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- Volume 18, Issue 1, 2004
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 18, Issue 1, 2004
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Volume 18, Issue 1, 2004
Author J.D. JansenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 5 –18 (2004)More Less
Extracted from text ... GUEST EDITORIAL How mergers shape the institutional curriculum J D Jansen University of Pretoria MAKING THE ARGUMENT What happens to the resultant curriculum when two institutions, each with its own curricula, decide to merge? While studies of mergers abound (Harman & Meek 2002; Eastman & Lang 2001; Martin, Samels & Associates 1994; Goedegebuure 1992), there are few (if any) systematic studies on the curriculum effects of merging two or more higher education institutions. The curriculum is often treated as secondary to the larger financial and organisational alterations resulting from mergers. Put differently, few institutions merge (or are required to ..
Scholarship and professional profiling : possibilities for promoting quality in higher education : perspectives on higher educationAuthor E.M. BitzerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 19 –37 (2004)More Less
This article introduces the concept of scholarly quality from a historical perspective and reflects involvement in affirming scholarly work at two universities in South Africa ± firstly from the experience of a staff developer and, secondly, from the viewpoint of an academic practitioner. The scholarly roles of the academic practitioner as identified by Boyer are explored and linked to at least five reigning perspectives of the concept of quality as well as the notion of standards. Profiling and portfolios are highlighted as important elements of scholarly quality in higher education, particularly in a developing higher education context. Scholarship profiling guidelines, spanning the four scholarly roles of Boyer, are provided, as well as an example of performance expectancies at the professorial level as developed as part of a system for the enhancement of scholarly quality at one university. Finally, the need for proper documentation of scholarly work for quality purposes is proposed.
'Equity of access' and 'equity of outcomes' challenged by language policy, politics and practice in South African higher education : the myth of language equality in education : perspectives on higher educationAuthor N. CeleSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 38 –56 (2004)More Less
The state institutionalised political effort to unravel the oppressive historical development of European languages, which earned these languages, particularly English, elitist positions in educational, political, economic, social, technological and religious public domains (Cele 2001), spans the current language policy of South Africa. In spite of the legitimacy of social redress policy, policy-bound, hurried attempts at redressing cultural injustices lived through language inequalities have led to the creation of policy pronouncements that oversimplified and unjustifiably underscored the role of English in education. The danger of that genre of policymaking framework is that it continues to blame the underprivileged for failing to take advantage of, and comply with, policy, exonerating the state from being pragmatically interventionist through planning and resourcing beyond policy glamorisation. This article (1) presents a critical reflection and commentary on the language policy of South Africa informed by practical realities of education and training in South Africa, and (2) critically analyses a path that indigenous languages should pursue in both the public and private domains. These two levels of analysis are based on two paradigms: (1) education and training for `globalised' economic emancipation and (2) education and training for public good. It is not the intention of this article to draw a clear dichotomy between these two paradigms, but to forge and infuse a parallel development dimension of core existence, particularly in the handling of language development implications encoded in the language policy. This article forges an insightful analysis of the South African language policy by contrasting policy intentions and implication with practical realities that are here to stay. It also seeks to explore and challenge the marginalisation of English in policy, and policy failure to decolonise South African English(es) for public good and economic emancipation of South African societies. The article concludes the argument with a call for a contextualised development of indigenous languages which is free of language clustering. It also asserts in conclusion that a balance between economic emancipation and public good should be created by accepting and Africanising English while developing all indigenous languages parallel to English.
Language policy in higher education in South Africa : implications and complications : perspectives on higher educationAuthor A. FoleySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 57 –71 (2004)More Less
This article offers a discussion of the recently finalised Language policy for higher education document (November 2002). After a brief account of the general background to the policy, the article focuses on the two main thrusts of the document: the need to develop (South African) African languages as academic/ scientific languages for use in instruction; and the need to develop student proficiency in the currently designated language(s) of tuition, namely, English and, to a lesser extent, Afrikaans. In each case, this article argues that the processes entailed in meeting these needs are neither simple nor straightforward, but involve instead a number of complexities that need to be acknowledged and addressed. The bulk of the article, then, is devoted to clarifying the apparently unforeseen or unrecognised implications and complications of the policy document. Finally, the article considers the efforts made by one higher education institution to formulate an appropriate language policy as an example of the degree of difficulty inherent in such an enterprise.
