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- Volume 28, Issue 1, 2014
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 28, Issue 1, 2014
Volumes & issues
Volume 28, Issue 1, 2014
Using collaborative strategies to implement critical pedagogy in an HE lecture-room : initiating the debateAuthor A. PillaySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1 –9 (2014)More Less
In this article, the author focuses on a study that used co-operative, experiential teaching and learning strategies to implement critical pedagogy in English Education lecture-rooms at a higher education (HE) institution. Using observations, interviews, focus-groups and student evaluations, the author determined the extent to which new knowledge could be produced through active engagement. She found that, firstly, an enabling lecture-room environment that respects and values students' contributions was essential to establish non-threatening ways for students to engage with each other, the lecturer and the issues being considered. Secondly, students recognised the importance of dialogue, co-learning and inclusion and could challenge opinions and reflect on their own beliefs and attitudes. Thirdly, they appeared to have agency and voice and yet interacted with respect for and consideration of others. Finally, the findings revealed that, by the end of the study, students were able to identify the benefits and difficulties of employing collaborative strategies to implement critical pedagogy.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 10 –27 (2014)More Less
This article is based on an interview conducted by Brenda Leibowitz with Ronald Barnett, noted author of over 20 academic books and 100 articles, at the Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) 2012 Conference. The interview deals with several topics including: the challenge of formulating and articulating a definite thesis; the importance of polishing and crafting drafts; keeping multiple audiences in mind; the different demands of writing articles and books; the value of poetry and fiction; how to keep going as a writer; issues of identity; and maintaining a will to write. The article continues with a set of joint critical reflections on the nature of academic writing and concludes with the suggestion that writing can enhance academics' understanding of themselves.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 28 –44 (2014)More Less
Reading is a skill people require in order to operate successfully in all spheres of life. Mastering this skill is even more critical when pursuing academic studies. This study investigated the reading comprehension of final year undergraduate marketing students at a South African higher education institution (HEI) relating to their comprehension of marketing research textbooks. Two measurement instruments were used to test their reading comprehension. One instrument contained two passages from the respondents' prescribed marketing research textbook and the other two passages from a comparative international textbook. Following the Cloze procedure, every 9th word was removed from the passages and respondents were subsequently required to complete the non-subject related words in one of the instruments fielded on a random basis. The results indicated that the majority of respondents exhibited a reading comprehension that is at the frustration reading level. A further evaluation that allowed for synonyms (Semantically Acceptable Scoring Method or SEMAC) to be included, did not impact meaningfully on the classification of respondents. Significant differences in reading comprehension could also not be uncovered based upon the respondents' gender and home language. The results furthermore presented challenges for all those involved in higher education (HE), more specifically impacting on textbook choice as well as assessment and performance practices.
Author R. ChiresheSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 45 –59 (2014)More Less
The study sought to establish Zimbabwean university lecturers' and students' views on academic dishonesty with a focus on the forms of academic dishonesty practised by undergraduate students; reasons for the dishonesty; and ways of minimising the dishonesty. A survey design was used and 31 lecturers and 77 second- and third-year Bachelor of Arts undergraduate students participated in the study. Frequencies and percentages were used in the analysis of the data. The study established that a number of forms of academic dishonesty were practised by students at the university, including: plagiarism; copying other students' assignments; fabricating sources of information; taking unauthorised material into the examination room; exchanging notes in the examination room; faking illness to justify late submission of assignments or non-attendance of lectures or tutorials; and writing assignments for other students. Students viewed the reasons for academic dishonesty as mainly externally determined, while lecturers viewed them as mainly internally determined. Strategies suggested by both lecturers and students to minimise academic dishonesty included: taking stringent measures against offenders; thorough and strict marking; teaching students about how to cite sources of information; improving the provision of reading resources; improving ways of lecturing; and imposing strict invigilation. Lecturers felt that students needed to be encouraged to study hard consistently.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 60 –71 (2014)More Less
Transformation of the higher education (HE) sector in post-1994 South Africa serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it is a response to the local imperative of democratisation, in the sense of developing citizenship and social redress. Secondly, it is an attempt to reposition South African universities within the global HE terrain, which had changed considerably during the preceding period of South Africa's isolation. The scale of these changes has understandably caused feelings of discontent among academics, and has resulted in a growing literature, which seeks to explain both the process of transformation and its effects in terms of corporatisation. The authors argue instead that transformation of HE is better understood as a process of bureaucratisation. They acknowledge that this bureaucratisation has corporate aspects, but argue that these are incidental rather than essential. What is essential is the importation and imposition of an administrative structure which has brought academics increasingly under surveillance. This has not only changed the nature of the job, but also the ways in which academics relate to themselves and others, and has significantly eroded the autonomy of individual academics. The article ends by considering a range of responses to attend to this loss of autonomy.
