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- Volume 23, Issue 5, 2009
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 23, Issue 5, 2009
Volumes & issues
Volume 23, Issue 5, 2009
Author Y. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 845 –851 (2009)More Less
In this article I offer a defence of cosmopolitanism as an enabling condition for university education in Africa. Recent xenophobic outbursts in South Africa suggests that the enactment of defensible virtues in societies remain distant from the practices of many people. My contention is that university education ought to take seriously the teaching of virtues such as cosmopolitanism to ensure that societal ills in some African communities such as perpetual genocide, rape, mass enslavement, political dictatorships, xenophobic violence and religious intolerance are combated and even eradicated. In the main my argument is that universities in Africa ought to cultivate the virtue of cosmopolitanism in order to enact justifiable educational change - a situation which can potentially contribute towards achieving a renewed African university.
In tackling the main research question of my project, I firstly provide a cursory critical analysis of challenges faced by higher education in Africa, particularly exploring the inattentiveness of higher education to deal sufficiently with the afore-mentioned societal malaises. Thereafter, I offer a defence of cosmopolitanism, in particular arguing for democratic reiterations and a Kantian notion of hospitality to be taught at higher education institutions.
Research supervisors' perceptions of effective practices for selecting successful research candidatesAuthor R.J.S. BluntSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 852 –864 (2009)More Less
This investigation elicited the perceptions of thirteen of the most successful research supervisors from one university, with a view to identifying their approaches to selecting research candidates. The supervisors were identified by the university's research office using the single criterion of having the largest number of completed research degree graduates over a five year period. The supervisors were interviewed individually and it was found that although they had individual approaches to selecting research candidates, there were key strategies that many employed. The supervisors' views of effective selection practices are analyzed, compared and contrasted with the principles described in the literature, and then critically evaluated.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 865 –876 (2009)More Less
The study explored university students' perceptions of attributions to success or failure. A random cross-sectional survey design was employed. Seventy-two students (male = 44, female = 28) were randomly selected from the student population of a state university of age ranges 20 to 49 years. The data, collected using a self-administered questionnaire was analysed using the chi-square and frequencies. The study showed that the students consistently attributed success to internal factors and failure to external causes. Gender and age differences in attribution were not statistically significant. The study recommends further research with a larger sample to produce more generalisable results and the need for more interaction between lecturers and learners to reduce unwarranted suspicions by students.
'What you see is what you get' : service quality, students' perceptions and satisfaction at South African universitiesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 877 –893 (2009)More Less
Tertiary institutions play a major role in providing relevant education that best meets the needs of the various constituencies served; and an assessment of factors that influence students' choices and satisfaction is thus useful. This article examines the gap between students' perceived experience and the importance they hold of service delivery, and attempts to identify possible predictors of overall satisfaction with their university. Survey data was obtained from 391 students from two Universities of Technology in South Africa. A major finding revealed that students' perceived experience of service delivery is significantly lower than what they considered important in their universities. Perceptions of readiness for change, intention to leave, trust in management and support, living arrangements (accommodation) and academic performance emerged as significant predictors of students' overall satisfaction with the university, explaining up to 30 per cent of its variance. Practical implications, limitations and suggestions for future studies were articulated.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 894 –911 (2009)More Less
Mentor development in higher education in Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Botswana is explored in this article. Changes in education policy require mentors to engage in individual as well as organisational change and transformation. Most studies focus on mentee development and the resulting organisational change but there is very little research into mentor development and its effects. Mentors can develop their mentoring abilities through reflective practice and an overt transformational approach to mentoring. An action research methodology was used for a framework of cycles used in the data collection from face-to-face conversations, reflective journals and focus group interviews. The findings indicate that reflective practice contributed effectively to mentor learning and development and improved mentoring ability. This study is important for its insight into the sparsely researched area of mentor development and its contribution to organisational change and transformation.
