Canon Collins Trust appoints South African Director at the helm

With the appointment of South African Ivor Baatjes, based in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Canon Collins Trust strengthens its local footing and gears up for amplified social justice impact.

For the first forty-two years of its operation, the Canon Collins Trust has managed its operations in southern Africa from the United Kingdom, where it began in 1981 as a London-based international response to Apartheid-era repression. At that time, the Trust awarded scholarships to exiled South Africans and Namibians with the potential to become leaders in the future. It has since evolved into a southern Africa region-wide programme of support to potentially transformative leaders committed to safeguarding African interests and people, including advancing the decolonial project in a shared and sustainable way.

Ivor brings a rich legacy of achievement in South Africa over a lifetime contribution to adult education and education policy. In this new position, Ivor embarks on a quest to build a scholarly movement that produces socially engaged research attuned to the specific social justice needs of the region.

He is particularly interested in how scholarship can inform, influence and support the social and solidarity economy and its relationships with community-driven food, health, water and energy systems. He also seeks to both support and learn from the role of adult and community education; workers education; and learning in social movements.

The new director takes the baton from Stuart Craig, who is retiring and has admirably steered the organisation since 2015. For Chairperson Marjorie Ngwenya, Ivor’s arrival marks a significant milestone in the organisation’s journey towards empowering and transforming lives through education and social justice. “I am confident that Ivor’s visionary leadership and passion for positive change will fortify the Trust’s mission of advancing access to education, promoting human rights, and nurturing leaders.”

Prior to joining the Trust, Ivor served as director of the Centre for Integrated Post-School Education and Training (CIPSET), Nelson Mandela University; co-host of the National Research Foundation SARChI Chair in Community Adult and Worker Education; board member of the National Institute for Human and Social Sciences (NIHSS); and Chair of the Education Policy Consortium (EPC). He has worked across all the subsectors of the post-school education and training sector and is a member of the current Ministerial Task Team on Community Education and Training.

Ivor was senior researcher at the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation (CERT) at the University of Johannesburg and previously director of the Centre for Adult Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). He was the founder and country director of the Paulo Freire Institute – South Africa and served as a member of the international advisors to the Paulo Freire Institute (Brazil). He also served as policy maker in the National Department of Education in the mid-1990s and as a member of several ministerial and departmental reference groups and task teams.

Ivor Baatjes