It’s back in-person, with a buffet offering of lectures, music, tours, and practical classes. The University of Cape Town (UCT) Summer School 2023 from 9 to 28 January will be the 73rd iteration of this festival of open learning. To include new audiences, Summer School is expanding to the Kensington and Hout Bay communities after establishing a successful Philippi Hub satellite in 2022.
Hosted by the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies (EMS) in the Development and Alumni Department (DAD), Summer School is still the largest public education programme of its kind in Africa – and a showcase for UCT’s excellent research and scholarly work.
Reaching new audiences is crucial to Summer School’s sustainability, said EMS director, Dr Medeé Rall. Here the aim is to make courses widely accessible to resource-poor communities, furthering its mission of “Open Learning for All”, regardless of educational background, or where they live.
In addition to livestreaming programmes to the Philippi Hub, 2023 will see Summer School livestreams at the UCT Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO) centre in Kensington and the Denis Goldberg House of Hope in Hout Bay. Named in honour of the late activist, alumnus and UCT honorary graduate Denis Goldberg, this is an arts and culture education centre for children and youth.
“Somewhat linked is our aim to make learning interesting and enjoyable.”
“One of the Denis Goldberg House of Hope’s key objectives is to expose the young people of Hout Bay to opportunities that they would not otherwise have,” said director, Debbie Budlender, a former deputy chair of the UCT Council.
“Somewhat linked is our aim to make learning interesting and enjoyable. Having some of the UCT Summer School offerings livestreamed at our centre presents exactly this type of opportunity. We have chosen a smorgasbord of sessions, some of which we think will appeal to youth who form part of our core target beneficiaries. But other topics we have chosen will appeal beyond young people to their teachers, parents and others who would not otherwise easily get this taste of the Summer School offerings.”
At the UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) Solution Space in the Philippi Hub, a similar strategy has been in place since 2022.
“The UCT GSB Solution Space is excited to have partnered with the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies to bring the Summer School to the people living in Philippi and surrounding communities. Summer School is always welcomed with open hands in the community, which shows how people yearn to learn and upskill themselves,” said UCT GSB Solution Space communications officer, Ntsiki Sackey.
“This is the space that the UCT GSB Solution Space works in as we strive to be a bridge to a brighter future.”
In January 2023 they will offer courses that were very popular last year: literature, art and music; medicine; information technology and science. These will be offered free to the Philippi community, helping to break the barriers of access to information, Sackey said.
“We are encouraging communities to upskill themselves. This is the space that the UCT GSB Solution Space works in as we strive to be a bridge to a brighter future.”
With no COVID-19 restrictions, Sackey said they hope to welcome more than 50 people from all age groups for each session in the Philippi space.
Learning, discussion, debate
In her message to staff, students, alumni and Friends of Summer School, DAD executive director, Sarah Archer, said, “The programme brings together public intellectuals, thought leaders and scholars from around the world to provide participants with an opportunity to be part of, as well as students of, the university over a three-week period filled with intellectual stimulation, learning, discussion, and debate.”
The in-person format also means a return of the book shops: the Book Lounge, Clark’s Bookshop, Help the Rural Child, and St Luke’s Combined Hospices Bookshop; the film programme, and coffee shop.
Besides history, philosophy, science and medicine categories, there is a focus on current affairs and politics, particularly, the Zondo Commission, State Capture, the road ahead for the African National Congress, and Russia’s war on the Ukraine.
New offerings for 2023 include:
“I hope that these tours will show how and where these exciting developments fit into the campus of 2022 as UCT heads to its bicentenary in 2029.”
“While the central buildings designed by Joseph Solomon in the 1920s continue to dominate the UCT skyline, the development of the Groote Schuur campuses – lower, middle and upper – has been rapid, such that even current members of the university have difficulty keeping up,” said Amoore. I hope that these tours will show how and where these exciting developments fit into the campus of 2022 as UCT heads to its bicentenary in 2029.”
There is also a brand-new section on information technology with two lectures: A History of the Digital Revolution, and Cloud Technologies.
Newly appointed to the Constitutional Court, alumnus Justice Owen Rogers will deliver the annual Legacy Society President’s lecture.
Several courses qualify for continuing professional development points.
Friends of Summer School
DAD has also launched the Friends of Summer School (FOSS) to help the festival grow and flourish for generations to come. FOSS is a volunteer-driven membership organisation which will support the many important programmes, courses, lectures, and community engagement work of Summer School, ensuring that it attracts dynamic lecturers to provide excellent courses, in line with the university’s Vision 2030.
Membership is from R200 a year and the invitation is open to anyone keen to join this new organisation, dedicated to bringing Summer School to wider audiences of lifelong learners, regardless of age, education or economic status.
Membership includes benefits such as discounts on courses (except for practical art, language and writing courses), early bird registration, the opportunity to meet and socialise with lecturers, a complementary printed Summer School brochure, and two newsletters a year.
Summer School recordings will be available online to audiences around the world after 28 January, at a fee.
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