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- Volume 28, Issue 4, 2014
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 28, Issue 4, 2014
Volumes & issues
Volume 28, Issue 4, 2014
Author Y. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1133 –1139 (2014)More Less
This article revisits the art of peer reviewing and argues that the process should remain a rigorous scholarly activity. Instead of making claims about what peer reviewers of journal articles should be doing, the author wishes to offer some account of what they should not be doing in order for scholarship to remain intact and knowledge production or educational research to retain authentic levels of erudition and conceptual rigour. By reflecting on his role as editor of South African Journal of Higher Education (SAJHE) for almost a decade, the author draws on reviews by peers in an attempt to advance the argument for rigorous peer reviews that do not dismiss authors' work as unworthy of consideration. Rather, he argues that rigorous peer reviews avoid humiliating others' work and consider submitted journal articles as intellectual thought pieces that deserve serious consideration and that remain in becoming. Finally, he makes a case for rigorous peer review in South African higher education as being as important as the article submissions themselves, to the extent that peer reviewers, certainly in higher education, cannot turn a blind eye to the transformative agenda of social justice education. Failing to do so would ignore the richness associated with responsible scholarship.
Professional bodies and quality assurance of higher education programmes in South Africa : towards an appropriate frameworkSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1140 –1155 (2014)More Less
Collaboration between universities and professional bodies is neither new nor unique to South Africa. It occurs in many higher education systems and revolves around the role that professional bodies play in the quality assurance and accreditation of the relevant higher education programmes. In South Africa, this relationship has become increasingly problematic over the recent past due to a number of factors. This article begins by exploring those factors before highlighting the legal framework governing the role of professional bodies in higher education programmes. A critique of the said role is then undertaken against the backdrop of views and opinions from academics involved in professional programmes at some South African universities, including the thorny issue of who should meet the costs of accreditation. The article concludes with suggestions on the principles that should underpin a revised framework, under the custodianship of the Council for Higher Education (CHE), to govern the relationship between universities and professional bodies.
Author S. BansilalSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1156 –1172 (2014)More Less
The introduction in South Africa of the subject Mathematical Literacy (ML) was an innovative response to the low levels of numeracy amongst adults. No other country has developed a subject with such an exclusive focus and this raises challenges for ML teacher educators to design a suitable curriculum to train ML teachers. In this article, the author first proposes a contextual attributes model of ML. Contextual attributes, such as contextual signifiers, language, rules and visual mediators, are identified and it is argued that ML learners require opportunities that facilitate engagement with these attributes in order to participate in the domains and make informed decisions. The author then explores some implications of this model for the conceptualisation of ML knowledge for teaching.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1173 –1193 (2014)More Less
Integrating HIV and AIDS into the academic curriculum remains a challenge which, for various reasons, is not fully taken up by academics at universities. Although much is being done in the health arena, and education is often put forward as the 'antidote' for the epidemic, only a few academics have introduced HIV and AIDS into their curricula. In this article, the authors explore why some academics have integrated HIV and AIDS into their curricula; what the catalyst was for doing so; and how these academics see this integration. This qualitative study within an interpretivist framework consisted of a collective case study design, using individual interviews as well as drawings to elicit responses from the purposively selected academics. Themes that emerged were: 'It's here, it's not somewhere out there'; 'People matter'; 'Buying into the idea'; and 'It's a directive'. The findings led us to conclude, using a theory of social proximity as a lens, that the vigour of integrating HIV and AIDS is linked to how 'close to the bone' the pandemic is experienced, not only personally but also at community level. This clearly has implications for working with academics to integrate HIV and AIDS into their curricula.
Peer tutoring during language code-switching lectures as a teaching strategy in multilingual classesAuthor S. Du PlessisSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1194 –1215 (2014)More Less
Educators in higher education in South Africa often find that some black first-year students either do not fully comprehend concepts explained in English or lack the fluency to express themselves clearly in academic tasks. The project investigated the benefits of code-switching to the students' first languages by peer tutors. A descriptive design within a quantitative framework was selected and a questionnaire was designed as survey instrument. After each set of lectures students were divided into first language groups and a peer tutor summarised the lectures in the group's first languages, followed by group discussions. After the module the students completed the questionnaire. The findings indicate that the students were in general positive about peer tutoring and that code-switching provided clarity; allowed participation; provided peer support; and imparted a feeling of being valued. It is concluded that the students' first languages can be regarded as a resource to draw on in an English environment.
