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- Volume 19, Issue 4, 2005
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 19, Issue 4, 2005
Volumes & issues
Volume 19, Issue 4, 2005
Author S. CassimSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 653 –665 (2005)More Less
Equity and diversity have become part of the dialogue, debate, policy and scholarship at higher education institutions in South Africa. These have appeared through the transformation agendas at institutions, focussing on a number of different issues: student access and development, staff equity, institutional climate or culture etc. This paper reflects on the issues of equity and diversity in higher education institutions through the development of a framework of domains into which existing research may be classified. The organising framework incorporates the variables that impact the development of equity and diversity, documents the research and practice, and identifies areas for further research in the field of equity and diversity in higher education institutions.
Is a year-long access course into university helping previously disadvantaged black students in biology?Author C.T. DownsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 666 –683 (2005)More Less
There has been increased demand to widen access to university study. The Science Foundation Programme (SFP) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) (formerly Natal), Pietermaritzburg, is a year-long access course specifically for previously disadvantaged black students. Students in the SFP take five courses and performance in these is reflected in final marks. This determines whether they proceed into the faculty. However, little is known about whether or not this guarantees their success. One of the subjects SFP students take is biology. In the present study the performance of these students in their SFP biology course was assessed across years (1995-2000), as well as in the first year bioscience course. Assessment marks were also analysed to determine if they showed trends in the mastery of the skills and knowledge tested. The use of different forms of assessment as monitoring instruments appears to improve the reliability and validity of the final mark awarded to a student. It seems that passing their biology SFP does not necessarily mean that these students will perform well in their first year Biology course. This is a consequence of a myriad of academic and non-academic factors. However, in terms of ongoing curriculum development, the types of teaching and assessment used to award a final grade need to be examinationined. Development of language and higher order thinking skills need to be examinationined at both SFP biology and bioscience levels.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 684 –698 (2005)More Less
A concern about the pass rate in first-year accounting courses in higher education has resulted in a number of national and international research projects on the subject. Researchers have looked at the possible effect of factors such as the student's proficiency in English, prior experience in accounting and mathematics, gender, motivation and personality type on the pass rate at first-year accounting. The outcomes of the research have been varied and often contradictory. This may be attributed to the different research strategies in the different contexts. This article maps the journey towards establishing an appropriate analysis strategy to profile the successful Accounting101 student. The context of this journey is the teaching of first-year accounting studies at the University of South Africa (Unisa), which is an open and distance learning (ODL) institution.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 699 –714 (2005)More Less
This article examinationines the actual time academics have at their disposal, and the lack of time they feel and experience in practice; how they use and misuse their time and the effect this has on their state of being. The authors work on the premise that time management is a life skill. By means of surveys administered over a period of three years across all Faculties in a South African, and within one Faculty in particular, issues relating to the use of time by academics are identified and analysed, compared and contrasted. The concluding section identifies principles which can lead to improved use of time and an enhanced sense of well-being of academics of Higher Education.
Author C. HutchingsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 715 –734 (2005)More Less
The University of Cape Town (UCT) attracts a diverse student population in terms of language and cultural backgrounds. However, it is still apparent that students from certain backgrounds are less successful than others at the university. A close examination of students' behaviours and attitudes towards their learning may give indications as to where problems lie. The Writing Centre at UCT is ideally placed to explore such factors, due to the individual nature of its work with students and to its data collection. In this article, through an analysis of the reports on observations of students' behaviours and difficulties arising in consultations, aspects of students' management of and relationships within their learning and how these affect control of their texts one examined. Suggestions, based on these, as to how the institution could improve its provision of access to and within its learning environment and cater for its diverse student population.
Undergraduate engineering training through institutional collaboration in the Southern African regionSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 735 –753 (2005)More Less
The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and The University of Namibia (UNAM) signed an Agreement of Co-operation (AOC) in 2000. This agreement, which formalised an existing informal collaboration, was primarily targeted at facilitating the transfer of potential Unam undergraduate engineering students to pursue engineering studies at the WITS Faculty of Engineering as well as improving staff collaboration in research and teaching. Students from UNAM's pre-engineering programme and science departments have been beneficiaries of this agreement. Four years later, an evaluation of the collaboration reveals critical issues vis-à-vis decreasing student enrolments, unimpressive student graduation rates, and financial and operational complexities affecting student mobility - all of which have institutional as well as regional implications. This paper presents highlights and pertinent lessons of the collaboration, and recommendations for similar collaboration in the Southern African region both at an institutional and regional level. As a whole, the paper uses the Wits experience to extrapolate principles and strategic issues facing institutions involved in academic collaboration and cross-border movement of students within the Southern Africa region.
