Prof Sarah Gravett was appointed as the Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of
Johannesburg (UJ) at the beginning of 2007. Before joining the former Rand Afrikaans University
(RAU) at the Bureau for University Education as researcher in 1993 she was a school teacher for
eleven years. She joined the Faculty of Education at RAU (now UJ) in 1996, where she was Professor
of Higher and Adult Education. She served as Chair of the Department of Educational Sciences from
2002 to 2004 and as Deputy Dean of the Faculty from April 2004 until her appointment as Dean at
the beginning of 2007.
Under the leadership of Prof Gravett the research footprint of the Faculty has increased rapidly and
the Faculty has become a leader in childhood education research. In addition, the National Research
Foundation Research Chair in Education and Care, awarded to the Faculty in 2013, testifies to the
status of research in the Faculty on vulnerable children in the school sector.
She has spearheaded two major projects based on the UJ Soweto campus, namely the establishment
of an Education Leadership Institute (in collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of
Education), and a university teaching/laboratory school the Funda UJabule School – a first school of
its kind in South Africa. Another major project that was initiated under her leadership was a new
foundation phase (elementary school) teacher education programme that was established in
Siyabuswa, a rural area in the Mpumalanga Province in 2013.
Apart from her role in the faculty she also serves education more broadly in South Africa. She is
representing teacher education institutions at the National Teacher Education and Development
Committee. She also chairs the Education Deans’ Forum in South Africa. In 2013 she was appointed
by the Minister of Basic Education Ms AM Motshekga, as Chairperson of the Education Sector
Committee of the South African National Commission for UNESCO (SANATCOM). Her role entails
providing the necessary leadership to enable the Education Sector Committee (Edcom) to carry out
its advisory, facilitative, liaison and coordination role between UNESCO and the South African
Government and Civil Society.
She is the author and co-author of several books and articles on teaching and learning and related
themes. In recent years her research focus has shifted to teacher education. In 2009-2011 she led a
research project on “Learning to become a teacher: Novice teachers entering the teaching
profession”, commissioned by the Gauteng Department of Education. Currently she leads two
research project on the establishing of teaching schools in South Africa, commissioned by the
Department of Higher Education and Training. Some of her awards include: The South African
Association for Research and Development in Higher Education Teaching Fellowship and the medal
of honour from the Education Association of South Africa honouring her for outstanding service to
Education in South Africa.