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- Volume 23, Issue 2, 2009
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 23, Issue 2, 2009
Volumes & issues
Volume 23, Issue 2, 2009
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 219 –224 (2009)More Less
In this article we provide a brief theoretical overview of cosmopolitan education with reference to the seminal thoughts of Seyla Benhabib (2006), Martha Nussbaum (1996) and Amy Gutmann (1996). We then examine how such a form of education can be taught in universities, before moving on to an exploration of some of the implications of cosmopolitanism for universities in Africa.
Author E.M. BitzerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 225 –245 (2009)More Less
The academic and social integration of 'new' students in higher education settings seems crucial for study commitment, study success and preventing early student departure. It has been well documented that the level of student integration has a major influence on both the commitment of students to their studies and the contribution towards study success. Moreover, authors have pointed to the close relationship between first-year integration and student motivation. There is, however, a complex relationship among personal, academic and social factors (Terenzini et al. 1996) that makes any simplified explanation of student persistence and study success problematic, proving a holistic perspective valuable.
The article compares findings from a three-tiered survey for the three first-year groups at one university and discusses their implications for student integration and potential study success against a framework provided by Louw (2005) and others. It points to the potential value of such surveys for feedback in terms of projected study success, lecturers' teaching and support strategies as well as the support roles of academic services.
Author F.J. PotgieterSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 246 –263 (2009)More Less
As part of a critical interpretive research project on skills development in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), the authors attended to the perceptions of Skills Development Facilitators (SDFs) regarding the challenges that HEIs encounter with the implementation of the Skills Development Act (SDA). We contend that apart from any explanations that have thus far been offered for the challenges, the challenges can be blamed on the lack social capital between the Education Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA) and HEIs. We defend our claim by firstly developing a conceptual-theoretical framework with respect to the rationale for and meaning of staff development in HEIs and that of the SDA. We then present the results of a critical interpretive, qualitative inquiry into the perceptions of seven participating HEIs SDFs regarding the challenges that HEIs encounter with the implementation of the Skills Development Act (SDA).
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 264 –274 (2009)More Less
In the early 1990s, the Commission on Health Research for Development of the World Health Organization estimated that only about 5 per cent of the world's resources for health research were being used to address the health problems of developing countries, where 93 per cent of the world's burden of preventable disease occurred. The term the '10/90 gap' was coined to describe this mismatch (Global Forum for Health Research 2008).
A compliance effort analysis was undertaken, where the funding for health research in South Africa from government funding agencies and the publication of research in conference proceedings and books were compared with the health research needs in terms of six major research categories. It was found that there is a mismatch between health research needs and funding, that not all categories with poor funding had poor delivery and that certain categories were very poorly represented in the health research output. These findings are discussed briefly.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 275 –292 (2009)More Less
The National Plan for Higher Education (2001) mooted funding as a lever to engender equitable student access, quality teaching and research, improved student retention and throughput and the production of graduates responsive to the country's social and economic needs. Maximizing income via the teaching input and output grants, the research output grant and the institutional factor grants necessitates innovative strategies pre- and post student admission. Recruitment drives targeting schools with largely disadvantaged student populations, student selection using tools predictive of student success, comprehensive and holistic student support, and, curriculum and pedagogical interventions address both access and success within the equity and transformation paradigms, while also assuring financial viability of higher education institutions. This article describes the context and rationale behind the 'selection tools project', the 'academic development and student support project', the 'web-based / online Masters programme' and Faculty-specific rules for postgraduate degrees initiated in the Faculty of Health Sciences, delineating impact where possible.
Some observations on higher education in the Humanities in South Africa with special reference to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University as a post-merger institutionAuthor K. GoddardSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 293 –308 (2009)More Less
This article argues that the Humanities in South Africa are under threat, from various quarters, both structurally in higher educational institutions, and conceptually in the corporatization of present-day ways of thinking. It suggests some of the ways in which the structural issues may be dealt with by Higher Education Authorities, and uses Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) as a specific example of some of the problems and challenges facing the Higher Education sector in general, but the Humanities in particular.
Commitment in academic contexts : first year Education students' beliefs about the aspects of self, the lecturer and instructionSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 309 –328 (2009)More Less
An analysis of commitment in academic contexts is presented by examining evaluative beliefs related to the self, the lecturer and instruction. The conceptual framework adopted draws on a philosophical analysis of commitment (Lieberman 1998) in which commitment is presented as a cognitive state that requires the presence of evaluative beliefs beyond mere affective states such as the desire to achieve a goal. A complexity perspective (Cilliers 1998) was taken to conceptualise the research design which included Northcutt and McCoy's (2004) Interactional Qualitative Analysis (IQA). Results provide support for the requirement that evaluative beliefs related to the self, lecturer and instruction can play an important role in regulating students' intentions and planful behaviour. The primary conclusion is that commitment is self-regulatory in nature and that a salient positive learning identity may play a role in fostering beliefs and behaviours consistent with such an identity.
