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- Volume 17, Issue 2, 2003
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 17, Issue 2, 2003
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Volume 17, Issue 2, 2003
Lecturers, students and community members sharing the responsibility of assessing project-based poster presentations : perspectives on higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 5 –12 (2003)More Less
Active participation in the process of learning rather than transmission of information is prominent in modern higher education contexts. In alignment with this trend, traditional modes of assessment, based on the "transmission model", are increasingly replaced or supplemented by more authentic forms of assessment. Authentic assessment "measures" the application of knowledge and skills in real-world contexts and ideally involves learners in the assessment process. The purpose of this article is to report on lecturers, students and community members sharing the responsibility of assessing a project-based poster presentation. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods was used in capturing data. Analysis and interpretation of data were performed with the immediate goal of gaining a better understanding of the assessment exercise, and to improve existing practice. The investigation revealed the challenges and pitfalls of involving first-year students and representatives of the community in assessment. Comparison of student-derived marks and those given by a panel of academic staff served to evaluate students' readiness to take responsibility for co-assessment. The students' views on the relevance of the exercise revealed that exposing students to situations which require them to respond objectively to peers' work, conveys the message that skills matter, and thus contributes to the development thereof.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 13 –20 (2003)More Less
In August 2000 the Department of Correctional Services (from now on referred to as the Department) held the first national symposium to translate its vision which is to render services that contribute to community protection and the rehabilitation of offenders into a meaningful partnership with the South African community. Correctional services in many countries face the challenge of balancing resources with the need to provide effective rehabilitation. Education is widely acknowledged as a key component of this rehabilitation. In the light of such developments, it is appropriate to ask what is known about the role of education in the rehabilitation of offenders. The purpose of this article is to determine the impact of education as a catalyst for behavioural change in enhancing rehabilitation efforts and preventing future criminal activity. The article will benefit educators in that they will know how and where they could become involved. This article will also add knowledge and an understanding of the impact of correctional education on crime and crime prevention.
The benefit of introducing audit software into curricula for computer auditing students : a student perspective from the University of Pretoria : perspectives on higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 21 –30 (2003)More Less
The use of computers in the learning process is a well-researched area. The introduction of computers and related audit software in the auditing field has had a major influence on the auditing process. Very little research has been done on the inclusion of computer audit software in the auditing syllabus. Even less research has been done on the students' perspective of the benefits of the introduction of such software. To offset this shortcoming, the third-year computer-auditing students at the University of Pretoria were requested to complete a questionnaire. The aim was to evaluate the students' perspective on the benefits, if any, for third year auditing students at the University of Pretoria, derived from the incorporation of practical computer training in an audit software package, in their syllabus. The results of the study clearly indicated that students are willing to sacrifice more of their time for practical computer classes because they are aware of the beneficial impact on their understanding of the subject as well as their future careers.
Higher education policy discourse in South Africa : a struggle for alignment with macro development policy : perspectives on higher educationAuthor A. FataarSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 31 –39 (2003)More Less
This article focuses on the government's higher education policy trajectory during the post apartheid period. The central argument of the article is that government policy ought to be examined in the light of a struggle over aligning the higher education policy discourse with the government's chosen macro development path. Policy activity has to be understood in the context of an emerging "policy force field" during the 1990s, which circumscribed the government's ability to act decisively in the sector. I discuss this struggle over policy alignment by focusing on three key policy moments, which point to the shifting policy discourse over an eight-year period. Given the discursive shift, the article shows how Historically Disadvantaged Institutions had become the key "problem" around which higher education policy unfolded.
Indigenous African knowledge systems and innovation in higher education in South Africa : perspectives on higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 40 –45 (2003)More Less
The importance of innovation in higher education is recognised in South African educational discourse. The South African White Paper on Science and Technology, issued in September 1996 and entitled, <I>Preparing for the 21st Century</I>, states that, "... the White Paper is built upon the twin concepts of `innovation' and a 'national system of innovation' ". The National Plan for Higher Education (2001) recently unveiled by the Ministry of Education, also places great emphasis on innovation. Innovation is regarded as the key to knowledge production and processing, while the future of any nation is seen to be determined by its ability to convert knowledge into wealth and the social or public good. In this article we want to argue that innovation in higher education goes beyond the formal systems of innovation done in universities and industrial research and development laboratories. For proper development to occur in the South African context, we would maintain that <I>indigenized African innovations and knowledge systems</I> would also have to be taken into account in higher education curricula.
