in 1973 and 1983, respectively. He taught at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte (1983-1995) and director of the South Africa Partnership Program at the New School for Social Research (1995-1998). In 1998 he was appointed Executive Director of Group: Education and Training, at the Human Sciences Research Council. In August 1999 he was appointed President of the HSRC for a period of one year. In 1984 his first book was published under the title, Student Culture in Black South African Universities; in 1990 he edited a volume titled, Pedagogy of Domination. Recent co-edited works include Reflections on School Desegregation (2004); Within the Realm of Possibility: From Disadvantage to Development at the University of the North and the University of Fort Hare (2006); Cooperating for Science (2007); and Thinking Diversity, Building Cohesion (2009). Over the last twenty years he has served as a consulting editor on several journal editorial boards including the International Journal of Asian and African Studies, South African Journal of Higher Education, Perspective in Education, African Education Review, the CHE Triennial Review, and the Bulletin on Interracial Books for Children (a periodical published by the Council on Interracial Books for Children, New York City).

Bernard Ouma Mikume
Bernard is the current Head of English and Library Department and Guidance and Counselling Department at St. Albert’s Girls High School, Ulanda, in Migori County, Kenya; where he also teaches English and Literature to pre-university students in the Kenya’s 8-4-4 system of education. He also gives lectures in English Education courses at the Southern Nyanza-Rongo Campus of Moi University. Bernard holds a Master of Education (M.Ed) degree (Teacher Education Option) from the Institute for Educational Development, Eastern Africa, Aga Khan University (AKU-IEDEA), located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and a Bachelor of Education degree from Kenyatta University, Kenya. His research interests are mainly on language and related pedagogical issues with a current focus on the area of feedback provision on learners’ writing. He aspires to pursue his phd in the same area of language and related pedagogical issues and do more publications in the same area.

Samuel Ouma Oyoo
Dr Samuel Ouma Oyoo is currently a Senior Lecturer at the School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He is the current leader of the Language and Communication in Science Research Thrust at the Wits School of Education’s Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education. As well, he coordinates the Master of Science in Science Education Degree programme, teaches physics and physics related courses to undergraduate and postgraduate student teachers and supervises a number of honours, Masters and PhD students on their research projects. Previously he has held the position of Assistant Professor at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development Eastern Africa (AKU-IEDEA) located in Dar es Salaam Tanzania, where he led the Educational Inquiry, Science Education and the Academic Writing Courses in the Master of Education (MEd) programme. He served in a similar capacity and performed similar roles (immediately prior to joining the University of the Witwatersrand) at the Department of Educational Communication, Technology and Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, Maseno University, Kenya. Samuel holds a First Class Honours Bachelor of Education Degree and a Master of Education Degree with Distinction in Science Education respectively from Nottingham and Leeds Universities in England, United Kingdom, and a PhD in Education from Monash University, Clayton Campus, Melbourne, Australia. Samuel has research and publication interests in education in general with a bias in language and gender issues in education including science education. His most recent publication appeared in the Research in Science Education journal and is entitled: Language in Science Classrooms: An analysis of physics teachers’ use of and beliefs about language. DOI: 10.1007/s11165-011-9228-3.


Mohammad Issack Santally
Mr. Santally Mohammad Issack is a Senior Lecturer in Educational Technology and currently in charge of the Virtual Centre for Innovative Learning Technologies (VCILT) of the University of Mauritius. His area of research is educational technology. He has particular interests in personalisation of web-based learning and the instructional integration of Open Educational Resources in online courses. He was the team leader for the Mauritian Team on the SIDECAP project, an ACP-EU funded project on distributed education, led by the Open University of the UK. He has a number of publications in the educational technology field and is among the early pioneers of online learning in Mauritius. He has also been involved in a number of consultancy projects in e-Learning at the International level for the SADC, COMESA, the Hamdan Bin Mohamed e-University of Dubai and the Seychelles. After being awarded the outstanding young person in 2006 in Mauritius, he led the VCILT to be a finalist in the World Innovation Summit for Education Awards in 2009 and contributed to the VCILT in 2011 to receive the Commonwealth of Learning Award of excellence in the development of distance education materials.

Crain Soudien
Professor Crain Soudien is formerly the Director of the School of Education at the University of Cape Town and currently Deputy Vice-Chancellor. He is a widely published sociologist and educationalist. He was educated at the Universities of Cape Town, South Africa and holds a PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is involved in a number of local, national and international social and cultural organisations and is the Chairperson of the District Six Museum Foundation, President of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies and was in 2008-2009 the Chair of a Ministerial Committee on Transformation in Higher Education.

Arjoon Suddhoo
Dr Arjoon Suddhoo was born on 11 November 1958 in Mauritius. After winning the national Laureateship in 1978, he started his higher education in England. He completed his Engineering course with First Class Honours at the University of Manchester and pursued his PhD in Applied Computing and Mathematics at the same University. He is also holder of an MBA with Distinction from the University of Liverpool. After his Post-Doctoral studies at Manchester University, he was employed in 1986, as Research Scientist for Rolls-Royce Aerospace in UK. During his 8 years in the company, he was promoted to Principal Scientist and Research Manager, contributing significantly to the company R&D while working closely with Cambridge and Oxford Universities and MIT.

In 1993, Dr Suddhoo returned to Mauritius to be employed as Head of Research and Planning by the Tertiary Education Commission and subsequently, in 1998, he assumed the post of Executive Director of the Mauritius Research Council, where he is currently.

Dr Suddhoo has been the Chairman of Air Mauritius, for the period 2001-2005. He is on the boards of several parastatal bodies as well as private organisations. He is a Fellow and Board Member of the Mauritius Institute of Board Directors and a Fellow (Secretary) of the Mauritius Academy of Sciences. He was also appointed Visiting Professor, Chair in Innovation at Queens University, Ireland. He currently externally supervises a number of DBA students at the Leeds Metropolitan University, UK and also Post-Graduate students at the University of Liverpool.


Chryssi Vitsilaki
Chryssi Vitsilaki completed undergraduate studies in Trinity College, Hartord, Ct. and received her MA and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Sociology, University of Chicago, Illinois, USA. She is currently Professor in the Department of Pre-School Education and Educational Design of the University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece. She is also the Director of the Department’s post-graduate program “Gender and New Educational and Employment Environments in the Information Age” which is the only masters program in Greece offered through e-learning, and which received by the European Commission the “2009 Award for Quality in e-Learning”. Her academic work has focused on the issues of gender and of new forms of education, new pedagogies and the role of technology in the learning processes, on which she has published 10 books and some 50 articles. She has served as elected Dean of the School of the Humanities for a two year term and also as elected Vice-Rector of Finance and Development for the last four year term, at the University of the Aegean. From this position she was a member of the Greek Rector’s Association and served on multiple advisory committees regarding university funding, research and development, as well as on issues regarding education, such as teacher training and teacher pedagogical certification, university entrance, etc. She is presently Secretary for Education of the Greek Socialist Party, and highly involved in the undergoing educational reform and especially the pending reform of higher education in Greece.