Strategies for university improvement : the research profile change at a South African non-research-intensive universitySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 912 –934 (2009)More Less
Universities worldwide experience continual change in order to achieve what is perceived as improvement. In these changes, there is usually an emphasis on the research function of a university, and the literature contains a number of themes in this regard. We contribute by presenting a detailed case study of a non-research-intensive university which implemented drastic change to achieve improvement, with emphasis on research, research management and interdisciplinarity. The case study provides insight into the processes, restructuring and outcomes, illustrates the selection and implementation of focus areas for research and postgraduate education, identifies supporting factors and provides an example of a university where there was radical restructuring across the full width of the institution. It sheds light on questions concerning outcomes of the use of institutional funds as 'seed money', the change in culture and climate and the operation of research units in a framework of matrix management.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 935 –352 (2009)More Less
The decline in civic participation, dwindling support for social services and deficits in state budgets, has created a climate in which higher education, supported by several policies, has to make a commitment to contribute to the reconstruction and development of society by linking academic programmes to community-based priorities (Campbell 2002). In South Africa, the Community Higher Education Service Partnership (CHESP) was implemented by the Joint Education Trust in response to the directive of the White Paper on Higher Education (1997) to develop and research pilot academic programmes through community, university and service sector partnerships. The purpose of these partnerships was to : contribute to the empowerment and development of local communities; make higher education policy and practice responsive to community priorities, and, enhance service delivery to participating communities (Lazarus 2001). It was anticipated that these partnerships would inspire a sense of citizenship; engender new forms of problem solving knowledge; capacity and practice; produce a new generation of leaders, and, contribute to national development (Nuttal, Bruzas and Mosime 2000). To test the relevance and practical application of these holistic and developmental concepts this article which is based on an intensive study undertaken at five university sites with ten multidisciplinary modules, explores the position of service learning and its impact on partnerships. The conclusion reached was that although the ultimate aim was to connect higher education and civil society, the formalisation of existing policies and institutional arrangements are necessary to facilitate meaningful partnerships.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 953 –973 (2009)More Less
In the light of the uncertainty surrounding the new National Senior Certificate that was written in South African schools for the first time in 2008, this article aims to examine the new Grade 12 National Senior Certificate results quantitatively in the context of the Grade 11 application score for entry into higher education and the Grade 12 Senior Certificate scores of the old curriculum. Ultimately, the article also aims to examine the use of an additional measuring instrument (in conjunction with the National Senior Certificate final matriculation examination) to determine access to higher education. Attention is focused specifically on the Stellenbosch University Access Test. The results showed that grade inflation occurred particularly in the results of the lower performance group. Although the real influence of the National Senior Certificate results on access and throughput rates can only be determined over a longer period, the first results of the National Senior Certificate and the use of the Access Test as benchmarking show that the scores of especially the lower group of achievers could cause first-time entering students to have an unrealistic perception of their own academic ability. This article confirms the increasingly important role of additional measuring instruments in determining students' access to higher education.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 974 –991 (2009)More Less
A successful transition from school to university is crucial to academic success - especially in the first academic year. Various studies have, however, shown that students are increasingly under-prepared for higher education studies. Not only is the school-university gap increased by the school system that produces inadequately prepared learners for higher education, but universities are also ill-equipped to accommodate these learners - particularly learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. In this article it is argued that universities have a responsibility to facilitate the school-university transition and should actively get involved in schools at an early stage. The research reported in this article aimed at developing a framework for a holistic and integrated pre-university intervention. In this sense it is foreseen that universities might play an increasingly important role at school level to prepare prospective students more effectively for university studies and thus facilitate a smoother transition from school to university.
Author S. SchulzeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 992 –1008 (2009)More Less
This article discusses an investigation conducted to identify challenges associated with teaching research methods in a distance education context. Constructivist learning was used as conceptual framework, in particular socio-constructivist theories, activity theory and Rich environments for active learning (REALs). Two research modules in a master's programme in education formed the basis of the investigation. One module required students to complete a portfolio, while the other involved assignments and an examination. Two cycles of action research were completed over three years. Data were collected by means of questionnaires and an analysis of study packages and other documents. The study revealed a need for improved cooperative support, the introduction of blended learning and the provision of anchored instruction by making more resources available in both modules. In addition, it was shown that the research methodology module would be improved through the provision of authentic learning contexts, opportunities for team research and more authentic assessment practices.
Author L.C. SmithSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 1009 –1025 (2009)More Less
This study uses statistical analysis to estimate the impact of first-year academic development courses in microeconomics, statistics, accountancy, and information systems, offered by the University of Cape Town's Commerce Academic Development Programme, on students' graduation performance relative to that achieved by mainstream students. The data for four cohorts, covering the years 1999-2002 is pooled. The results suggest that membership of the academic development programme enables students to out-perform their peers on the mainstream controlling for a number of independent variables, and that the positive effect of the first-year courses on graduation performance is particularly pronounced for African students. The implications of these findings for higher education in South Africa are considered.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 1026 –1038 (2009)More Less
Over the past decade the educational environment has not only become more competitive but also more commercialised. These trends have contributed to the introduction of service quality measurement at higher education institutions. Traditionally institutions assume that students have relatively homogeneous needs and expectations and the result is the provision of uniform services. Over time this approach has been questioned, particularly arguing that perceptions of services and service expectations do change over time. This is even more prominent where entry-level students are required to adapt to service systems and standards and senior students have a better and more realistic understanding of the actual environment within which service delivery takes place. Ultimately this exposure impacts on student expectations of service.
The aim of this article is to investigate the expectations of entry level and senior students regarding specific attributes of tertiary institutions. Challenges in the higher education sector and the marketing aspects thereof, with specific reference to the service quality associated with the image and marketing and academic related issues, are reviewed. The data represents these two student groups in a South African university setting and considers the extent to which these elements are viewed differently. Findings indicate that academic rigour is the most important factor with regard to image and marketing aspects. Likewise, with regard to academic importance, approachable staff, class fees and the range of modules offered are being perceived as most important.
Generation Y students : appropriate learning styles and teaching approaches in the economic and management sciences facultySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 1039 –1058 (2009)More Less
Generation Y students (born after 1982) have developed a different set of attitudes and aptitudes as a result of growing up in an IT and media-rich environment. This article has two objectives: firstly to discuss the learning styles preferred by generation Y students in order to identify the effect of these preferences on tertiary education in South Africa, and secondly to discuss strategies that lecturers in the economic and management sciences faculty can employ to address these preferences. It was found that Generation Y students prefer team-work, structure, interactivity and image-rich environments. From an exploratory survey it was found that a vast number of students at South African tertiary institutions have been exposed to technology while growing up to such an extent that they can be classified as Generation Y students. A critical learning outcome approach in designing, delivering and assessing courses is suggested for interacting with Generation Y students in the classroom to address many of the preferences of Generation Y students.