Professor Prevanand (Labby) Ramrathan

Professor Prevanand (Labby) Ramrathan
Professor Prevanand (Labby) Ramrathan

Teachers and teaching: transforming education.

In this lecture I offer glimpses into my personal journey in the path to address a key element in education – teachers and teaching.  My journey began 20 years ago as an academic working with teacher development.  Addressing teacher development is vital for quality education in South Africa and significant for robust engagement. In my research journey I have traversed across some critical spaces of influence which persistently occupy and challenge teacher development in this country.  For teachers to be the best that they can be, to produce quality education and relevance for all learner we must engage with three vital areas of teacher professional development.  I address these three vital areas in the acquisition of professional capital.  In this lecture I focus on three areas of professional capital that teachers need to acquire: human capital, social capital and decisional capital.  By doing so, I heed the call: education for relevance, and to imagine new ways of thinking about teachers and teacher development in South Africa.

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CURRICULUM VITAE:  Professor Prevanand (Labby) Ramrathan

Univ of Durban-Westville B.Sc 1986 Maths and Psychology
Univ of South Africa HED 1990 Maths and Guidance
Univ of Durban-Westville B.Ed (H) 1992 Curriculum Studies Maths
Univ of Durban-Westville M.Ed 1997 Teacher Education
Univ of Durban-Westvile D.Ed 2002 Teacher Education


NRF C3 rated researcher – 2010

Rerated by NRF in 2016 – new rating C2

  1. Positions and Honours. List in chronological order previous positions, concluding with your present position. List any honours. Include membership, on any National or International advisory or professional committee.
1982 – 1984 University of Durban-Westville Junior Laboratory Assistant
1985 – 1988 UDW Junior Laboratory Assistant
1988 – 1992 UDW Laboratory Assistant

Part-time junior lecturer

1993 UDW Secondment to Junior Lecturer
1994 UDW Secondment to Teaching Practice Co-ordinator
1995 – 1997 UDW Principal Faculty Officer


Secondment to Teaching Practice Co-ordinator

1998 – 2002 UDW Lecturer
2003 – 2004 UDW  

Director – School of Educational Studies

2005 – 2007 UKZN Head of School
2008 UKZN Senior Lecturer
2009 UKZN Associate Professor
2009 UKZN Associate professor and Dean’s Assistant
2010 UKZN Associate professor and Academic co-ordinator for Masters programme

NRF C3 rated researcher

2011 UKZN Head of School – Education and Development

Deputy Dean – Initial teacher Education (Acting)

2012 UKZN Acting Dean (Feb to April)

Sabbatical leave

2013 to current UKZN Associate Professor

Discipline co-ordinator for TDS at Edgewood campus

2016 UKZN NRF re-rated as C2
2017 UKZN Cluster Leader: Education Studies
2018 UKZN Professor


Peer-reviewed publications (in chronological order with latest dates first).


