The University of the Witwatersrand’s (Wits’) School of Economics and Business Sciences on Thursday hosted academics and students in the field of economics to provide an update on the CORE course.
Attendees gained insight from internationally renowned economics professors Sam Bowles and Wendy Carlin under the theme Teaching Core in South Africa – opportunities and challenges.
CORE is an open-access, interactive ebook-based course for anyone interested in learning about the economy and economics spearheaded by Carlin and Bowles.
The two-day workshop is expected to unpack the challenges around teaching CORE in South Africa, while also trying to unpack opportunities and challenges in the field of economics.
A professor of economics at University College London Carlin said she was excited to be back in South Africa to share expertise on how the subject can be better taught to students.
Carlin said it was important to teach economics in a way that would engage different people in their fields. She said it was encouraging to see an increase in the number of South African students and teachers who have registered to access CORE.
“We currently have 2 000 registered students and 101 teachers in sub-Saharan African countries, dominated by South Africans. We are hoping that more students, in other countries, will develop an interest in accessing CORE,” said Carlin.
The workshop’s chairperson Kenneth Creamer gave an update on CORE teaching and resources.
He said it was important to be part of the global community.
Creamer said the tools can be used to gain insight on issues such as the minimum wage and broader economic policy.
He encouraged students and educators to register to access all the information for free at www.core-econ.org and also download the textbook for free.
He said CORE has 22 units ranging from economics of the environment, politics, public policy and unemployment and monetary policy.
“Another exciting thing about CORE is that all teaching guides were provided for each of the units, which provide teachers with a quick overview of the key issues covered in each unit. It is an amazing resource,” Creamer said.
An economics student from Wits said CORE was a step in the right direction, adding that as South African students they were hoping that the tool could be adapted to the real issues that South Africans are dealing with on a daily basis.
“If CORE fails in our universities, we must find a solution because this was a process. We are clear as students that issues like decolonisation and critical thinking are important,” he said.
University lecturers from the universities of Pretoria, Stellenbosch and Cape Town are also participating in the workshop to gain further insight and share their experiences of using CORE.