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- Volume 15, Issue 2, 2001
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 15, Issue 2, 2001
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Volume 15, Issue 2, 2001
Author H. FransmanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 5 –7 (2001)More Less
Managing in the rapidly changing context of higher education : a manager, as "reflective practitioner" reflects on some experiencesAuthor L.R. BrunyeeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 8 –13 (2001)More Less
How today's managers of institutions of higher education "succeed" is a question needing an answer. Higher education is one of the most rapidly changing sectors of our society. Besides the rate of change in the sector there are also, as seen from the continuous media coverage, a number of universities and technikons in some form of financial or leadership crisis. Over the past years one of the main reasons given for these crises was outstanding student fees. However, the reasons now alluded to are those of limited anagement capacity and mismanagement. The institutional manager is required to manage and create some degree of balance amongst the seemingly never-ending stakeholder demands. With the higher educational context, as well as the stakeholder demands, continually changing, this becomes an unpredictable and uncertain task. The manager most likely to succeed should be the person who can comfortably operate in a working environment of continuous change and uncertainty. Reference to personal experiences would suggest that this changing context places great demands on the professional expertise of the manager. The manager cannot use a standard frame of reference to solve or address these everchanging situations. The high degree of uncertainty requires that the manager develop a non-static repertoire of skills that can be changed and improved through learning from experience and through reflection. In reviewing these examples from higher education settings this article attempts to highlight the benefit to the practicing manager of developing the skills of reflective learning.
Author H.J. BruynsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 14 –21 (2001)More Less
In recent years the environment in which higher education has had to operate has become increasingly complex, uncertain and turbulent, and has manifested an ever-increasing rate of change. The environmental changes are due to, for example, growing global competition, shifting stakeholder expectations, technological development, economic restructuring, different work and management practices and social reconstruction. The broad argument offered in this article is that successful change entails the permanent transformation of the "what is" state of higher education into a "what should/must be" state. The purpose of the article will therefore be to discuss key components and critical issues related to managing large-scale change in higher education. The reasons for inappropriate change patterns are explored and guidelines are suggested for establishing appropriate change paradigms.
Assessment of quality in the management of an instructional offering at Border Technikon : a system approachAuthor L. Du ToitSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 22 –29 (2001)More Less
The context of Technikon Higher Education has changed, particularly in the introduction of research as part of the triad (teaching/learning, community service and research). Nationally, technikons are faced with the challenge of ensuring performance excellence, continuous improvement and academic quality in tertiary education. Now also, they face the challenge of including research as an integral component of graduate and postgraduate studies. The paradigm shift is towards a service excellence industry based on business principles. How to measure quality is a controversial issue and more so the instrument (ruler) used to measure academic processes in the technikon movement. Border Technikon has adopted the South African Excellence Foundation (SAEF) Framework to guide its quality processes. This framework has been applied to the recently introduced Research Methodology process at the Technikon and this article reports on the initial assessment of transferability of this industrial model as an instrument for use in Higher Education. The key question is whether the criteria of the framework, as applied successfully in commerce and industry, can be transferred with the same success to a service industry such as Higher Education, particularly to the Research Methodology process at Border Technikon. A brief overview of quality in the technikon environment, an initial Research Methodology process map, and the initial assessment of the application of some criteria of the SAEF model as an instrument will be discussed.
Author H.C. GeyserSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 30 –36 (2001)More Less
In this article, the focus is on recognition of prior learning (RPL) in the United States of America (USA) and Canada. The aim is to inform policy makers and RPL implementers (in South Africa) regarding the principles and implementation of RPL. Methods of assessment, financial implications, best practices, etc are discussed. Research data on RPL from these countries, as well as one case study (an American university) form the basis of the discussion. It is argued, in conclusion, that closer co-operation amongst South African institutions for higher education in South Africa (SA) is necessary to develop a national RPL strategy for higher education.
