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- Volume 24, Issue 6, 2010
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 24, Issue 6, 2010
Volumes & issues
Volume 24, Issue 6, 2010
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 875 –880 (2010)More Less
The focus in this issue on transformation in higher education follows directly from the work of the Ministerial Committee on transformation and social cohesion and the elimination of discrimination in public higher education institutions and its Report (Department of Education 2008). The articles presented here are the response by researchers in higher education to the issues raised by the Committee and set out in its report.
Author C. SoudienSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 881 –896 (2010)More Less
The rationale for this article is that the actors in the South African higher education system, and particularly those with the responsibility for leading it, need to be clear about the arguments in the transformation debate and in particular about how these get at what is actually happening within it, and to be-consciously and self-critically aware of their own positions within it and in relation to these developments. Drawing on the work of the Ministerial Committee into Transformation in Higher Education and other data, it suggests that the debate has to engage the two-fold nature of the transformation puzzle, namely, those issues which take their character from the structural and those which are ideological in their construction. Approaching it as if it is only one or the other does not get at the complexity of the challenge of transformation.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 897 –913 (2010)More Less
The article critically re-interrogates three high profile cases of white racism at South Africa's former 'open universities' to highlight the way in which existing debates around academic freedom fail to come to terms with questions of racial injustice after apartheid. The cases covered are the Makgoba affair at Wits, the Mamdani affair at the University of Cape Town, and the Shell affair at Rhodes. It is argued that the genuine transformation of higher education requires recognizing and addressing the dynamics of systemic white racism.
Author S. VandeyarSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 914 –934 (2010)More Less
This study set out to explore how academics construct and negotiate their identities within the world of the academe. Identity construction involves different forms of community participation and identification. Utilising the research methodology of narrative inquiry, this article explores how academics came to see themselves across those communities which were of primary importance to them in the formation of their identities. Through the construction of narratives of experience, their lived and told stories emphasised the diversity of their identities that were negotiated with others within personal, historical and situational contexts. The article will conclude by recognising that the study of academics' lives from their perspective, in which they actively and socially develop their identities, not only provides a lens through which they can be understood as shifting constructions of identity, but allows them to rethink who they are and have become and what influence power relations have had in promoting or negating their sense of academic self.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 935 –952 (2010)More Less
A study of academic staff at a South African university of technology used questionnaires and interviews to understand perceptions and experiences related to inclusion and exclusion. Taking critical race theory as the theoretical framework, the study revealed high levels of anger amongst staff of different racial identities. Expressions of alienation related to racism were particularly high from African staff members. The response rate by Indian men was particularly low. Indian and white women were more likely to report a sense of exclusion than men from these groups. While whites tended to feel included, there was some resentment over affirmative action. Issues of gender and class also arose but seldom separately from discussions of race. The prevailing neoliberal discourse of universities is seen as one factor that impedes transformation. Recommendations are made to assist the institution to become more genuinely inclusive.
Author R. PattmanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 953 –971 (2010)More Less
In the light of the notorious video made by white students at the University of Free State (UFS) in which black middle aged cleaners were subjected to forms of degradation in a mock initiation ceremony (which included being given food mixed with urine) the Minister of Education authorised an investigation on social cohesion in universities. The Soudien report which followed from this questioned the transformative role of universities, noting that 'racism and sexism' were 'pervasive' in these. I take the Soudien report as a springboard for further investigative research on race (and gender) in universities, and, focusing on the University of KwaZulu-Natal, discuss principles and concerns which ought in my view to inform such research. I argue that part of the investigation should involve participatory research with students at the university and also with learners in the feeder schools in the Durban area, and try to illustrate the importance of doing this by taking examples of research with students and learners in these institutions. I address some of the epistemological and ethical problems arising from doing this kind of research, (notably how such research may be implicated in producing the very categories it seeks to investigate). The article walks a tightrope between two influential and opposite positions, one which suggests there is nothing to investigate and the other which already starts from the position that 'race' is an important category which determines students' lives, identities and relations. The significance of race, I argue, needs to be explored not assumed, and other factors such as gender and class need to be considered (as I illustrate in this article) as possible sources of identification and dimensions of power along and in conjunction with race.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 972 –986 (2010)More Less
The relationship between the academic labour market and the global labour market provides an important context for this research. There appear to be growing numbers of part-time lecturers at universities worldwide, which is seen as an extension of casualisation of labour more generally. From a social justice perspective, it is therefore of concern that more is not known about part-time employed academics in South African higher education.
Through utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods the research presents a preliminary picture of a peripheral group of academics at one university who are teaching an equally peripheral but sizable group of adult learners. The peripheral status of the part-time lecturers is further exacerbated by the poor data sources available and the limited knowledge of who they are and what they contribute to the teaching and learning of part-time students. This research brings into view both the largely invisible part-time lecturers and part-time students in the hope that this can lead to equitable and ethical actions by higher education authorities, and so transform the culture of the institutions to reflect the realities of growing numbers of both part-time students and staff.