Research capacity development in a South African higher education institution through a north-south collaborationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1216 –1229 (2014)More Less
One of the constraints that prevent higher education institutions (HEIs) in developing countries from engaging in effective and essential research is a lack of research capacity. This study reports on a north-south collaboration between a group of Flemish universities and an HEI in South Africa with the specific goal of improving productivity, quality and capacity amongst researchers. A collaborative project with multiple subprojects was established in 2003, and extended over two consecutive five-year phases. Document analysis was conducted of annual reports, monitoring and evaluation reports, curriculum vitae of participating members, and progress reports of students and supervisors during this time. The findings of the study illustrate the extent to which research capacity objectives can be achieved through a north-south partnership. Members of the collaboration were able to develop intra- and inter-disciplinary partnerships that resulted in maximising the capacity- building efforts, enhancing both individual and institutional research capacity.
French-speaking students' academic experiences at a private provider of higher education offering foundation programmesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1230 –1248 (2014)More Less
The academic experiences of French-speaking immigrant students involve a negotiation of the French language with the language of learning and teaching (LoLT). Utilising Legitimate Peripheral Participation (LPP), case study, observation, document analysis and a narrative inquiry, this research set out to explore the academic experiences of French-speaking students at a private provider of higher education offering foundation programmes as a route to mainstream degree programmes. It was found that sociocultural factors played vital roles in the survival of French-speaking students at the academic institution. South African students spoke Sotho and Zulu both within and outside of the lecture rooms, a scenario which undermined the capacity of French-speaking students to adapt academically and socio-culturally to the academic institution. Unfriendliness on the part of South African students and introversion (an inherent character trait) along with the incongruous posture of the French-speaking students in terms of their incessant use of the French language challenged their academic survival.
Author B. JohnsonSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1249 –1268 (2014)More Less
Teacher training programmes that improve teachers' capacity and confidence to address homophobia in South African schools will engender non-homophobic school contexts. Currently, there is a dearth of educational research on future teachers' preparation for homophobic school contexts. By drawing on group interviews with student-teachers; semi-structured interviews with lecturers and course coordinators; and analysing course outlines of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual (LGBTI) offerings at three South African universities, this article shows that such programmes exist, albeit in a limited form. While they enable greater awareness, they do not translate into future teachers being enabled to apply their learning in classrooms, school contexts and their personal lives. It is recommended that more systematic efforts to capacitate teachers for their role in engendering non-homophobic behaviour in schools is needed in teacher training programmes at South African universities.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1269 –1282 (2014)More Less
Higher education educators are experiencing challenges and increasing pressure to ensure that graduates are employable. Some speculate that the lack of the right employment skills could contribute even more to the increase in unemployment, than does the global recession. There is a belief that a relationship exists between secondary education, tertiary education and industry, as role-players in providing the necessary skills-training for employment. This relationship seems to be linear, and when an imbalance in any of these environments occurs, it could potentially have an effect on the overall economic well-being of the specific country. This article explores the challenges experienced by higher education educators with regard to student employability. The theory of second best (Lipsey and Lancaster 1956) is introduced, as a possible solution to address the educational challenges. Intervention strategies are proposed, specifically from a marketing educator's perspective.
Author L. Le GrangeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1283 –1294 (2014)More Less
Even though the term 'curriculum' has its origin in higher education it is a neglected term in discourses on higher education. In the field of Curriculum Studies it is the school rather than the university curriculum that is mainly studied. This may be due to the relative autonomy that higher education institutions (HEIs) enjoy and the academic freedom granted its members. The downside of institutional autonomy and academic freedom in the South African context is that the Africanisation/decolonisation of curricula has been left unaddressed by some universities. Twenty years into South Africa's democracy it is an opportune time to again ask the key curriculum question: What knowledge is of most worth? What knowledge is of most worth to South African university students located on the African continent and who form part of a global society? In this article, the author shall discuss the Africanisation of the university curriculum by drawing on insights from: the sociology of knowledge; indigenous knowledge; a different reading of the knowledge economy (different to the neoliberal reading). The author shall argue that Africanisation of the university curriculum is dependent on understanding the active force of the etymological root of the term currere.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1295 –1314 (2014)More Less
This article reflects on an investigation conducted at the College of Education at the University of South Africa (Unisa). The article looks into the examination reports on dissertations of a number of master's students, with the aim of improving supervision of dissertations. The question underpinning the research was as follows: According to the examination reports: 'What are the scholarly expectations that external examiners have of a dissertation?' The examination reports were analysed in a qualitative interpretive research inquiry using the themes provided by Unisa, namely: exposition of the topic of research, theory, empirical investigation, conclusion and recommendations, and language and editing. The findings were used to develop guidelines for supervisors and students, and the latter may use them when writing a master's dissertation, as the findings may contribute to a passable dissertation.