Moderating emotional dimensions of learning in a visual arts curriculum through critical citizenship educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 72 –90 (2014)More Less
This research explored the emotional dimensions of learning within the ambit of social transformation and critical citizenship in a visual arts programme at a South African higher education institution (HEI). Focussing longitudinally on student learning experiences, the study generated data through interviews with and reflective writing of arts students and their lecturers over three consecutive years. The results showed that the facilitation of social transformation through critical citizenship education in visual arts involves processes of moving beyond stagnating in emotional reactions towards rational reactions. The aim to rationalise caused both arts students and their lecturers to refrain from intellectualising emotions as emotion is a crucial part of being human. It appeared that remnants of conservatism, self-preservation and survival may have resulted in actions stemming from historical and societal preoccupations. The results also suggested that critical citizenship education appeals to both emotional and rational actions of arts students and that moving towards rationality in visual arts curricula may increasingly moderate or correct the emotional part of arts education.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 91 –109 (2014)More Less
The notion of developing graduate attributes or generic skills through higher education (HE), in order to enhance the employability of graduates, has become a focus of much attention in academic circles in the past decade. With the development of the key graduate skill of critical thinking in mind, the Book of the Year project was introduced in 2012 at the Law Faculty at a South African university. A questionnaire to ascertain the profile of the students was administered at the beginning of the project and a followup survey to provide empirical data relating to the achievement of the objectives of the project was administered at the end of the first semester. An analysis of the data suggested that the project be continued. The authors conclude this article on the project with some recommendations for future innovations related to such a project.
Changes in teaching professional skills, including ethics, within an engineering faculty's skills development unitSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 110 –127 (2014)More Less
This article explores the ability of Professional Communication Studies (PCS), a skills development unit, situated within the larger Faculty of Engineering, to respond to the requirements of an external standards' board and the challenges of institutional policy priorities as regards the teaching of ethics. Policy strategy at the University of Cape Town (UCT) (Conradie, Paxton and Skelly 2010) has emphasised 'graduateness' as encapsulating what students require in preparation for the challenges of professional life. Within this analysis comes an increasing focus on ethics as a key area of graduateness. The professional body responsible for setting and maintaining standards for the training and qualification of engineers, the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), has highlighted requirements prioritising ethics. Ethics has been situated within the curriculum for professional communication. The article concludes by summarising how changes in policy require creative engagement by the department in order to have positive and lasting impact.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 128 –148 (2014)More Less
Public higher education (HE) in South Africa is governed by the Higher Education Act (Act No. 101 of 1997) (DoE 1997a). This article refers to four different, but related, levels of governance that span the landscape of public HE: firstly, within the global context; secondly, in the context of the country with all of its government ministries; thirdly, the 'system' of education in the context of legislative governance within the public higher education sector in South Africa; and finally, the institutional governance arrangements required in terms of legislation or regulation, which will be reviewed with particular attention being given to information technology (IT) governance. Further, the notion of 'managerialism' will be discussed to provide some structure to the context in which governance is practised. IT governance, as a subset of institutional governance, within and across the public HE system is subsequently addressed. Finally, the current absence of IT governance oversight or reporting to the public HE authority and mechanisms to improve governance in the sector are discussed, which provides an indication of the value that can be created by the implementation of a best practice IT governance framework at institutional level. The layered approach to governance investigated in the article provides insight into the factors that influence the ability to govern subsystems, particularly the IT subsystem, in the public HE sector in South Africa. This approach can be adapted for use in most environments.
Author S. ManikSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 148 –163 (2014)More Less
Student departure1 from higher education (HE) has become a scourge undermining efforts to increase throughput at institutions in post-apartheid South Africa. It is largely viewed through a national/institutional 'rates' lens. When students have been participants in studies, their voices have been subdued methodologically. This article reports on the causes of student departure by foregrounding students' voices. It draws on qualitative data from a study at a KwaZulu-Natal higher education institution (HEI). The findings comprise institutional career derailment, lack of counselling, financial requirements, and academic work demands. Collectively they indicate student relative deprivations, signalling the need for greater institutional engagement with students in order to address their needs. The article argues for the institution to include and expand safety nets for students, especially increased, effective support personnel to overcome the culture of student silence when experiencing stresses.