A theoretical framework for measuring the quality of student learning in outcomes-based education : perspectives on higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 72 –86 (2004)More Less
The most important principles of outcomes-based education (OBE) is that planning, teaching and assessment should focus on helping learners to achieve significant outcomes to high standards. This cannot be achieved without having suitable ways to describe desired learning outcomes and the quality of students' demonstrations of learning. This article outlines a systematic approach to defining outcomes and describing the relationship between learners' responses to assessment items and their levels of understanding. The approach is based on the Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome (SOLO) taxonomy with multimodal functioning ± a means of analysing learner understanding that is based on modes of thinking, forms of knowledge and ways of structuring knowledge.
Author L. Le GrangeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 87 –97 (2004)More Less
Currently, a technological revolution is taking place in higher education. The effects of this revolution are increasingly being felt in South Africa. The growth of elearning has been described as explosive, unprecedented, amazing and disruptive. In this article some critical thoughts about e-learning are raised. In particular philosophical and educational issues pertinent to e-learning are addressed. In framing the discussion attention is given to the relationship between technology and culture, the relationship between information and learning, and the relationship between embodiment and learning. The article concludes that extreme positions of rejectionism and boosterism are not desirable.
The effects of higher education mergers on the resultant curricula of the combined institutions : perspectives on higher educationAuthor M.X. MfusiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 98 –110 (2004)More Less
Since the dawn of democracy in South Africa (from 1994), the education sector has been haunted by the spirit of change and transformation from the apartheidinfluenced education system to the one that will represent the demographic makeup of this country. As a result of this line of thinking, there has been a policy for all sectors of education ± from early childhood development to higher education. Discussion documents have been followed by Green Papers, White Papers and Acts. The higher education sector has been no exception in the situation whereby a flurry of policies have been made, amended and re-amended in order to change the landscape. The latest landmark has been the `merging' of higher educational institutions and reducing their number from 36 to 21. This state of affairs has raised many concerns, questions, arguments and debates from the institutions involved, their staff (both academic and non-academic), the entire academic regime, politicians and society in general. When institutions merge, numerous aspects such as the curriculum, efficiency, equity, staffing, students, organisational integration and physical integration effects can be either negatively or positively affected.1 This article will focus only on what happens to the curricula of the merged institutions? And what are the effects (either positive or negative) of these mergers on the resultant curricula of the combined institutions?2 There are various scenarios whereby the curriculum of one or both institutions could remain unchanged, or the curriculum could be a partial compromise of the new curriculum to reflect both institutions; and a complete integration whereby the curriculum of one of the institutions is completely discarded.
Environment (education) as a community project : deliberative democracy in action : perspectives on higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 111 –126 (2004)More Less
One way of enacting environment (education) as community in relation to higher education, is for a university, selected schools and the Cape Metropolitan Council (local government organisation) to engage critically in deliberative discourse with the aim of cultivating a sense of citizenship amongst participants. This article reports on a Schools Water Project (SWAP) implemented by a university in partnership with a local government organisation, specifically showing that environment (education) as a community project can engender willing and cooperative participation, rational discussion and debate, relations of trust and a sense of democratic citizenship within and among participants, particularly at schools 3 and 4 of the case studies. Moreover, the research findings suggest that willing participation through critical engagement and rational argumentation would not necessarily be outcomes of contrived deliberation as has happened at schools 1 and 2. Unlike at schools 3 and 4, learners lack the ability to work independently and to engage critically in SWAP activities, which make the achievement of defensible deliberative practices highly unlikely.
The humanities in a changing South Africa : challenges and opportunities : perspectives on higher educationAuthor I.J. Van der MerweSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 127 –139 (2004)More Less
For centuries the humanities and natural sciences were the two main pillars upholding the fundamental knowledge tradition of a university. A stronger focus on science, engineering and technology is necessary in South Africa to correct the present imbalances of student numbers and human resources in those fields. This, however, should not diminish the importance of teaching and research programmes in the social sciences, languages and arts domain. South Africa is entering a millennium of enormous societal, environmental and scientific challenges to which no university or scientific discipline can remain indifferent. The humanities, therefore, will have to position themselves anew within an evolving and transforming framework. Against the background of the new South Africa higher education institutional landscape and the changes in the external national and international environment, this article explores the challenges for an appropriate humanities. South Africa's academics should not see this new environment as a threat, but as an opportunity for adaptation, adjustment and innovation. The changed environment offers the humanities opportunities and challenges to apply their very relevant knowledge and skills and to make valuable contributions to the scientific body of knowledge, to society and to the resources of the universities.