Author T. Morton McKaySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1315 –1331 (2014)More Less
This article describes a teaching intervention, which was informed by a community of practice approach, undertaken to manage a plagiarism problem at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), South Africa. In particular, many final year students were submitting assignments which were, to a large extent, plagiarised. As this problem posed a threat to the integrity of the academic programme, an intervention was necessary. To that end, a prevention-and-development approach was adopted. The intervention took the form of an action research project using critical reflection as a methodology. The intervention, especially phase two, was successful, although incidents of plagiarism were not completely eliminated. The teaching intervention proved to be both time and labour intensive. Formal training for students on what plagiarism is; how to correctly cite and reference; and how to write in an academically appropriate manner, was found to be necessary if plagiarism in higher education is to be dealt with within a developmental framework. It was further found that a prevention-and-development approach cannot be effective without a detection-and-enforcement system being in place.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1332 –1343 (2014)More Less
Universities in South Africa, experience challenges related to throughput rates, especially in the first year of study. Student dropout in the School of Health Sciences (SHS) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) negatively affects the enrolment targets with the concomitant loss of student subsidy and fees. It also reduces the number of prospective healthcare professionals who are required to address the shortage of skilled healthcare workers in the country. Thus, this emphasises the need to determine secondary school factors that relate to success and throughput in the first year of study, namely: area and type of schooling; matriculation point scores (also referred to as admission point scores [APS}); and matriculation subject choices. A retrospective design with a quantitative approach was used to collect data from a total of 713 student records over the period 2009-2011. The quantitative data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics while Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (rho) and the Mann-Whitney U test were used to determine differences between variables related to academic success. A p-value of ≤ 0.05 was considered statistically significant. The data was analysed and presented as annual composite results as well as stratified by disciplines. Overall the area of secondary schooling did not correlate statistically significantly with academic success. In contrast, the type of secondary schooling (p = .012), matriculation points (p = .000) and all matriculation subjects investigated (p < .005) were statistically significant variables that correlated with academic success. At discipline-level, Physiotherapy was shown to have the most consistent correlations among variables, with a moderate correlation with matriculation subjects as well as the APS. The results of this study yielded evidence-based admissions criteria for students into the SHS at UKZN.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1344 –1357 (2014)More Less
The Faculty of Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has a rich diversity of first year students who present themselves as under-prepared for tertiary study. This is because many students have not yet developed the abstract reasoning skills that allow them to learn new ideas simply by either reading a text or listening to a lecture. Supplemental instruction (SI) was thus introduced as an academic support programme for the first year students. The focus of this article is to theorise the engineering students' engagement within the SI learning space. This is done using the concepts of relate, create and reflect adapted from theories of engagement. The findings suggest that social learning spaces encourage explanations, conceptual understanding and reflective thinking. In theorising engineering students' engagement within the SI learning space, it is argued that the notion of engagement created representations of physical, cognitive and safe cultural spaces for learning chemistry.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1358 –1375 (2014)More Less
In the extant research, students' feedback has mostly involved either face-to-face or online questionnaires administered by agencies outside actual classroom experiences. Increasingly, students' feedback is forming part of scholarly focus on teaching and is organised as part of improving students' learning. This marks a shift from using students' feedback as a satisfaction measuring tool similar to customer satisfaction surveys or as mechanisms to measure teachers' performance (a quality-oriented perspective). In scholarly teaching, students' feedback forms part of a larger inquiry into the teacher's practices. It involves students' reaction to teaching and teacher's reaction to students' feedback guided by societal trends and the need to improve students' learning. We report, in this article, on an exploratory study that focused on guided self-study inquiry into one teacher's practices guided by changing workplace dynamics. Through focus group interviews, final-year Labour Relations students' experiences of teaching were elicited and factored into the developing scholarly teaching mechanism aimed at improving learning.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1376 –1397 (2014)More Less
This article argues that women on the African continent experience moments of internal exclusion at higher education institutions (HEIs). Although women are statistically represented - attaining external inclusion in minimal ways - they remain subjected to internal exclusion on the grounds that their contributions are evidently unsubstantive. Through a conceptual analysis of women's experiences of African higher education (HE), the article reveals that internal exclusion can be attributed to a gendered view of equality, mostly generated in people's social, political and cultural practices. The authors contend that an equalisation of voice rather than gender may possibly disrupt the status quo and undermine the debilitating conditions that perpetuate women's internal exclusion on the continent. By examining the implications of a reconstituted ethics of care for university education, the article offers some ways in which exclusionary practices can be remedied. The article contends that, if African HE (university education) were to halt the dilemma of internal exclusion and move towards engendering a reconstituted ethics of care, then it stands an authentic chance of cultivating compassionate, imaginative and responsible citizens who can reason, not only for themselves, but for humanity as well.
