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- Volume 19, Issue 6, 2005
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 19, Issue 6, 2005
Volumes & issues
Volume 19, Issue 6, 2005
Author R.J.S. BluntSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 1021 –1032 (2005)More Less
This case study concerns the challenges for knowledge production through the curriculum of a newly merged 'Comprehensive University'. The rationalisation of South Africa's higher education system formed a crucial part of the transformation strategy proposed by the National Commission on Higher Education (1996). The subsequent Report of the Shape and Size Task Team of the Council for Higher Education (CHE 2000) proposed mergers between certain higher education institutions to create Comprehensive Universities. Their primary function would be to deliver vocational qualifications. The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is such an institution comprising the former University of Port Elizabeth and the Port Elizabeth Technikon. The article examines the perspectives of middle management of the challenges that the merger poses for the development of the curriculum. Interviews were subjected to content analysis and compared to draw generalizations and identify contrasts. These were critically discussed to draw conclusions about the curriculum of a Comprehensive University.
Author H.J. BritsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 1033 –1046 (2005)More Less
This article is based on a case study on the pilot audit experience of the Vaal University of Technology (VUT). The VUT was one of the three institutions of higher learning to take part in the pilot audit exercise of the Higher Education Quality Committee. The article reflects on the impact that the audit had on the enhancement of quality at the VUT as well as the value of a centralized quality assurance system.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 1047 –1061 (2005)More Less
Dominant discourses on research development in South Africa are characterised by a technical-rational approach combined with a focus on the individual. Working from the idea that research is best captured by the notion of communities of practice, we claim that more attention must be given to the building of intellectually engaging communities. Well-supported research communities are what ensure strong contributions dealing with the questions of the day, increased outputs on a continual basis, and long term research sustainability. Though a focus on outputs and provision of incentives are both relevant elements of research management and development, we argue that they must not take place at the expense of supporting communities of practice in research. We have identified a number of critical areas of research development, which we discuss in two separate articles: In this part, we address perceptions and myths about research. In the second article, we discuss: management and support; mentoring; engagement with post-graduate programmes; incentives; resources; and creating research initiatives. The article is directed at novel researchers, senior staff engaged in post-graduate supervision, mentoring and research development, and higher education managers.
Author M.C. De LangeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 1062 –1073 (2005)More Less
Critical pluralism in intellectual and scientific discourse has created a new awareness of, and an appreciation for the integration of belief and / or valuesystems in scientific models and curricula. This renewed emphasis on the incorporation of philosophical and ethical perspectives has resulted from recent advances in biological knowledge and technology on the one hand, and the fact that the impact of these advances is now also being examined in both the technological and the public domain. This volatility has left many educationist confused about how to integrate these aspects in curriculum design without being prescriptive. This article attempts to contextualise and highlight the need for integration of philosophical and bioethical perspectives in curriculation for courses at tertiary level in order to provide students with opportunities to engage with these issues in preparing them to be responsible teaching facilitators. To arrive at norms and values as outcomes, it is necessary to indicate the underlying philosophical and ethical issues that could determine the values and norms incorporated in a curriculum for the training of Life Sciences facilitators as stipulated in the New Curriculum Statements. Given this context, the article argues that science is not modified by our 'valuational intuitions', but rather seems to offer the possibility of educating students in dealing with the understanding of philosophical and ethical perspectives. This is done within the current South African educational framework. Some of the philosophical and bioethical issues that could impact on values and norms formed by students, and how these could be addressed within a Life Science curriculum, are explored. The philosophical and contextual framework set out is explained in terms of an example in the Life Sciences curriculum, and reasons why some educators cannot deal with these issues are investigated. Some recommendations are made on how to come to a workable solution to the problem.
New frontiers in automated assessment : using latent semantic analysis to assess conceptual content in essaysSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 1074 –1088 (2005)More Less
This article describes the use of latent semantic analysis, latent semantic analysis, a machine-learning technique which has been developed for the computerised assessment of knowledge. Latent semantic analysis employs linear algebra techniques to induce and represent knowledge in high dimensional spaces, and can be used to compare documents in terms of their degree of semantic similarity to one another. In this article we report on a study to explore the feasibility of latent semantic analysis as a computational tool for assessing the conceptual content of essay-type answers. Student answers to two short essay questions in an undergraduate psychology course were first independently graded by two human lecturers, and were then converted to machine readable texts and scored by latent semantic analysis. The scores assigned by latent semantic analysis showed good agreement with those awarded by the humans. The implications of the results, and some of the pros and cons of latent semantic analysis as a practical assessment technology, are discussed.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 1089 –1107 (2005)More Less
Institutions of Higher Education in South Africa are increasingly opting for education through the medium of English only. Teaching and learning through the medium of English in higher education is also prevalent in many countries in Africa, despite the fact that this is the second or third language of most of the learners on this continent. The arguments in favour of teaching and learning through the medium of only English, especially with regards to speakers of the African languages, rely heavily on issues of practicality and use the discourse of globalisation and empowerment as their main point of departure. In the South African context various authors have challenged the 'myths' around the so-called problems related to bilingual and multilingual education, at school level and in higher education, and have debunked the arguments with regard to globalisation and empowerment at a conceptual level. However, it is important to come up with practical suggestions as to how such alternatives will work, especially in countries where intensive research into the development of the indigenous languages for science and commerce still needs to take place. The authors of this article suggest ways in which bi-/multilingualism can be accommodated within higher education, and discuss a possible framework for implementation.