From literacy to literacies : preparing higher education in South Africa for the future : perspectives on higher educationAuthor A. HugoSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 46 –53 (2003)More Less
The notion "literacy" is changing to encompass the concept of "multiple literacies". There are various forces, especially social and cultural forces, which used determined the definition literacy and in this new millenium one can merely predict which possible cultural forces will now shape the nature of literacies. In South Africa there are various cultural forces such as the growing influence of technology at work which might influence literacies in future. It is important that higher education in South Africa should take cognisance of these cultural forces, in order to empower people who want to further their tertiary studies. These cultural forces include : growth in technology; integrating the use of technology into the curriculum; the need for updated information; teacher training and literacy instruction; the need to empower students, and the need to prepare students for future workplaces.
Author W.R. KilfoilSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 54 –59 (2003)More Less
This article reflects on the implementation of the National Qualifications Framework at tertiary level, using the University of South Africa as a case study and the five stated goals of the NQF as the criteria for measuring the success or otherwise of the enterprise. A brief description is given of the initiatives at Unisa and certain processes are highlighted; for instance, using team work to accomplish complex tasks; arriving at a shared understanding of new concepts through rigorous discussion; and documenting information and processes so that they are institutionalised. The article looks at the systemic implications of complying with the SAQA Act by June 2000: training academics in outcomes-based education before any documentation could be completed, researching recognition of prior learning and quality assurance, accommodating existing regulations where they conflicted with NQF legislation - for instance on aspects such as residency, and taking the hidden costs of the entire undertaking into consideration. The article concludes with an evaluation of the process of registering degree qualifications in outcomes-based format in June 2000 and subsequent developments in relation to the vision of the NQF as articulated in its goals.
Changing discourses of academic development at a South African technikon 1991 to 2002 : perspectives on higher educationAuthor S. McKennaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 60 –67 (2003)More Less
This article considers the discourses used by students, mainstream lecturers and academic development lecturers in their evaluations of language nterventions at Technikon Natal from 1991 to 2002. The discourses under scrutiny are those of academic literacy: the beliefs, attitudes, values and norms necessary for "epistemological access to higher educatio" (Morrow 1993:3). The broadening understanding of Academic Literacy as a social practice has resulted in the questioning of add-on language courses aimed at improving mechanical skills - particularly where such courses are taught in isolation of the mainstream programme. This has particular relevance to the planned increase in the number of Foundation programmes to be offered.
Can prior learning experience serve as a catalyst in the paradigm shift from traditional teaching methodology to outcomes-based educational practice? : perspectives on higher educationAuthor P.A.P. NairSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 68 –78 (2003)More Less
Most developing countries have embarked upon the implementation of new models in the teaching and learning arenas, and South Africa is no exception. Because the economic empowerment of a nation depends on the success of its educational strategies, the introduction and development of Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) at all levels of education in South Africa's new democracy have become a national priority. In this context, the Technikon Witwatersrand is privileged to have the opportunity to become a service provider for a teacher development programme in the OBE format. It caters for 342 intermediate and senior phase school teachers in Gauteng Province by means of the Mathematics, Science and Technology Educators' Revival (MASTER) programme. This developmental programme in the fields of mathematics, science, technology and engineering education provides the teachers with an Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) with 120 credits. This article outlines how prior learning experience helped to smooth the transition from traditional to OBE practice.
Implications of the Employment Equity Act for the higher education sector : perspectives on higher educationAuthor L.M. PortnoiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 79 –85 (2003)More Less
This article discusses the impact of the 1998 Employment Equity Act on the higher education sector of South Africa. An introduction to the background and development of affirmative action and employment equity is provided. The author then discusses the specialized constraints and challenges faced by higher education employers, separating them from traditional business employers, such as companies and factories. It is argued that these crucial challenges specialized higher education legislation and policy developments, the "pool" issue, funding and rationalization, universities as a unique workplace, and the individual legacies of universities - define the space in which the Employment Equity Act may be interpreted in the higher education sector.
Changing career orientations in higher education : can HE be a breeding ground for entrepreneurial careers? : perspectives on higher educationAuthor H.W. SchenkSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 86 –93 (2003)More Less
This article reports on a study of the career orientations of the academic staff complement of a tertiary education institution that underwent an intensive organisational transformation process. Career orientation profiles were obtained from a sample of academic staff at the beginning of the organisational change process and five tears later the study was replicated. One primary transformational objective of the organisation was the requirement of staff to engage in entrepreneurial projects to generate a variety of alternative income streams. The focus of this article falls on the assessment of the impact of the changing organisational demands and situational motivational factors with regard to the prevalence of entrepreneurial orientations amongst academic staff. Results indicate a change in orientation profiles linked to entrepreneurial behaviour, but the evidence regarding the direct impact of environmental factors on such profile changes was inconclusive. Implications for higher education institutions are discussed.