Author B.V. SkosanaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1398 –1413 (2014)More Less
The relevance of entrepreneurship is underscored in the public policy domain where a wide range of government policies support the development of entrepreneurship, with Further Education and Training (FET) colleges seen as critical role-players. Research has shown that entrepreneurship education increases students' self-confidence and overall attitudes, which in turn increases their perceptions of feasibility and desirability of pursuing entrepreneurship as a career. Recognising that the challenge for FET colleges is to ensure that graduates are also equipped for self-employment, this study investigated the entrepreneurial intentions (EIs) of final year FET college students in four provinces. Statistical analysis revealed high levels of EIs amongst differing groups irrespective of personal (gender) or contextual attributes (in urban vs. rural vs. metro-township FET colleges). Implications can be advanced to the policy domain where it needs to be stressed that government initiatives will affect entrepreneurship development only if these policies are perceived in a way that influences individuals' EIs, in particular their conviction, as characterised by general attitudes towards entrepreneurship.
Postgraduate students' attitudes towards research, their research self-efficacy and their knowledge of researchAuthor S. Van der WesthuizenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1414 –1432 (2014)More Less
The purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which an online module influenced honours students' attitudes towards research, their research self-efficacy and their knowledge of research. An availability sample (N = 279) of postgraduate students enrolled for an online course in research methodology (n = 97 for semester 1 in 2012 and n = 182 for semester 2 in 2012) at a distance education institution in South Africa was used. The attitude towards research scale, self-developed research self-efficacy and knowledge test were administered in a single group pre-post test design. Dependent t-tests revealed that in general, students' positive attitudes towards research, their research self-efficacy and their knowledge of research increased from the onset to the completion of the module. However, students' perceptions of the usefulness of research for their careers declined and their research anxiety and self-efficacy with regard to data analysis remained unchanged on completion of the module. These findings indicate that addressing students' perceptions of the usefulness of research for their careers and their research anxiety may be more complex than anticipated and that it could be a process that is independent of addressing students' research self-efficacy and their knowledge of research.
'Joining the academic life' : South African students who succeed at university despite not meeting standard entry requirementsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1433 –1447 (2014)More Less
At present the Swedish points system is one of the main determinants of an applicant either being granted or refused entry into many South African higher education institutions (HEIs). Using a grounded theory approach, this article interprets the experiences of participants whose school performance and therefore university 'entry points' were lower than the expected norm. Despite not meeting standard university entry requirements, these students succeeded at university, completing their degrees in the minimum time available and going on to higher degrees. The journey of these participants - from low entry points to academic success - suggests that points based on school performance are not necessarily the best way of identifying students' potential to succeed in the contemporary South African educational context. If their entry points were not a good indication of their ability to thrive at university, the article asks, what is it about these participants that accounts for their success? And what implications does this have for South African practice, not only with regard to admissions policies but also in relation to the responsibilities of HEIs to students once they are admitted?
(Higher) Education for social justice through sustainable development, economic development and equityAuthor Z. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1448 –1463 (2014)More Less
In this article, the author argues that (higher) education for social justice is an encounter, as it invokes both the capacities and cultural stock of individuals and groups. Considering that social justice is inextricably connected to need, desert and equality, it seems plausible to claim that (higher) education for social justice ought to be responsive to the aforementioned demands. The author shows how (higher) education for social justice seems to manifest in instances, such as sustainable development (SD), economic development and equity (not at the expense of equality, but rather as a shift in focus from striving towards equity in an equal manner). And, drawing on the seminal works of Bell, Hooks and Hackman, cultivating equal participation (through deliberation, self-reflexivity and openness), contesting dominance and privilege, and developing a critical understanding and awareness to enact social change respectively seem to be the ingredients for engendering an education for social justice in and beyond the university classroom.