The challenge of multilingualism : in response to the language policy for higher education : perspectives on higher educationAuthor C. Van der WaltSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 140 –152 (2004)More Less
This article investigates the requirements of the newly released Language policy for higher education and provides guidelines for an educational approach that would support multilingual higher education. In a nutshell, this policy challenges higher education institutions to provide in the linguistic needs of the new, more diverse and potentially larger student population brought about by greater equity of access, while maintaining quality in education and creating an environment where multilingualism can flourish. This article argues that the policy is necessary, but does not go far enough and that although one can support its existence up to a point, it does not provide enough concrete proposals to steer implementation. Despite its laudable goals, the policy, therefore, cannot support the development of additive multilingualism. In an effort to provide more concrete goals to attain multilingualism, this article discusses the concept of biliteracy as a medium term goal on the road to multilingual higher education.
The games institutions play - or the impact of university incorporation on the attitudes, beliefs and perceptions of college lecturers : perspectives on higher educationAuthor C.N. Van der WesthuizenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 153 –164 (2004)More Less
This study gauges the impact of the incorporation of a college into a university on the attitudes, beliefs and perceptions of staff members who were not appointed in posts at the receiving institution. It is an account of the anger, fear and bias college lecturers experienced during the process of incorporation. Former college staff acted as both interviewers and interviewees in this innovative research design. The question asked during the free attitude interviews was: `How did the incorporation of the college into the University affect you as a College lecturer?' The subsequent data analyses and reporting were composed by the interviewers. The data indicate that the lecturers experienced emotional phases similar to those described in KuÈbler-Ross's `stages of grief' model. The need for a more humane approach to incorporation processes has implications for the successful transformation of higher education institutions.
Perceptions of staff at Eastern Cape Technikon on the value and effectiveness of international linkage partnerships : perspectives on higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 165 –184 (2004)More Less
The partnership approach to addressing challenges in higher education brings new ideas to old systems and allows participating institutions to improve practices and quality with less risk. This study was performed to determine the perceptions of staff at Eastern Cape Technikon on the value and effectiveness of linkage partnerships. Academic staff indicated that the main reason for their involvement in these projects is capacity building. Apart from the development of skills and competencies they also rate development opportunities such as networking with overseas colleagues highly. On the negative side respondents regarded communication, both internally and externally as their main concern with linkage partnerships. They were also very critical of the role of senior management in the projects. As indicated only one per cent of respondents agreed with the statement that `top management discuss the purpose and progress of partnerships with all programme leaders at least once per term'. Response to statements about efficient budgetary processes and other aspects of leadership were also answered in a negative way. In this regard it was suggested that in view of the fact that the technikon earns R5 million per year from the different projects, a separate structure, policies and an improvement in the quality of internal and external communication must be achieved.
Rethinking and reimagining mergers in further and higher education : a human perspective : perspectives on higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 185 –201 (2004)More Less
Higher and further education in South Africa has been characterised by major changes regarding the shape and size of the system. One of these changes has been the so-called mergers. This article addresses the scenario that contributed to the mergers. An overview of various frameworks or models for mergers is briefly discussed, and the possible advantages and disadvantages of mergers are indicated. The main focus of the article reflects the human side; the people issues related to mergers. Staff perceptions and reactions are reflected in an attempt to capture the essence of the impact of mergers on people. A special focus is on the colleges of education in the Western Cape where mergers and take-overs or incorporation of colleges of education have been completed. The findings, which include the outcome of a three-day workshop on mergers as well as a survey of people involved in mergers, focus on lessons learnt from early experiences with mergers as well as on the effect of mergers on organisational culture.
Diversity at a dual-medium university : factors affecting first-year students' attitudes : research in higher educationAuthor P.M. AlexanderSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 202 –220 (2004)More Less
South African universities cater for a diverse body of students and dual-medium universities face a particularly daunting challenge. The attitudes of different groups of students towards specific courses, subjects and their studies as a whole should be seen in context. This article examines the concepts of diversity and Language of Teaching and Learning and reports findings regarding the attitudes of different groups of first-year students to various aspects of one course. Three separate problems involving language, enthusiasm for the subject and teamwork seemed to be experienced by different groups of students. Reasons that point to differences between the educational needs of the different groups of students being taught in parallel at dual-medium universities are suggested.