Do legal frameworks direct merger outcomes? A study of the legal origins and consequences of recent higher education mergers : perspectives on higher educationAuthor V. SoobrayanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 94 –109 (2003)More Less
This article traces the legal challenges and contestations embedded in five recent cases of higher education mergers in South Africa. I am aware that there are a number of forms of mergers. For the purposes of this article I use the term as one that is descriptive of a policy decision. Where necessary I make a brief distinction between a merger and incorporation. The article argues that although such mergers are founded in constitutional and legal imperatives, the process of merger is imbued with its own complexities and contests that influence the forms and outcomes of each merger. Legal frameworks and guiding principles are almost always up for dispute when mergers are contemplated, and such disputes can extend the time frames and alter the projected outcomes of a merger significantly. Legal frameworks include the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act (No 108 of 1996) and legislation and agreements relating to the merger process. These would include agreements between the merging institutions and collective bargaining agreements. In the two cases where the disputes have prolonged and, in one case, prevented the merger process from being completed, the stakes are high; there are long-term institutional and political relationships that could be decided at this conjuncture. What emerges in the analysis of these processes and outcomes is that in the context of higher education mergers legal frameworks are inadequate as an instrument to support the merger. Further, the feasibility of legal challenges and the wherewithal to declare them are closely aligned with the conception, distribution and extent of political and institutional power. Exercising the right to issue a legal challenge is therefore rarely a purely legal matter. The capacity or failure to take legal action is closely intertwined with the power and authority of institutions to contemplate such action in the first place. The five merger cases from which this article is drawn are the voluntary merger between the ML Sultan Technical College (MLS) and the Technikon Natal (TN); the merger of the veterinary science faculties of the University of Pretoria (UP) and the Medical University of South Africa (Medunsa); the merger of the Johannesburg College of Education (JCE) and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits); the merger of the Giyani College of Education (GCE) and the University of Venda (Univen) and the South African College for Teacher Education (Sacte) and the University of South Africa (Unisa). I draw on material presented in the five case studies published in a book on higher education mergers. Permission to use the material has been obtained from the authors, apart from myself, as contributors to this monograph entitled, Jansen J et al (2002). Mergers in higher education: lessons learned in transitional contexts. While the article will offer some description of each of the five cases, my central focus will be to illustrate the legal issues that emerged (or did not emerge) in each and offer some analysis of the consequences of such legalities on the merger process.
The story of South African academic development in international perspective : have we lost the plot? : perspectives on higher educationAuthor T. VolbrechtSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 110 –117 (2003)More Less
South African Academic Development (AD) emerged as a liberatory educational and social movement in the 1980s. AD (often called educational development) has burgeoned as an international phenomenon, but with a focus on quality rather than on liberation. South African AD now seems to be struggling to construct its post-apartheid identity, if one considers the demise of the South African Association for Academic Development (SAAAD) in 2002 and the fragile state of its interim successor, the South African Academic Development Association (SAADA). This article gives an analytical account of the history of nternational and South African AD. It attempts to explain what has divided and weakened the latter and makes some recommendations for the future.
Factors distinguishing between achievers and at risk students : a qualitative and quantitative synthesis : research in higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 118 –130 (2003)More Less
The purpose of this article is to identify factors that distinguish between Achievers and At Risk Students in Accounting 1A, and to explore how qualitative and quantitative research methods complement each other. Differences between the two groups were explored from both a quantitative and a qualitative perspective, focusing on study habits, language proficiency, cognitive ability, academic background and perceptions of reasons for failure or success. From both perspectives, the study showed that the groups differ in terms of language proficiency and study habits with Achievers having better communication skills and being more diligent than At Risk Students. Vast differences in perceptions of reasons for success or failure were also identified. The study furthermore showed that Achievers on average have better cognitive abilities and obtained better school marks than At Risk Students. Recommendations focus mainly on the At Risk Students, as well as on enriching research through a synthesis of qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
A critical overview of trends and practices in performance management in the South African higher educational environment : research in higher educationAuthor K. FranzsenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 131 –138 (2003)More Less
The transformation from an industrial society to a postmodern knowledge society has given rise to a new set of values that are manifesting to varying degrees in modern organisations. Besides quality orientation, these include focus on teamwork and cooperation, democratisation of the workplace, fairness and equity in labour relations, and a respect for diversity. In South Africa, many of these values have been amplified by the political transformation that the country has been undergoing since the early 1990s. Organisations are obliged to promote these values and build new cultures through strong leadership, changed strategies, and ensure buyin and compliance by means of performance management and reward systems. Higher Education, particularly in South Africa, has been reluctant to adopt performance management systems and practices, especially insofar as it pertains to the management and appraisal of academic staff at institutions of Higher Learning. The reasons for the reluctance seem to revolve mostly around an exaggerated deference to the idea of "academic freedom" and more operationally, the difficulties associated with "measuring" excellence in academic pursuits. This article will give an overview of prevalent trends and practices in managing academic performance and will attempt to explore the possible reasons for the apparent reluctance of academic staff and academic administrators to develop or adopt systems and procedures for managing academic performance.