  1. Ramrathan, L; le Grange, L; Higgs, P. (2017). Education Studies for Initial Teacher Education. Cape Town: Juta

Peer reviewed publications

  1. Ramrathan, P. (2017) Learner poor performance: Provoking Bourdieu’s key concepts in analysing school education in South Africa. Southern African Review of Education, 23(1): 23-36.
  2. Ramrathan, L. (2017). Compassion in the context of higher education transformation in South Africa. In P. Gibbs (ed). The pedagogy of compassion at the heart of higher education.Springer – ISBN 978-3-319-57782-1. Pp 101 – 112.
  3. Ramrathan, L and Singh, N. (2017). Bourdieu and his key concepts related to Education. In L. Ramrathan, L. le Grange and P. Higgs (eds) Education Studies for Initial Teacher Education. Cape Town: Juta
  4. Ramrathan, L. (2017). Educational research: Key concepts. In L. Ramrathan, L. le Grange and P. Higgs (eds) Education Studies for Initial Teacher Education. Cape Town: Juta
  5. Chetty, R and Ramrathan, L. (2017) Key concepts and processes in developing a research proposal. In L. Ramrathan, L. le Grange and P. Higgs (eds) Education Studies for Initial Teacher Education. Cape Town: Juta
  6. Ramrathan, L; le Grange, L. and Shawa, L.B. (2017). Ethics in Educational Research. In L. Ramrathan, L. le Grange and P. Higgs (eds) Education Studies for Initial Teacher Education. Cape Town: Juta
  7. Ramrathan L; 2016. Beyond counting the numbers: Shifting higher education transformation into curriculum spaces; Transformation in Higher Education. Vol 1 (1)
  8. Ramrathan L and Mzimela J, 2016. Teaching reading in a multi-grade class: Teachers’ adaptive skills and teacher agency in teaching across grade R and grade 1. South African Journal of Childhood Education.
  9. Ramrathan, L. 2016. Widening access through higher education transformation: A case study of University of KwaZulu-Natal. M. Shah; A. Bennett and E. (eds) Southgate Widening higher education participation, Elsevier: UK (p196-209)
  10. Ramrathan, L & Pillay, G. 2015. Re-imagining and expanding the discourse of student access, throughput and drop-out within the South African higher education context. Alternations. No 17 (2015) p 6-27
  11. Mngomezulu, S & Ramrathan, L. 2015. Academic experiences of At-Risk students in a South African university. Alternations. No 17 (2015) p 116 – 141
  12. Ramrathan, L & Ngubane, T I. (2013). Instructional leadership in multi-grade classrooms: What can mono-grade teachers learn from their resilience. Education as Change. Vol 17 Supp 1 pp 93-105
  13. Ramrathan, L (2013)) Towards a conceptual framework in understanding student dropout from higher education. South African Journal of Higher Education. Vol 27 (1) p 209-220
  14. Ramrathan, L (2013). Towards a pedagogy of response: A matrix conception of teachers’ engaging with post-political educational reforms. International Journal of Research In Social Sciences. Vol 3 (3)
  15. Ramrathan, L (2012) Assessment within Postgraduate Teaching: Who or what is being assessed? International Journal of Social Science. vol  p125-130
  16. Ramrathan L (2011) Edgewood: Memories and the continuing journey. In Wassermann, J & Bryan, A (eds), Edgewood memories: from College to Faculty of Education.
  17. Ramrathan P (2010) From response to theorizing: Curiculum intellectualizing through a critical incident autoethnography. In W Pinar (ed) Curriculum Studies in South Africa. Intellectual histories and present circumstances. USA: Macmillan. p107-124
  18. Ramrathan, L & Ramrathan, S (2009). Gender Violence during workplace learning. Agenda. Vol 82 p47-49
  19. Ramrathan, L & Ramrathan, S (2009). Discriminatory practices against student trainees at worksites. International Journal of Learning. Vol 16.
  20. Amin, N & Ramrathan, P (2009), Preparing teachers to teach in and for diverse context. Perspectives in Education, Vol 27(1) p69-77
  21. Ramrathan, L. (2009) The ethics and polictics of data as agency. In R Dhunpath and M Samuel (eds). Life History Research. Epistemology, Methodology and Representation. Netherlands: Sense publishers p153-172
  22. Ramrathan P. (2008) The Ethics and Politics of researching HIV/AIDS in schools. Ed. P. Liamputtong in Doing Cross-culturalresearch: Ethics and methodological Perspectives. Springer: Dordrecht. P103-118
  23. Ramrathan L; Are we moving towards full day schooling?  Critical reflections on the demands made on schools and teachers in South Africa and implications for teacher development. In The international journal of teaching. Vol 14
  24. Ramrathan P, Manik, S and Pillay, G. (2007) Transformational Access: UPB as a possibility for promoting access to HE in South African Journal of Higher Education, Vol 21 (4).
  25. Ramrathan P; Khan, F; Khan, S; Reddy, H V. (2007)An exploration of pupil enrolment projections within KwaZulu-Natal: implications for teacher demand analysis; in South African Journal of Higher Education, Vol 21 (1).
  26. Ramrathan, P; Zuma, Z; Ngobese, M  Do teacher upgrading programmes make a difference in teacher development in a rural context: A tracer study of NPDE graduates. in ; Bulletin for Academic staff and students, Vol 16, No 1, 2006.
  27. Ramrathan, P. The Ethics and Politics of researching HIV/AIDS in schools – abstract published in International Journal of Qualitative Methods, Vol 5 (3) page 67, 2006
  28. Ramrathan, P. Troubling the numbers: is teacher demand possible within the context of HIV/AIDS; South African Journal of Higher Education, Vol 17 No. 2. 2003
  29. Ramrathan P. 2003. Teacher employment : new evidence from tracer studies (implications for large scale audits). South African Journal of Higher Education, Vol 13 No.3.
  30. Ramrathan P (2003) Teacher supply and demand in KwaZulu-Natal, in Changing patterns in Teacher Education; eds. Samuel M A; Lewin, K & Sayed Y, Heinemann (2003).
  31. Ramrathan P. 2003. HIV/AIDS in higher education: How do we come to know, conference proceedings, Internationalisation of higher education, October 2003, University of Potchestroom.
  32. Ramrathan P; Khan, F; Khan, S . 2004. An exploration of pupil enrolment projections within KwaZulu-Natal: implications for teacher demand analysis – Bulletin for staff and students, Vol 14, No 1, 2004
  33. Ramrathan, P. 2003. Editorial; Bulletin for Academic staff and students, Vol 13, No 1, 2003
  34. Ramrathan,P. 2003. About research designs used in HIV/AIDS research; Bulletin for academic staff and students, Vol 13, No. 1, 2003
  35. Samuel, M A; Omar, S; Amin N; Reddy, S; Sookrajh, R; Ramrathan P, Gopal, N; Wilson, D. 2003. Inside and Outside the school gates: Exploring marginalisation in Kwazulu Natal schools in South Africa. Institute of Development Studies Bulletin, Vol 34, No 1
  36. Ramrathan, P. 1999. Teacher Employment: New evidence from tracer study (implications for large scale audits). South African Journal of Higher Education. Vol 13 (3) P164 -169


