By 4 May at the University of Johannesburg we had made our initial selection of participating students. We selected 23 students mainly from the faculties of education, engineering and science.

We had two face-to-face sessions and provided each participating student with an iPad. At these sessions the students discussed what rurality meant to them and why they would like to be part of the project. They participated in a Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) session in which they mapped ‘My rural learning world’ drawings in small groups, after which they discussed the significance of these drawings. The students were trained in the use of the iPads. One initial challenge has been finding appropriate meeting venues on campus, which have easy wi-fi access.

From these two sessions interesting themes are beginning to emerge about what students value in terms of their rural education and, on occasion, how they do not perceive the value of particular institutions or individuals.

We are looking forward to the third data gathering session on 11 May.

By Brenda Leibowitz
4 May 2017