Applying a partial problem-based learning environment to a non-major economics course : a case of cognitive dissonanceAuthor S.M. MaistrySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 329 –339 (2009)More Less
Problem-based learning (PBL) is a pedagogical approach that has been widely applied across various institutions and disciplines around the world. There have been several adaptations of the broad principles of PBL across these various contexts and while several research studies report different kinds of gains that this approach has for students, there is still some contestation about the real effect of PBL. This article reports on a study that set out to explore pre-service teachers' experiences of a partial PBL model that was applied to a non-major foundational economics course in a university teacher education programme. It argues that cognitive dissonance occurs at different levels. This manifests when pre-service teachers are able to identify and acknowledge the benefits that can be gained from PBL, but detract from fully engaging in the PBL format because of various other contextual factors that influence their abilities to participate. The article argues further that while students appreciate the social and collaborative dimension that a PBL format has to offer, students in this cohort indicate a reluctance to engage in self-directed learning. Data construction in this exploratory case study was guided by the principles symbolic interactionism.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 340 –355 (2009)More Less
The article explores perceptions of mentors of Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) students, regarding mentor / mentee relationships, mentor roles and effectiveness, mentor commitment and training, mentoring benefits, incentives and challenges. The study covered two regions of the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) as a follow up to an earlier study which explored students' perceptions. Qualitative questionnaires gathered data from a purposive sample of 39. Although the study is limited due to the absence of a multi-method approach to data gathering, mentor perceptions broadly concur with those of mentees in the earlier study and literature, but with strong emphasis on the need for mentor training, adequate time for mentoring, provision of incentives and the quality issue of grading versus a caring mentoring relationship. From critically analyzing mentor perceptions, researchers concluded that albeit mentors were painting a positive picture of mentoring and their commitment to it, mentoring in the ZOU model was affected by lack of mentor training, incentives and limited time for mentoring. In such circumstances, the institution should embark on on-going mentor training, give mentors incentives, rethink the role of school-based mentors and reconsider assessment in a 'parent / child' relationship.
The transformative role of ICT in higher education : a case study of the alignment of educational technology utilization with the vision of Stellenbosch UniversitySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 356 –372 (2009)More Less
This article presents a case study of the alignment of educational technology utilization with the institutional vision of Stellenbosch University, especially as regards the expansion of educational opportunities at postgraduate level. This is achieved by establishing alternative access routes through creating a virtual study environment. The study takes into account the institutional context within the African setting, including the University's existing strategic framework and technology infrastructure. The case study takes its direction in particular from two key issues, the role of educational technology in the transformation of Higher Education and the low Internet penetration within Africa. The current situation at the University with regard to technology-enhanced learning is broadly described. This includes an explanation of the individual and blended use of the Interactive Telematic Education satellite-based platform and the web-based learning management system, WebCT (now Blackboard), as well as other online support services deployed at Stellenbosch University. The study highlights the challenge that remains for curriculum planners in higher education, namely to find the optimal blend of higher education learning experiences that can be enhanced by the most favourable and feasible mixture of technology applications.
Author L. PortnoiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 373 –385 (2009)More Less
Higher education institutions in post-apartheid South Africa are undergoing a transformation process on many levels. Not only is their very nature changing due to new institutional identities, but also their student populations, staff complements, policies, and procedures. This article juxtaposes the structural context (formalities) in which policies regarding employment equity are formulated at higher education institutions against the realities experienced by academic staff and institutional leaders. Drawing on interviews and document analysis, the article argues that though it is apparent that transformative guiding principles are present, these are not translated fully in practice, resulting in additive measures that do not constitute formal structural changes. The continuance of the equity and excellence dichotomy is considered as an illustrative point regarding the entrenched institutional culture that prevails. The author argues that institutions must be transformed completely, rather than augmenting existing formalities, in order for positive strides to be made toward employment equity.
Author M. StearsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 386 –397 (2009)More Less
This article reports on the implementation of a model of experiential learning, defined as service-learning, in a teacher education programme. The purpose of the research was to find out how the parties involved in the service-learning partnership engaged with the process. Kolb's experiential learning theory (ELT) (Kolb and Kolb 2005, 194) is the lens through which the research is conducted and is conceptualised as Kolb's experiential learning cycle. The particular science education module selected is a method module in Biology Education. The service-learning component of the module was the design of an environmental policy by the student, in collaboration with the school. Data were collected through student questionnaires and teacher questionnaires, as well as reflective journals of students. The findings reveal that students experienced the process as being of personal benefit rather than academic or social benefit. While teachers are positive and willing to consult with students, interest appears to wane when it comes to implementation. This approach to service-learning requires deeper investigation.
Author A. Van der MerweSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 398 –417 (2009)More Less
South Africa, along with the rest of the world, experienced strong growth in higher education enrolments in the latter half of the 20th century. Human capital theory would explain this growth in private higher education demand as individuals' expression of interest in the potentially superior returns offered by educational investments relative to those available from alternative investments. The plausibility of human capital theory as a compelling explanation of the demand for higher education programmes intuitively rests on the proximity of individuals' labour market expectations and labour market outcomes or experiences following graduation. This descriptive case study of a cohort of Durban University of Technology graduates finds that their labour market expectations and experiences are less than well matched. This discrepancy would appear to cast some doubt on human capital theory's credibility to explain the demand for the university's programmes. To the extent that higher education institutions have a human capital interpretation of the demand for their programmes this mismatch of labour market expectations and experiences implies that demand for their programmes may be misinformed and even fragile.
Educational change in South Africa : reflections on local realities, practices, and reforms, Everard Weber (Ed.) : book reviewAuthor M. NkomoSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 418 –421 (2009)More Less