Other publications

  1. Council for Higher Education – report on the National Review of Academic and Professional Programmes in Education (2010) – contributing author p104-137
  2. Research report: Upward Bound Access Project Tracer Study (completed in 2006)*
  3. Set of 5 publications on learning activities for classroom teaching on globalization, – part of an international team of researchers and practioners co-ordinated by Leeds Development Education Centre, Leeds, UK, 2005
  4. Policy framework on Continuous Professional Development and Support Policy for KwaZulu-Natal; 2003; Edited by EPU, University of Natal. (part of the task team that produced the policy document.

Journal editors:

  1. Editor of special issue of Alternation – Issue 17 (2015)
  2. Editor of Bulletin for Academic staff and students – publication of the Faculty of Education – published annually

 Supervision of Masters and PhD students to completion

Supervised in excess of 60 Masters students and 20 PhD students to completion

International Research project participation

  1. Researcher – Multisite teacher education research project (MUSTER) – co-ordianted by SUSSEX Univ, UK. This project researched Teacher Education in five developing countries. I was one of the four persons researching teacher education in the South African context. 1999 – 2003 (completed)
  2. Researcher – Inclusion and Exclusion within South Africa – co-ordinated by Sussex University in UK and it involved understanding who gets excluded and who gets included in schooling within South Africa and India. 2002 (completed)
  3. Lead researcher – Positively global research project – international research project involving schools in South Africa that have been twined with schools in UK. Project managed by the Leeds 2002 – 2005 focusing on developing learning activities to expose secondary school learners to issues of globalization. (completed)
  4. Curriculum Studies in South Africa – led by Bill Pinar (USA) (2009)
  5. Compassion in Higher Education – UK, led by Prof Paul Gibbs, Middlesex University, UK (2016)

National projects

  1. Lead researcher – 2005 -2006. Tracer study of Upward bound project learners – SANTED. Project focused on tracing learners who were invited to participate in the UDW access programme. Value: R200 000.00 (completed)
  2. Education Labour Relations Council’s commissioned HSRC study on determinants for teacher demand – 2003 – 2005. Advisory team member as well as a member of the technical team for the project. – A national study to identify the issues that would impact on determination of teacher need in SA.  This study included a substantial emphasis of HIV/AIDS amongst teachers in South Africa. (R23m)
  3. Researcher – School mentorship – Thuthuka funded project – 2007 – focusing on establishing relationships between mentors and mentees.

NRF – 2006- seed funding on developing a proposal for a research on The Sociology of contemporary teachers in South Africa. (R15 000.00)

  1. University Teaching and Learning competitive grant – 2009- Cohort analysis of student drop-out and academic exclusion within higher education (R129 000-00)
  2. University Teaching Learning grant – R100 000-00 (2012) – exploring student assessment and classroom culture in undergraduate classes_
  3. NRF competitive grant – R980 000-00 – collaborative research project on School categorization and its influence on teaching and learning – 2014
  4. NRF rated researcher competitive grant – R620 000-00 – what explains learner poor performance through a situated analysis – 2014
  5. University Teaching and Learning grant – R100 000-00 – pathways of at-risk students – lead researcher
  6. NRF rated researcher incentive grants since 2012 – to present