Quality assurance in udergraduate medical education : standards for accreditation : research in higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 221 –227 (2004)More Less
Quality assurance in medical education, with special reference to standards for accreditation was investigated, and a set of national standards was developed for use in self-evaluations of medical schools and in the accreditation of medical education programmes in South Africa. An extensive literature study formed the basis of the investigation, and the Delphi technique was used for the empirical study. A set of 110 standards, catagorised according to specific areas, was designed, comprising absolute standards and standards aimed at encouraging development. The standards are suitable for verifying the quality of medical education, to be used as a lever for change and reform and as principles guiding quality assurance. The areas covered by the standards and the aspects addressed in each are described.
The academic support needs of students with impairments at three higher education institutions : research in higher educationAuthor S.F.M. CrousSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 228 –251 (2004)More Less
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa protects the rights of all people and identifies disability as a criterium on which the principle of equity must be based. Therefore, the question arises whether the South African education system follows an education for all approach by including people with impairments in their student population. From a survey of three South African universities, it was found that less than 0, 5 per cent of the student population was represented by students with impairments. This gives rise to the following research question: What are the needs and problems experienced by adult learners with impairments in higher education? To investigate this problem, three institutions of higher education were included in survey research and, a questionnaire was distributed to 751 students with impairments. Based on the findings and on the recommendations of the impaired students themselves, a number of suggestions for the improvement of the conditions at universities are made.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 252 –264 (2004)More Less
The primary goal of this article is to introduce a relatively new costing tool that could assist with the formulation of a retention strategy. There is a cost factor linked to the education and training of students: the money spent on a successful student could be perceived as adding value; whilst the costs related to unsuccessful students or students that drop out of the system may be perceived as wasted resources. This article analyses student dropout rates by identifying critical dropout points in the students' study cycle. A quality management system is used as a basis to determine the cost of quality.
Selection for the Science Foundation Programme (University of Natal) : the development of a selection instrument : research in higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 265 –272 (2004)More Less
The Science Foundation Programme (SFP) is a one-year access programme to the Faculty of Science and Agriculture at the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg). It was launched in 1991 and has grown from a programme for 31 students to the current programme with 280 students. One of the means used for selection was the Joint Selection Programme for Science and Applied Science (JSPSAS). An evaluation of this selection procedure, however, indicated a low correlation with student performance during their SFP year. For the year 2000, this procedure was abandoned and selection was made on the basis of Senior certificate results. For the 2001 cohort a new selection test, developed by SFP staff, was piloted. Whereas the previous selection procedure aimed at assessing for learning potential, a number of shifts were made in the test piloted in 2001. The test consisted of Mathematics, General Science and English subtests. The Mathematics test was designed to assess for minimum proficiency. The Science test consisted of items aimed at testing basic reasoning, synthesis and logical deductions not dependent on prior school content knowledge; and the English subtest was designed to assess for basic comprehension, grammar and syntax. For selection, a combination of the selection test and Senior certificate results was used. The students were tracked throughout their SFP year in 2001 and correlations between the selection test results and the June and November SFP examinations were monitored. Preliminary investigations of the correlations indicated that this selection procedure resulted in a group of students with a higher success rate than previous years. This article will describe the assessment of the pilot selection procedure's relative value in predicting student performance during the SFP year.
Rethinking gender (in)equality within the South African academic profession : research in higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 273 –289 (2004)More Less
The issue of gender (in)equality in the South African society has featured prominently in the recent past. In this article the researchers attempt to determine the extent of gender (in)equality in the South African academic profession, by means of gender responses to five work-related aspects of the academic profession. These five aspects are job satisfaction, community service, international activities, relations with institutional governance, and views on the role of higher education in society. Gender responses to these work-related aspects of the academy in South Africa, indicate that the problem of gender inequality that had traditionally characterised the South African academic profession, seems now to have been adequately addressed. This signals the successful implementation of post-1994 education policy directed at the promotion of gender equality in education generally, including the South African academic profession.
Honours degree performance as predictor of achievement on Master's degree level : research in higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 290 –302 (2004)More Less
This research was undertaken in the context of the increasing demand in higher education in South Africa to improve the delivery of high-quality Master's and doctoral graduates. A measure frequently applied to improve the slow completion and high dropout rate of these students is to select for admission. In many cases the selection for admission to Master's degree studies relies very heavily on performance at Honours degree level. The question addressed in this research is whether performance at Honours degree level is a reliable predictor of success at Master's degree level where research is the predominant activity. It was found that a set of predictors, representing performance in the Bachelor of Education (BEd) (Hons) degree, proved to be very limited with regard to the prediction of achievement in the Master of Education (MEd) programme. Some thoughts were expressed based on this conclusion.