n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The practical relevancy of criminology : a learner's perspective

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



This article reflects a learner's perspective on the practical relevancy of Criminology. These perceptions are determined by an evaluation of the perceptions of learners enrolled for a compulsory honours course in Criminological Evaluation and Analysis, offered by the Department of Criminology at the University of South Africa. Respondents were registered as students during 2001 and 2002.

The sample consisted mostly of females, over the age of 33 years, from the white population, and located both in the Gauteng province and the Eastern Cape. The most representative profession among the respondents is that of police officer.
Based on the respondents' personal experience, general knowledge and knowledge on the subject Criminology previously obtained from other criminological courses are an important part of the paper. Learners have to acquire expertise in a working environment and obtained knowledge in the field of Criminology. According to the respondents, the knowledge obtained by studying the paper, can be applied in their working environment regularly or on a daily basis. The assignments were experienced as interesting, challenging and relevant to the South African situation or their occupation. Practical application was emphasised and seems to be more important for the more mature respondent with more life experience.
Respondents indicated the possible professions they foresaw for criminologists in the near future. Although not all professions could be named, a description was provided. This indicated that the possible professions to be filled by criminologists in future are a new and undeveloped field paving the way for the development of specialist degrees or diploma courses to fulfil learners' needs.

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