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- Volume 24, Issue 1, 2010
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 24, Issue 1, 2010
Volumes & issues
Volume 24, Issue 1, 2010
Author D. DanielsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 5 –14 (2010)More Less
Fielding questions and curiosity about your research prompts you to consider how it is being read and understood. As a reader of research my inquisitiveness is about what its relationship is with other research, why the research is designed in a particular way and how researchers arrive at their findings. In other words, one looks for conceptual coherence in the arguments that are raised during the process of doing research. This article represents a reflexive account of my engagement with empirical research as a feminist researcher. I present supporting epistemological arguments to challenge the hegemony of a 'universal' knowledge that continues to make knowledges that are produced through feminist methodologies, suspect; thus undermining the value of such knowledges. My stance is that knowledge that is produced through research is always situated and thus never universal. Furthermore, the situatedness of the knowledge of the participant as well as the located knowledge of the researcher contributes to the research product (Haraway 1991; Stanley and Wise, 1993).
Author E.M. BitzerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 15 –31 (2010)More Less
Wenger (2000, 229) describes communities of practice as the 'basic building blocks of a social learning system' since they are the 'social containers' that make up such a system. By practising in academic communities, academics define with one another what constitutes academic competence and, for that matter, what constitutes quality. Departments as spaces for enhancing learning and scholarly work in universities have received some attention (Ylijoki 2000; Blackwell 2003; Ramsden 1998; Middlehurst 1993), and other authors (e.g. Knight and Trowler 2001) have emphasised the practice of induction and socialisation of staff into university departments. It appears, however, that the issue of communities of practice, as experienced and cultivated within university academic departments in South Africa, has received minor attention and is, therefore and arguably, in need of further exploration. By using a case study and appreciative enquiry methodology (Bushe 1998; Cooperrider, Whitney and Stavros 2003; David 2006) the study analyses a departmental quality review project, reports on the results of the project and more importantly, critiques the way in which quality assurance processes operate within and potentially contribute to a community of practice. One way in which the article might enhance the debate concerning higher education as a social space is teasing out an argument of whether or not departmental quality reviews might potentially enhance or limit notions of a community of practice. Findings might prove useful for academic staff, staff developers and departmental leaders such as department chairs and deans.
First year Master of Education (M.Ed.) students' experiences of part-time study : a South African case studyAuthor V. ChikokoSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 32 –47 (2010)More Less
This article reports on a study of how a group of first year M.Ed. students in the Faculty of Education of the University of KwaZulu-Natal experienced part-time study. Literature suggests that each year, South Africa suffers significant student departures from universities without completing their studies. Apart from the cost and manpower implications, student dropout also causes damage to the individual's self-esteem and self-image. The author's own experience of teaching part-time M.Ed. students suggested that they were faced with a plethora of hindrances whose nature and complexity could not be taken for granted. Thus, this study sought to understand how students experienced part-time study as organised by the faculty. The article contends that organisational factors within an institution are crucial to the success or failure, and the retention or dropout of the students. Therefore, student integration into the institution is highly necessary. Data were collected through a questionnaire that solicited both quantitative and qualitative responses. The findings suggest that while students found their studies worthwhile, their levels of integration with the institution were low, thus weakening their coping strategies. Greater efforts to help students integrate with the institution seem necessary.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 48 –65 (2010)More Less
Students experience various challenges during their studies, such as personal problems, academic difficulties and mental health problems. Therefore, student counselling centres/units play a valuable role in providing support systems for students in need. The most frequent problems South African students experience are relationship problems and academic problems, followed by career development issues, anxiety and depression. Most counselling centres/units offer psychotherapeutic services to students, and the main focus areas reported were crisis intervention (reported as a key focus area by all the centres/units), psychotherapy, substance abuse counselling, career counselling, study skills and generic skills workshops. The present study further found that the majority of counselling centres/units had one or more staff members with specialised training in areas such as HIV/AIDS counselling, sexual abuse counselling and multicultural counselling. In 2007, these counselling centres/units saw on average 18 per cent of enrolled students as clients. Studies have shown that the demand for student counselling services has grown; thus it is important to review the standard and scope of the services provided by student counselling centres/units, also with the aid of contemporary benchmarking results.
Author O. EsauSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 66 –83 (2010)More Less
In my investigation I set out to break the HIV/AIDS culture of silence and emphasize the role of the teacher as a researcher and critical change agent in an HIV/AIDS challenged society. My work demonstrates how teachers could play such a role by encouraging learners' participation in sport. The sport, I focussed on in my action research project was chess. One of the main recommendations is that the role of sport in education be prioritized in the context of HIV/AIDS. The rationale being that sport, recreation and play could contribute greatly to the quality of inter-personal relations and responsible behaviour of children and young people, as well as their personal well-being and health. This strengthens the idea that higher education institutions should provide the democratic space to encourage pre-service and in-service teachers to become teacher-researchers and reflective classroom practitioners, and to take up the contemporary challenge of shaping and strengthening school sport and education.
Author S. HassanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 84 –97 (2010)More Less
Educational transformation in higher education places new demands on academics, especially in terms of shifting from traditional methods of teaching and learning to the application of innovative methods. Whereas outcomes-based education leans towards a philosophy, problem-based learning (PBL) offers a structured methodology in which teaching and learning can occur in a systematic, yet innovative manner. One cannot simply expose academics to the theoretical concepts of PBL and then expect them to apply the methods. Academics need rigorous training and development in the practice of PBL. This article describes a workshop aimed at training academics in Nursing Education regarding the application of PBL. The medical model (often termed the hypothetico-deductive method of problem-solving) was used to : analyse clinical scenarios; generate and modify hypotheses; and search for information as learners would. Evaluation and reflection of the programme showed that participants benefited from the exposure to PBL, and were confident about implementing it in the classroom.