Author J.L. LutabingwaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 1108 –1119 (2005)More Less
The central international office plays a critical role in a university's internationalisation process. Universities around the world have responded to the challenges of globalisation in various ways. One of the responses has been to internationalise the campuses. Internationalisation is now a high priority on most university campuses around the world, including South Africa. Many South African universities have not developed effective and efficient internal administrative organisational structures to enable them to address the current internationalisation challenges. How should South African universities develop internal structures to internationalise their campuses? Drawing from the U.S. experience, the article discusses two approaches commonly used to organise international activities-decentralisation and centralisation. It argues that there is a movement toward centralisation of international activities on many university campuses. The article suggests that South African universities should consider centralisation as the administrative organisational approach for their international activities.
Government funding of universities in the new South Africa : some reflections on legal issues and implicationsAuthor J.C. MubangiziSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 1120 –1131 (2005)More Less
This article focuses on the fairness, reasonableness and constitutionality of the policy for funding of public higher education in South Africa adopted in terms of enabling legislation. In terms of this funding framework, subsidy provided to universities is based, among other things, on student numbers (with a greater subsidy being allocated to postgraduate students) and the research output of each university. The Historically Black Universities (HBUs) may well argue that, owing to a variety of factors that place them at a competitive disadvantage with the Historically White Universities (HWUs), this funding policy is unfair, unreasonable and unconstitutional. In particular, it may be argued that the policy doesn't take into account the disparities between HBUs and HWUs and that it violates the right to equality and perpetuates the disadvantages of the past. The policy may also be seen as a violation of the constitutional right to education. The article concludes that the so-called redress funding mechanisms contained in the new funding framework are of no special advantage to HBUs any more than they are to HWUs. As such, in addition to being unfair, unreasonable and unconstitutional, the new funding framework may inadvertently serve to perpetuate historical disadvantages other than redressing them.
Author I. NovemberSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 1132 –1140 (2005)More Less
This article reflects on my experience as a tutor of Philosophy of Education (PGCE) at Stellenbosch University in 2004. The theoretical framework within which I locate my practice is that of critical theory. Specifically, I intend to utilise deliberation that seems to have conceptual space for reflection and imagination as method, which I deem necessary to guide discussion and engagement. I discovered in my teaching that though some students freely participated in discussion, others were passive listeners, whilst most were more interested in what the exam content would be and whether the content of the discussions would be important for exam purposes. Also, on the return of assignments, students were more interested in the mark obtained than in the detailed comments and guidelines which formed part of the ongoing deliberation. I argue that the attitude of students toward academic work best befits a notion of globalisation where the emphasis is on outcomes commensurate with certification and where deliberation is not a priority. This in essence relates to my interpretation of what I refer to as a paradox. There seems to be a paradox because, on the one hand, students seem to be relying on the outcomes for certification, whilst this (as an exclusive activity or expectation) militates against teaching and learning as deliberation. Education, I contend, should be valued for both its intrinsic as well as its extrinsic value and there should be a complementary relationship between the intrinsic and the extrinsic.
Author M.N. Phaswana-MafuyaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 1141 –1159 (2005)More Less
An exploratory-descriptive study was conducted to assess the prevailing HIV / AIDS situation among 14 tertiary institutions in the Eastern Cape. The study involved a purposive sample of 182 institutional representatives with whom 14 group interviews were conducted. The situational analysis was organised into sections dealing with SWOT analysis, risk analysis, management strategies, prevention activities and partnerships. The SWOT and risk analyses showed some notable activities on how the institutions have responded to HIV / AIDS. The institutions had implemented HIV / AIDS management strategies, prevention activities and partnerships, though their quality was generally rated as average/poor. The study provides an excellent basis to map out what has been done so far and to spell out what the difficulties and the opportunities are in dealing with HIV / AIDS. It is hoped that the findings will help individual tertiary institutions to customize their HIV / AIDS responses to suit their own circumstances.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 1160 –1176 (2005)More Less
This article investigates methodological issues associated with predictive studies related to selection and access to Higher Education. These issues are discussed in the context of tests designed and administered by the Alternative Admissions Research Project (AARP) at the University of Cape Town. The aim of the project is to design tests that broaden access to talented students who are not easily identified through the High School Senior Certificate examination system. The tests attempt to provide a mechanism for selection based upon whether the writers have the potential to succeed in the University environment. The article comments on the difficulties and limitations of various approaches to predictive studies. The article argues that a methodology grounded in the survival analysis approach holds particular promise for predictive studies and that it can provide a useful insight into the complex processes of student persistence, retention and attrition rates.
In defence of institutional autonomy and academic freedom : contesting state regulation of higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 1177 –1185 (2005)More Less
In this article, we offer four arguments against excessive state involvement in, and regulation of, higher education institutions in South Africa. We argue, firstly, that state 'regulation' is inextricably connected with the practice of exercising 'power-over' institutions, a trend which could undermine institutional autonomy and academic freedom. Secondly, we maintain that higher education institutions lack autonomy since they are controlled by the state through subsidies. Such funding provisions for higher education institutions in effect place a significant limit on professional judgement and the pursuit of standards of excellence in academic work. Thirdly, we point out why excessive state regulation could catastrophically harm free scientific inquiry. And finally, we contend that excessive or intrusive state regulation can result in a kind of <I>laissez faire</I> situation characterized by a passive or cynical compliance vis-à-vis performativity.