Author L. GreylingSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 37 –40 (2001)More Less
South African higher education institutions are confronted with a myriad of new policies, legislation and qualification frameworks. There are governmental, institutional, community and student demands for new political awareness and commitment, the "Africanisation" of curricula and the addressing of language issues. Although change may be embedded in the policies, legislation and frameworks, there is often little evidence of real transformation at institutional or faculty level. Audits and research into the educational system and educational management in general, reveal dysfunctions between visions and realities due to the interplay of a complex web of factors. These include the enduring influence of structures and systems of a fragmented and discriminatory past, passive or hostile resistance to change (especially from academic staff, who show a natural aversion to training and development, mainly because it does not offer any financial gain), and inadequate resources (mainly the shortage of appropriate Education and Training Development (ETD) providers) to achieve significant and sustainable change. Since August 1999, all higher education institutions have embarked on training and development activities, focussing on the regulations of the Skills Development Act (no 97 of 1998) and the Employment Equity Act (no 55 of 1998). This article will attempt to provide a strategic perspective on skills development, as reflected by the Workplace Skills Plan of the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU).
Exploring new knowledge spaces in environmental education : the case of a South African/Australian Institutional Links ProjectAuthor L. Le GrangeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 41 –48 (2001)More Less
In this article I reflect on how a changing South African socio-political milieu provided space for collaboration among Australian and South African higher education institutions. I describe how the different activities of a project entitled, "Educating for socio-ecological change: capacity-building in environmental education", provided challenges for all participants in the light of processes of globalisation and internationalisation currently prevalent. I provide insights on how participatory processes of critical engagement, reflection and dialogue have served as opportunities for capacity enhancing in environmental education.
A proposal for an epistemically diverse curriculum for South African higher education in the 21st centuryAuthor K. LuckettSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 49 –61 (2001)More Less
I begin this article by taking stock of international trends which impact on the higher education curriculum. I then briefly assess the South African responses to these challenges in the light of recent curriculum reforms. In particular, I attempt to assess the gains made for curriculum development in South African higher education by the imposition of the SAQA interim registration requirements and the outcomes-based method of curriculum design. I also note the gaps not addressed by the SAQA reforms and suggest that the SAQA reforms lay the HE curriculum open to the global trends of the instrumentalisation and marketisation of knowledge. I also address two other internal epistemological challenges to the HE curriculum, namely post-modernism and scientism. I then propose an epistemically diverse curriculum in which four ways of knowing and learning are developed for all HE curricula. These are the traditional cognitive learning of propositional knowledge; learning by doing for the application of disciplinary knowledge; learning experientially and fourthly developing epistemic cognition so as to be able to think reflexively and contextually about one's learning. I suggest that such a curriculum could address both the local and global dimensions of a higher education curriculum and hold a necessary balance between Mode 1 and 2 knowledge production. Furthermore, I believe that one of the central educational challenges currently facing HE practitioners is the integration of the various desirable generic skills into a traditionally content-based curriculum. I suggest that, if learners are introduced to all four ways of knowing and learning, these generic skills (both transferable and transferring skills) can be appropriately integrated into the HE curriculum. The article concludes by considering some of the key issues involved in implementing an epistemically diverse curriculum.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 62 –73 (2001)More Less
In the rush to generate and register standards and qualifications in terms of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and establish bodies to assure the quality of education and training programs, little attention is being paid to the concept of academic freedom. Although access to higher education institutions sporadically feature in the public discourse, the absence of any significant reflection on the impact of the NQF on academic freedom is cause for serious concern. In this contribution we explore academic freedom as guaranteed by the Constitution and argue that academic freedom is a central feature of a university in a democratic society which should be respected by all stakeholders. After ananalysis of theNQFand SAQA directives, we conclude that these initiatives limit academic freedom unconstitutionally. We conclude with some suggestions as to the principles on which the relationship between the state and the university should be founded in order to uphold academic freedom without paralysing the state's efforts to transform education for the benefit of all.
Author J.D. PretoriusSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 74 –79 (2001)More Less
The changes in the political and economic systems are all affecting the challenges of higher education. The higher education system in South Africa is challenged by government to respond to the demands for increased participation in education to respond to societal interests and needs as well as to promote co-operation and partnerships in governance. Management in higher education institutions appear to be concentrating on the structural changes needed while ignoring the challenges of the new century. This article addresses the major dilemmas or requirements of co-ordination relating to education, which needs to look at the significant transfer of knowledge, and learning to communities. At the same time the global trends and challenges must be kept in mind. One of these challenges is the direction of science and technology. In discussing this, the different modes of research and knowledge production together with the economic, socio-cultural, environmental, ecological and demographic pressures are considered. Writers such as Whiston (1992), Gardner (1995) and Callan (1994) have indicated the challenges long ago. The time for walking is past. It is time to look at ways of co-operation and planning together. The actions around the issues of environmental awareness and the challenges of development can serve as an example.