'I keep myself clean ... at least when you see me, you don't know I am poor' : student experiences of poverty in South African higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 987 –1002 (2010)More Less
There is little research exploring poverty amongst university students, which renders poverty on university campuses invisible. This study aims to begin to understand experiences and constructions of poverty among university students. The qualitative study design uses open-ended, in-depth interviews in which four students from a university in the Western Cape were interviewed. The findings suggest that poor students use multiple strategies to circumvent the psychological distress associated with poverty and to disguise their poverty. They reflect complex and seemingly contradictory views of poverty as an individually and structurally created burden when they simultaneously take responsibility for their poverty but also attribute it to structural factors. Despite this, participants expressed resilience and hope for a better future, championing education as the 'way out' of their current situation. The findings suggest that more qualitative research is needed in this area as it holds implications for student retention, access to university and drop-out rates in higher education, areas which are core to transformation in South African higher education. Some recommendations about individual and interpersonal interventions that may supplement collective or macro-level interventions are made.
Author R. NiemannSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 1003 –1022 (2010)More Less
In 2008 the Ministerial Committee under the leadership of Crain Soudien in 2008 had, amongst other tasks, to investigate the promotion of social cohesion at higher education institutions. Numerous studies revealed that the institutional culture of a university or faculty plays a major role in transformation. In transforming the prevailing culture, management needs to constructively engage in such a process. This study aims to explore the views and feelings of a newly constituted academic faculty in terms of what they value and what they perceive as the ideal environment in which they will be able to flourish. Because an understanding of the ideal situation has to inform the transformation strategies, an appreciative inquiry was conducted among all the staff members of the new Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State. The data from the investigation was used to design a framework to be used by faculty management for cultivating a strong and equitable culture. It was evident that it is important to acknowledge present 'best practices' while building a new reality. The findings revealed that both the leaders and the staff have to take co-responsibility for such processes in order to constitute a faculty resembling excellence, equity and social cohesion. As the transformation of an institutional culture is a complex and sensitive task, this article contributes to the future of academic institutions in South Africa, which find themselves in the midst of a transforming higher education landscape.
Engaging with difference in higher education through collaborative inter-institutional pedagogical practicesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 1023 –1037 (2010)More Less
Apartheid-designed higher education institutions continue to have a major influence on students and higher educators in South Africa. There is a need for innovative approaches for engaging with difference in higher education. One means of doing this could be through innovative pedagogical approaches. The Community, Self and Identity project provides an illustrative example of how some of the challenges noted by the current minister of higher education could be addressed. In this course, students and higher educators from historically differently placed institutions and disciplines came together to critically interrogate concepts that could be regarded as core to human service professionals. As higher educators, we shared concerns regarding the cultural encapsulation perpetuated by the separation across historically advantaged and disadvantaged institutions. We set out to develop strategies in the curriculum that would allow students and higher educators to re-evaluate their own positions in relation to disciplinary knowledge, institutional and social identities.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 1038 –1054 (2010)More Less
Alexander, Van Wyk, Bereng and November (2009) are of the opinion that the purpose of education is the development of human capital towards meeting and achieving the individual and psycho-social needs of learners and communities which should be brought about through a process of transformation. In essence, this would imply that any discourse with regard to learning in Higher Education (HE) should constantly be reflective and interrogative of epistemological assumptions underlying transformation-meaning. 'How knowledge is conceived, constructed and transmitted' should be linked to broader societal issues (Hall in Report of the Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Social Cohesion and the Elimination of Discrimination in Public Higher Education Institutions 2008).
In our article, we locate our discussion on education within the broader framework of transformation. Teacher training imperatives for a transformative South African educational system are discussed. In addition, the conceptualisation of knowledge as reflected in the teacher training practices of a faculty is analysed. We further propose certain aspects which might be considered for the enhancement of educational transformation in the Faculty of the University of the Free State. Suggestions made, emanate from the different student teachers' views captured through semi-structured interviews in the Faculty of Education.
Education, performance and a cosmopolitan imaginary : towards enhanced democratic reflexivity in South African educationAuthor Y. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 1055 –1065 (2010)More Less
This article explores the question of the purpose of education within the context of performance and cosmopolitanism in South Africa. The publication of Jean-Francois Lyotard's classic text, The postmodern condition of knowledge in 1984 spawned much debate and controversy about postmodern framings for education, the most significant of which have been those on the concepts of 'performativity', 'performance', 'incredulity', 'nihilism' and 'paralogy'. Unlike those who associate the use of these postmodern framings for education with a philosophical movement of deconstruction which foregrounds the place of language and discourse and the challenges of foundational certainties (or grand narratives) in thought and action (Lemert in Edwards 2006, 273); or the promotion of individualism and lifestyle practices commensurate with neoliberalism (Featherstone in Edwards 2006, 273); or the offering of space for forms of radical and emancipatory politics which bring to the fore issues of gender, race, ethnicity and sexuality (Ellsworth in Edwards 2006, 273), I wish to talk about education as a performance of a cosmopolitan imaginary. Simply put, I want to argue that the purpose of education is to perform a cosmopolitan imaginary which can unleash a wide range of encounters within educational practices, particularly that of democratic reflexivity. Put in a different way, I want to answer an ontological, ethical and epistemological question: why should performing a cosmopolitan imaginary be considered as a postmodern purpose of education?