A questioning environment for scaffolding learners' questioning engagement with academic text : a university case study : research in higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 139 –146 (2003)More Less
Access to the textual world of academia requires that learners are familiar with the critical open-ended questioning stance demanded by textuality. Anecdotal evidence suggests that learners registered for the Bachelor of Education Honours degree are unable to generate appropriate questions to interrogate academic text, impacting on their ability to engage effectively with academia. While ample research exists to suggest that face-to-face scaffolding can facilitate learners' access to academic text, this is often a time consuming, repetitive activity, which fails to track learners' questions over time. Given that questioning is one of the most important learning-teaching tools available to both learner and educator, we have created a computer-based scaffolding environment in which students are required to generate questions to interrogate academic texts. Learners have been using this new scaffolding tool this year, and we report on preliminary findings from the study.
Success and failure in distance education : perceptions of South African students and lecturers in Business Management : research in higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 147 –158 (2003)More Less
This article presents the results of a recent investigation at the University of South Africa that attempted to identify the post-enrolment factors that lecturers and students see as having important influences on students' success in undergraduate Business Studies courses. Data were gathered from students enrolled in all years of the BCom degree and from lecturers in one department servicing that degree. Various forms of analysis revealed a strong agreement between lecturers and students on factors that have the potential to lead to student success but a much weaker agreement about factors that might lead to student failure. These differences have implications for lecturers' instructional practices and for students' approaches to studying.
Lecturers' experience of postgraduate supervision in a distance education context : research in higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 159 –168 (2003)More Less
After determining the perceptions of postgraduate students at a distance education institution of the guidance they had experienced, a research project was launched to determine lecturers' views on supervision at the same institution. Data collection methods included focus groups, individual interviews and document analysis. Findings indicated that supervisors experienced some aspects of postgraduate supervision as extremely satisfying. However, numerous problems were raised, for example establishing acceptable ground rules, planning the research project, poor language proficiency and design of empirical investigations. In addition, administrative problems were encountered including admission requirements of students, allocation of students to appropriate supervisors and problems relating to the examination process. From the findings, the need for training of students and supervisors; discussion around issues in the supervisory process and written policies and guidelines on postgraduate supervision emerged.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 169 –176 (2003)More Less
Universities and technikons have been struggling to meet the demands of growing numbers of students who enter higher education with limited skills. Higher Education literature abroad provides an exhaustive range of theory about the reasons for students leaving (cited in Strauss & Volkwein 2002), as well as proposals for positive intervention. It is critical for administrators in South Africa to understand the unique combination of factors contributing to student attrition at their institutions. This study aims to predict the probability for a first-time entering student to register and pass all required first-year courses at Technikon Pretoria using various predictor variables. The results from this study indicate that the Grade 12 aggregate and major field of study were the most important predictors for the success of students in the first year. The results of the study can also be incorporated into enrollment planning within the institution.
Troubling the numbers : is teacher demand projections possible within the context of HIV / AIDS : research in higher educationAuthor P. RamrathanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 17, pp 177 –186 (2003)More Less
This article explores two ways of knowing about teacher demand within the context of HIV / AIDS. It argues that by privileging particular variables that one wants to conceptualise, interrogate and understand, projections on teacher demands may vary. Which variables then needs to be conceptualised and what projections on teacher demand are reasonable within the HIV / AIDS pandemic? This article further explores possible responses that higher education needs to consider with respect to teacher supply and demand. The search for new and appropriate research methodologies within the veil of secrecy that shrouds HIV / AIDS is yet a challenge for higher education to inform research in this area.