Author S.L. SitholeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 80 –85 (2001)More Less
The rapid changes taking place in South Africa reverberate in the education sector and higher education in particular has not been immune. The premise of this article is that higher education is both a locus of scholarly development and a work station where a considerable number of people are employed; and where employee productivity rises and falls often in relation to increases or decreases in instability and predictability in the work environment alone, or the work environment in combination with family and community life. In these times of rare stability, university academic and support employees can experience increased rates of such problems as alcoholism, depression, and relationship discord. This paper will indicate that the higher education sector as an employer does not take seriously the personal problems of employees despite the impact of these on productivity and morale. It is also the intention of this article to indicate that the university as a work station is also a breeding ground for personal problems. The loose structure of academic departments, low visibility of academics and a paucity of performance measuring instruments for academics are some of the factors that may allow job deterioration to go undetected.
Author E. VenterSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 86 –92 (2001)More Less
Over the past few years many changes have taken place in the content and presentation of programmes for teacher education and training in South Africa, because a philosophy of education that encouraged enquiry, discussion, debate and lifelong learning became increasingly important. "[M]any researchers and practitioners have begun to view the classroom as a place in which teachers and students construct knowledge and negotiate meanings together ... In a complex, multicultural society such as ours, truth takes many forms. Different contexts and different subcultures support different ways of constructing knowledge, and different ways of understanding what it means to `know' something'' (Morrison & Collins 1995:39). Students are, however, still inclined to think of knowledge as a packet of content waiting to be transmitted. Instruction is merely a product to be delivered by a vehicle (Wilson 1995). This vehicle to these students is presumably the lecturer. He/she could only give certain factual, subject oriented knowledge through to them with the necessary guidance concerning examinations and assignments and the students would apparently be happy with what they would call "good teaching". If one, however, only opts for a minimalist-learning environment where feedback from the lecturer is all that matters, with relatively few tools for manipulating and observing content, exploration and problem solving are not really possible. In richer environments the lecturers should put more control of the environment in the hands of the learners (Wilson 1995). In this article I would like to propose a constructivist approach to learning and teaching in the education and training of teachers to enable them to use it in their own classrooms.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 93 –97 (2001)More Less
The aim of this study is to gain clarity on the career paths of Education graduates. Questionnaires were issued to a sample of graduates of the Faculty of Education at the Rand Afrikaans University. A high attrition rate from the teaching profession was found. A meaningful number of those who leave the teaching profession find themselves in situations where their expertise is underutilized or unutilized. A disturbing phenomenon is the number of graduates that are still practising as teachers, but who are experiencing the profession negatively ± staying on in the profession for the sole reason that they are unable to find alternative employment. The implications of these findings for higher education are spelled out, and recommendations for follow-up research are made.
Understanding co-operative learning : a case study in tracing relationships to social constructivism and South African socio-educational thoughtAuthor E. BitzerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 98 –104 (2001)More Less
The article outlines a case study whereby, in a BEd module on innovative teaching and learning strategies, students were challenged with the question: "How does co-operative learning relate to social constructivist learning theory, ubuntu, outcomes-based education (OBE) and (perhaps) the African Renaissance?" It describes how the students, through a co-operative learning process, researched and debated the question in four groups. The author's concerns that the students' view of educational practice might become inhibited by exposure to limited theories related to co-operative learning, were proven to be largely unfounded. The article concludes by arguing that co-operative learning as an innovative educational practice should be informed by multiple, relevant and contextualised theories, philosophies and approaches, enabling practitioners to make sense of why and how particular techniques should be employed to mediate learning, especially in a South African schooling environment.