Author E. MgqwashuSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 164 –179 (2014)More Less
This article draws from the construct of legitimate peripheral participation (Lave and Wenger 1991) and Gee's (1996) trope of d/Discourses, concepts which locate learning in the socio-cultural interactions and co-participation between students and the more experienced people in disciplinary knowledge, to explore the dominant representations of academic literacy and of students in an engineering faculty. These representations were examined through the eyes of 24 engineering students, 2 engineering academics and 11 language tutors teaching a Technical Communication for Engineers course. Emerging representations are highlighted and these point to disjunctures between engineering students' understanding of the role of academic literacy; language tutors' conceptions of their role in the development of academic literacy; and engineering academics' understanding of the epistemic relation between academic literacy and engineering practice. While these representations are not necessarily negative, some discourses that arise can potentially exclude social agents (both students and academics) from effectively participating in the teaching and/or acquisition of academic literacy.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 180 –196 (2014)More Less
The Botswana government discontinued school fees in the 1980s as an attempt to address the endemic poverty and gravely unequal distribution of wealth in the country. The country invested vast amounts in education in an attempt to achieve impressive gains in educational access at all levels. However, the dawn of the new millennium brought with it the re-introduction of school fees. This was termed cost recovery, but many authors across the world blame the move for eroding the gains achieved during the era of free education in a number of countries. This study seeks to investigate the changes that the exercise could have brought about in the areas of parental participation and schools' academic results. The researchers used a case study method for the qualitative research. Observations, documentary study and interviews were used to collect data. Both purposeful and random techniques were used to select respondents. The results of the study revealed that paying secondary school fees cannot be used to enhance parental participation and schools' academic results. However, it was proven that there is positive correlation between parental participation and the quality of school results.
University language policies in an era of internationalisation : an analysis of language of publishing shift at a South African universityAuthor M. MwanikiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 197 –220 (2014)More Less
The research reported on in this article sought to interrogate the impact of internationalisation on university language policies with a focus on how pressures of internationalisation influence the publication practices and choices of the language of publishing by researchers at the University of the Free State (UFS), Bloemfontein, South Africa. The research used the theoretical framework of linguistic culture and its dyad of overt versus covert language policies. The research analysed policy documents and research output data from 2000-2008. The results indicated that despite the university's articulated overt trilingual language policy, the pressures of internationalisation have led the university to adopt other policies which constitute a covert language policy, which is leading to a significant shift in the language of publication by UFS researchers. Analysis of the research output data indicated a mean annual shift of 1.34 per cent towards English as the preferred language of publication at the UFS. The results pointed to a near complete shift to English as the preferred language of publication by researchers in the university by 2018. This development indicates that in an era of internationalisation, university language policies are but a small component of the macro dynamic that determines language choice(s) within universities.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 221 –235 (2014)More Less
The Science and Indigenous Knowledge Systems Project (SIKSP), located at an African university, has since its inception in 2004 been training pre-service and practising teachers on how to implement an inclusive indigenous knowledge (IK) curriculum which calls on teachers to integrate IK with science in their classrooms. This article, based on interviews, presents some of the participants' reflections, voices, sentiments and feelings about the SIKSP. The findings showed that the project helped to raise the participants' awareness about IK, and its relevance to contemporary life. The findings foresaw some of the challenges involved in the implementation of the new science curriculum in terms of: the multiple representations of IK; the potential conflict that might arise at the intersection of science and IK; the complexity of a multicultural classroom; teachers' willingness and/or ability to adopt a new role in the classroom other than the status quo; and the paucity of instructional strategies compatible with the goals of the new science curriculum. Regardless of all these factors, participants felt emancipated to teach IK and they expressed the need for administrative support and follow-up workshops. They also suggested that in order to make a difference in the country the project should be expanded to other schools and provinces.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 236 –253 (2014)More Less
This article outlines different approaches to the development of pre-service student teachers' professional knowledge of and for practice. Key debates and positions are identified in the literature regarding aspects of the theory-practice relationship. These include: different theories of knowledge and skills transfer; assumptions about the type of expertise future teachers should possess and about 'what counts' as the knowledge underpinning the practice of teaching; and different positions on the relationship between pedagogical knowledge and subject knowledge. The article considers how these various conceptualisations and assumptions influence curriculum thinking, and how these are linked to contemporary debates and policy frameworks on teacher education in South Africa.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 254 –274 (2014)More Less
The New Funding Framework weights the components of teaching output and the components of research output for each unit of subsidy invested by the government. Higher education (HE) funding is thus based on the aggregate research outputs of universities and is driven by specific goals. Universities of Technology (UoTs) are therefore under pressure to increase their research performance and measurable outputs in particular. This has resulted in a corresponding demand for a range of services to support and develop postgraduate students, supervisors and early career researchers. As research in South African UoTs is at an embryonic stage, this study benchmarked South African UoTs against Australian ones. The aim of the study was to identify best practice in terms of postgraduate research development and support service delivery in the South Africa and Australian contexts to inform the development of a quality model for postgraduate and/or research centres (PG/RCs) at UoTs in South Africa. Using the mixed-methods research approach, the study gathered data from postgraduate students and staff who had experience with PG/RC services. Service quality of the PG/RCs in the study was determined by measuring the service gaps in terms of student perceptions and expectations so that steps may be taken to close these gaps in an attempt to improve service quality. Based on the literature reviewed, best practice gleaned from the findings of the study, and benchmarking against the Australian UoTs; the study proposed a centralised and decentralised PG/RC model for South Africa UoTs to provide service quality to their 'customers'.
