n Education as Change - A case study of Phumani Paper as a Community Engagement initiative at the University of Johannesburg

Volume 11, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1682-3206
  • E-ISSN: 1947-9417
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This paper focuses on a case-study that shows a degree of incompatibility between community engagement and Institutional research culture. The paper draws on the experience of managing a national community programme through the bureaucratic structures of a tertiary institution. It evaluates the outcomes of a poverty alleviation programme funded by government that began with idealistic aims - to use the University environment to transfer new research and technologies for rural development, and establish hand papermaking as a new cultural industry in South Africa. The research component set out to challenge the rigid boundaries that often exist between formal and informal learning environments. The findings show that the link between Phumani Paper and its core research and teaching programme has the potential to transform relationships between higher education and the community. Furthermore, the 'transformational' nature of that relationship has the ability to open a window of activity which is rapidly closing as a result of more conservative scientific practices being favoured in the merged institution of University of Johannesburg.

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