Changing existing qualifications into outcomes-based qualifications at Technikon SA : an action research reportSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 105 –118 (2001)More Less
The changing context of Higher Education in South Africa provided us as a distance, open and flexible learning institution with a great challenge. We have used the opportunity of compiling the forms for interim registration of our existing qualifications at SAQA as a starting point. Various workshops were facilitated to determine the outcomes of each level of our qualification, B Tech: Policing. This led to the formulation of a purpose statement, exit level outcomes and specific outcomes as well as assessment criteria and the critical outcomes embedded in each level identified. Using the specific outcomes as a point of departure several workshops were held to identify the learning objectives. The content and method of assessment were also identified. The purpose of this article is to give a broad lay-out of the process followed to change from knowledge-based qualifications to outcomes-based qualifications. The method of research used is action research.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 119 –125 (2001)More Less
Curriculum reform and the restructuring of qualifications is one of the key issues in the higher education sector. At Eastern Cape Technikon (ECT) a US-Aid funded project called, Building Staff Capacity through Curriculum Development, was instituted to address this challenge. The overarching aim of the project is to provide support to academic staff at ECT and to engage in activities that will build institutional capacity as well as strengthen the teaching and research activities through a comprehensive staff development programme. The project consisted of activities such as <BR>. the determination of the purpose <BR>. a skills audit; and <BR>. various workshops. The purpose of the programme was defined as to train a core group of staff members to become competent curriculum developers according to SAQA requirements and to enable them to play a leading role in the development of learner centered and open learning approaches. In addition to a skills audit different workshops such as Learner-focused Competency-Based Instructional Practices; Step-by-Step Web Page Planning and Execution; Using web sites to improve instructional activities; and Inter-personal Skills were held by consultants and it is anticipated tha key objectives concerning outcome-based education, flexible delivery and modularization will be achieved.
A developmental focus to student access at the University of Port Elizabeth : Process and preliminary insights in placement assessmentSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 126 –131 (2001)More Less
As opposed to admissions or selection testing which mainly serves a gate-keeping function, placement assessment is evelopmentally focused and fulfils an enabling function. Some of the advantages of placement assessment are that learner strengths and weaknesses can be identified, learners' programmes can be individualised, and it can assist in the recognition of prior learning where formal entry requirements are not met. This article will explore some of the factors in the context of higher education in South Africa, which impacted on and lead to a shift from selection to placement testing at the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE). The on-going process of developing and implementing the placement assessment programme at UPE will be reflected upon to provide guidelines for the implementation of a similar programme at other institutions. The innovative nature of the assessment battery will be discussed ± the battery content is linked to entry-level competencies and most of the tests are computerised and adaptive in nature. Some of the data that have emerged regarding generic learner needs in UPE's diverse student intake will be presented as well as some of the ways in which programme developers and student support services are trying to address the identified needs. The future is not the place we are going to, but the one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination (John Schaar).
Author E.O. MashileSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 132 –139 (2001)More Less
"Action research" and "action learning", each has a literature promoting itself as both a methodology for the professional practitioner to improve practice and as a technique that may be used to educate. Despite the fact that action research has been most commonly associated with the development of teachers, and action learning with management development, there is no reason why the approaches cannot be employed generically with other groups of professionals. In this article, I intend to provide a framework for using action technology approaches in the professional training of teachers. The emphasis, though, is on single modules. An introduction to action technologies and core principles that are useful for inclusion in action research and action learning are discussed. The article describes the results of an application of a variant of action research and action learning methodologies in a postgraduate module offered through distance education.
Author G. PickworthSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 140 –147 (2001)More Less
The constructs of deep, surface and achieving approaches to learning are well defined in the literature and amply supported by research. Quality learning results from a deep approach to learning, and a deep-achieving approach to learning is regarded as the most adaptive approach institutionally. It is therefore felt that monitoring the prevalence of these approaches to learning, specifically in a newly implemented integrated and problem-orientated MBChB curriculum, could provide evidence of the quality of learning taking place in the learning programme. Although instruments exist that measure approaches to learning, a short version was required to facilitate relevantly frequent application. The Approaches to Learning and Studying Inventory (ALSI) was developed for this purpose. Results show the instrument to possess satisfactory psychometric properties for research purposes.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 148 –157 (2001)More Less
Feedback was obtained from students who are studying Auditing by means of distance education in order to evaluate the quality of the study packages presented. The teaching approach and various other aspects of the study packages were investigated. The results of the investigation highlighted particular aspects of the study packages, which were rated as excellent, average or requiring further attention. The replies regarding the successful and less successful aspects of the Auditing distance education packages are seen as part of the quality assurance process and indicate which qualities and aspects of the study packages should be retained and which aspects should be improved or replaced in order to promote mastery of the study material.The results of the investigation could be fruitfully applied to other disciplines.