Do learning skills acquired in the university access programme enhance participation in academic practice?Author D.J. HlaleleSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 98 –110 (2010)More Less
In this article I critically evaluate whether or not learning skills acquired in the university access programme enhance participation in academic practice. University access programmes have been developed with a view to preparing and empowering underprepared students who did not meet the university criteria. The article claims that even though overwhelming evidence is available to suggest that access programmes provide access to university where there was none and undeniably add value to academic practice, participation in academic practice (epistemological access) is not necessarily guaranteed.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 111 –131 (2010)More Less
This article examines notions of quality and quality assurance in higher education. It does this by raising questions such as whether quality in higher education is the same as, for example, quality of clothing or the quality of meat in local butcheries. The article questions the assumption that if certain things, such as criteria or standards - which are measurable and quantifiable - are in place, then quality in higher education will be assured. The article uses the findings of the Changing Academic Project (CAP) to argue that quality and quality assurance in higher education have been permeated by the values and ethos of business and the discourses around efficiency and effectiveness that are driven by global competition. The Hong Kong and Singaporean cases are used as examples of policy borrowing on quality assurance. The article concludes that, given increasing private sector contribution to higher education, it has become necessary for some kind of government intervention to ensure that the higher education provided to citizens is of an acceptable quality. It also argues that quality and quality assurance have shifted from collaborative teaching and research, which promotes critical inquiry and community service, towards input/output considerations and performance measurement.
Author C.H. SwanepoelSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 132 –144 (2010)More Less
During the past two decades, higher education in South Africa has been affected drastically by transformation. An issue that has specifically been influenced is master's degrees. A significant increase in the demand for access to course work master's degrees has been experienced, while universities themselves have been confronted with a new government funding framework, which specifies that course work master's students be funded differently from research master's students. In this article, I discuss to what extent the expectations of government, universities as provider institutions, and students as clients are reconcilable regarding master's degree studies. I also consider the position of the lecturer, who is expected to produce whilst being caught between the expectations of these stakeholders. The article also addresses the lack of uniformity in universities' policies regarding research-related compensation for lecturers who supervise master's degree students - both in terms of research output units or research output funds.
Institutional imperatives and feeling at home in higher education institutions : Giddens on trust and intimacyAuthor L.L. ThaverSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 145 –156 (2010)More Less
Higher education institutions in South Africa continue variously to experience a range of contestations that are analogous much of the time to 'war by other means'. However, if we stand back from our divided social lives and the mandate that history visits on our institutions, not to absolve anyone but to yield to what the imperatives are that are integral to our higher education institutions, as case in point, we may be surprised by their deep-seated sociological logic. This is the rather abstract position taken in this article in league with Anthony Giddens to probe the articulation of the institutional imperatives of trust and intimacy, in the context of the university, and how one might be able to disclose its dynamics.
Author J.F. Van KollerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 157 –174 (2010)More Less
This article reports on the findings of a research project which aimed at determining what the key implications of the Higher Education Qualifications Framework would be for the curricula of Universities of Technology. The key problems which were investigated were the seeming lack of understanding of the exact implications of the Higher Education Qualifications Framework and the apparent hesitance on the part of Universities of Technology to start with the implementation process. By means of a systematic literature review and document analysis the researcher attempted to provide some frame of reference on the implications of the Higher Education Qualifications Framework for the programmes and curricula of Universities of Technology. The research aimed to start off a process of addressing the gap in available literature on the South African Higher Education Qualifications Framework. The research yielded some clear curricular implications of the framework and provided some guidelines for implementation.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 175 –195 (2010)More Less
Universities of Technology (UTs) offer career-focused education in a wide variety of disciplines and fields. Traditionally, UTs recruited academic staff with relevant workplace experience, rather than academic qualifications. The result of this strategy was, while many lecturers possessed professional qualifications in their field, they did not have Masters or Doctoral degrees. Much has changed over the past years. For example, most UTs now have requirements that, in order to be appointed as a lecturer, new staff should already be in possession of a Masters degree (although in several programmes this is not a viable requirement). Existing members of staff (appointed before the Masters degree was required) are encouraged to study towards higher degrees. The attainment of a Masters (and preferably a Doctoral) degree, followed by research outputs, are important considerations for promotion and notch increases.
How affluent is the South African higher education sector and how strong is the South African academic profession in the changing international academic landscape?Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 196 –214 (2010)More Less
The aim of this article is to determine to what extent South African higher education and the South African academic profession can hold their own, within the international constellation of higher education systems and academic profession contingents. The article uses the theoretical framework of current changes taking place in higher education worldwide, developed by the international CAP (Changing Academic Profession) survey of the academic profession. It also uses data emanating from the CAP survey. A disturbing picture emerges. Enrolment ratios in South Africa as well as rates of increase in enrolment ratios are lower than that of comparable higher education systems abroad. The distribution of students across various academic fields is lopsided. Scholarly productivity is low and the link between academics and society appears to be weak. The stranglehold of managerialism on South African academics is perceptibly present, and felt stronger than by academics in other countries for which data exist. Public spending on higher education is relatively low, and is receding on a steeper inclination than the international pattern.