Research on HE in South Africa : stocktaking and assessment from international comparative perspectivesAuthor C.C. WolhuterSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 275 –291 (2014)More Less
The aim of this article is to compare higher education (HE) research in South Africa with developments in the field of HE research internationally. This will be done by means of a content analysis of HE scholarly articles published locally compared with those published internationally during the decade from 2001 to 2010. While local HE scholarship now seems to be more aligned with international HE scholarship than was the case some two decades ago, there are indications that HE scholarship in South Africa allows itself be dictated to by the current societal status quo, and that critical scholarship is not as thriving as was the case two decades ago. In the light of this dangerous development, the article concludes with three suggestions for further research regarding the integration of local HE scholarship with international HE research.
The silence of counsellors and the attentive voice of listening
Shaping the story: A guide to facilitating narrative career counselling, Kobus Maree (Ed.) : book reviewAuthor N. DavidsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 292 –302 (2014)More Less
People story their lives as they live them, and as story-telling beings, people are always living and storying their lives in relation to others - at once drawing from, and contributing to ongoing constructions of new stories. The telling and re-telling of people's stories allow them a space in which they can make sense of who they are, and assign some meaning to their lives. Deciding what to do with their lives, and understanding how to reconcile who they are with what they either can do, or cannot do, is no longer a straightforward process directly linked to a specific job description. Maree's edited work, Shaping the story: A guide to facilitating narrative career counselling (2011), can therefore be appreciated as a valuable tool to navigate the work environments of clients in times of turbulence and transition. Picking up on the unstated value of people's capacity as story-telling beings, Maree provides readers with multiple and innovative ways of how the narrative, as a counselling methodology, provides clients with an opportunity to make decisions about career choices, while retaining a self. It is precisely through this retention of the self that, in addition to offering a review of Maree's book, the reviewer wishes to situate her own voice in this remarkable book by offering another perspective - that of the voice of the counsellor, both as a potential story and as a contribution to the narrative construction.
African traditions that enhance philosophical ideologies
African philosophy of education reconsidered: On being human, Yusef Waghid : book reviewAuthor J. ChabilallSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 303 –312 (2014)More Less
Waghid's book, African philosophy of education reconsidered: On being human (2014), makes a case for an African philosophy of education to develop in a rational, principled and stimulating context in order to ultimately to produce realistic solutions to African problems. The book addresses the paucity of conversations in respect of a particular African philosophy of education that integrates reasonableness, culture and emotion, including the empowerment of African women to address cultural and societal marginalisation, as part of an African philosophy of education. Firstly, the reviewer espouses the point that an African philosophy of education discourse is meant to move beyond a mere discussion of culture and tradition to being an innovative, scientific practice aimed at resolving dilemmas on the African continent. Waghid's book uses ubuntu as an instance of African philosophy of education to do pragmatist work in resolving educational and societal problems on the continent in relation to justice, including equality for all. Secondly, the reviewer is mindful of Waghid's assertion that an African philosophy of education necessitates rational debate in order to achieve a coherent understanding of the manner in which age-old traditional thoughts may be incorporated into an innovative African ethos. Ultimately, Waghid advocates that teaching and learning should provoke attitudes of openness and criticality, but he also takes care to encourage those who guide to be aware of student diversity as acknowledged by African philosophers.