Author S. SchulzeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 754 –769 (2005)More Less
The aim of this research was to investigate the job satisfaction of black, female academics at a distance education institution. To this end, a phenomenological method was employed. By means of purposeful and snowball sampling, ten participants from different departments in the humanities were recruited and interviewed. Participants were asked how they felt about teaching, research, community service, administration, compensation and job security, promotions, management, co-workers' behaviour and their physical environment. Findings indicate that the participants have a strong teaching orientation and need a supportive environment. Herzberg's theory on job satisfaction could only be partially confirmed. Management need to consider factors that influence satisfaction and dissatisfaction to improve the wellbeing of this group of academics.
Master's and doctoral theses in the faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State : publication success and problemsAuthor G. JourbertSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 770 –776 (2005)More Less
The aim of this study was to determine the publication success and problems of postgraduate studies in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State (UFS). The sample consisted of students who obtained a postgraduate qualification based on a Master's or doctoral thesis in the faculty from March 2001 to April 2004. Information was mainly collected through personal interviews with the students or study leaders. In most cases publications plans were discussed during the study, and for very few studies no publication was planned. However, less than a quarter of the studies had led to a publication by the time of graduation and less than half by the time of the followup interview. Various suggestions were made to improve the publication success.
Exploring first year students' and their lecturers' constructions of what it means to read in a humanities discipline : a conflict of frames?Author P.M. NivenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 777 –789 (2005)More Less
This article reports on a critical, ethnographic investigation into the reading practices of a group of 14 foundation year students at Rhodes University in 2002. The university had identified all the students as 'underprepared' for university learning. They were from poor, socio-economic backgrounds, used English as an additional language, and had been educated in township or rural schools. Using the Socio-cultural model of literacy (Gee 1990; Street 1993), the study explored the culturally-shaped attitudes and assumptions about reading that the students brought with them into a tertiary learning context from their homes and schools. It reported on their subsequent efforts to become academic readers in a Humanities discipline. Framing Theory (Reid and MacLachlan 1994) was employed to analyse the kinds of mismatches that arose between the students' frames about the nature and purpose of reading, and those implicitly accepted as normative by their lecturers. It accounted for the students' difficulties in achieving epistemological access in terms of a conflict of frames: both the students and their teachers failed to recognise each others' constructions about the nature and purpose of 'reading for a degree'. Whilst the lecturers had 'Expressive' frames for reading, the students' reading frames were primarily 'Cognitivist'. The paper concludes that both the students and the lecturers were 'underprepared' for the learning and teaching tasks they undertook and recommends that a more 'Socio-cultural' understanding of literacy would facilitate a rapprochement of frames.
Author E.J. PretoriusSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 790 –812 (2005)More Less
In order to complement the quantitative study of reading abilities of 1 200 first-year psychology students with a qualitative approach, five case studies of first-year psychology students were also undertaken. This article reports on the observations that were made of the reading practices, attitudes and problems of the five students. They were tracked over a three-month period during which they read their prescribed textbook in preparation for assignment tasks and the examinations. The findings indicated that the students were generally slow and non-strategic readers who struggled to make sense of their textbook. Unless such students are helped to become more skilled and effective readers, they are unlikely to process their study material at a deeper level and become independent learners.
Author C. ThomenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 813 –821 (2005)More Less
The recent revision of the norms and standards of educator education suggests a new direction in education policy in South Africa. Educator education is now viewed as lifelong learning with the ongoing development of professional competencies. The Committee of Teacher Education Policy (COTEP) considers the professional development of practitioners as one way to improve the quality of professional practice. An analysis of the literature on professional development in education indicates a wide range of interpretations of the concept from the narrow interpretation accepted by COTEP of improving classroom practice, to a broad idea of improving organisational and occupational conditions. This paper explores how education practitioners view the concept of professional development and what competencies they associate with this concept. The author argues that practitioners view professional development as a much broader concept than that accepted by COTEP and suggests that teacher education policy is unlikely to lead to the improvement of professional practice as envisaged by COTEP.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 822 –852 (2005)More Less
This article focuses on language planning and management in higher education, specifically at comprehensive research-oriented universities, with a view to comparing and analysing implementation processes and issues at different national and international institutions. Universities included in the study were the Universities of Ottawa (Canada), Helsinki and A G bo Akademi (both in Finland), Barcelona (Spain), Fribourg (Switzerland) and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium). Inside South Africa a similar investigation was conducted with two historically Afrikaans universities; one urban (University of Pretoria) and one rural university (University of North-West, Potchefstroom and Vaal Triangle Campuses). The researchers interviewed vice-chancellors, registrars and other officials with the executive responsibility to implement institutional language policies, plans and/ or procedures. The situation elsewhere in Africa is also described by looking at the available literature. The study concludes that the way in which multilingualism is managed is very context-dependent. The implications for South African institutions are discussed by looking at cultural mandates that are supported by state or regional governments, the perceived cost of multilingualism and the status of mother tongues in different environments. The discussion concludes by discussing national and international agendas that compete for equal treatment and limited budgets.