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- Volume 28, Issue 5, 2014
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 28, Issue 5, 2014
Volumes & issues
Volume 28, Issue 5, 2014
Author M.A. SamuelSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1469 –1484 (2014)More Less
This article explores four doctoral education studies conducted in the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and France, and by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which were presented at the 2012 European Alliance on Research Career Development workshop. These studies were directed towards research funding agencies elaborating new theoretical and methodological insights in this emerging field of doctoral career path studies. What questions did these studies choose to foreground? The studies revealed a general silence about matters of power, hierarchy and marginalisation of doctoral education instead highlighting more pragmatic operational and institutional considerations. The article generates a set of expanding questions to ask about how the agendas of doctoral career path studies are being constructed and in whose interests they are designed and supported. The article also offers alternate conceptions of the notion of development, freedoms and significance when evaluating such research agendas, especially for developing world contexts.
Beyond the indigenous/non-indigenous knowledge divide : the case of Muslim education and its attenuation to cosmopolitanismSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1485 –1496 (2014)More Less
Muslim education can be understood to be constituted and framed by three discernable, yet interrelated epistemological and ethical practices, namely, tarbiyyah (socialisation), ta'l?m (critical engagement), and ta'd?b (social activism). Its distinctiveness as an indigenous knowledge system is shaped by its role and function in both the educational and daily expressions of Muslim life. What this means is that Muslim education, as enacted through tarbiyyah, ta'l?m, and ta'd?b, not only fulfils the role of offering Muslims foundational understandings of their faith, but it also advances the social practices necessary for Muslims to be adherents of Islam, and what that ought to mean in relation to their social and humane contexts and responsibilities. Now, if Muslims, by virtue of the epistemological and ethical practices of Muslim education, are expected to understand Islam not only in terms of their own faith and practices, but in terms of how they enact those practices in relation to all others, then what defines a Muslim community, and by extension, an indigenous Muslim knowledge system? In commencing with an exploration of the concept of knowledge in Muslim education, the authors question whether the notion of an indigenous knowledge system is indeed a plausible one. Secondly, in turning to cosmopolitanism, they consider whether the classification of knowledge into indigenous and non-indigenous systems might serve to undermine humane enactments of social and moral responsibilities, rather than to enhance them.
From evaluation to reflection-on-action : lessons learnt from the impact of a distance education programmeAuthor R. AlukoSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1497 –1512 (2014)More Less
Reflection-on-action is necessary to derive meaning from one's experiences. This article revisits research data from an elongated study on the impact of a distance education programme on the professional practice of graduates. The study focused on 300 graduates and 128 principals, selected through multi-stage and purposive sampling. The researcher used a mixed-methods research design with specific focus on Kirkpatrick's (1996) and Baldwin and Ford's (1988) training evaluation models. The researcher's curiosity was triggered by the need to understand possible reasons for the participants' views, as these are contrary to the norm. This account indicates a clear institutional policy on quality assurance, practices guided by the policy, an ongoing monitoring of the distance education students' profiles, improved programme design, student support structures, programme design and research focused on programmes as possible reasons. The author argues that higher education practitioners, irrespective of delivery mode, could benefit from the valuable lessons learnt from the exercise.
Author N. DavidsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1513 –1524 (2014)More Less
The absence of violence and widespread unrest has strengthened the argument that the transition to democracy in post-apartheid South Africa was a relatively peaceful one. However, one has to question whether the current unacceptably high levels of protest action - often resulting in loss of lives - might be symptomatic of a transition that has not quite lived up to its promises of democracy, equality, equity and dignity. This article commences with an overview of the various educational attempts made to instil democratic citizenship. In showing that these attempts have only partially been fulfilled, the article draws attention to a few of the challenges besetting a post-apartheid citizenship. In considering how these challenges could be countered, the article continues with an exploration of two forms of gratitude, namely, a debt account and a recognition account. The article concludes by arguing that in the interests of a just democracy, and vibrant democratic citizens, gratitude between the state and its citizens has to be balanced between mutual accounts of debt and recognition. Further, the optimal space for this type of balance to be enacted and cultivated is within and across educational spaces.
Conceptualising the setting up of a professional learning community for teachers' pedagogical learningSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1525 –1540 (2014)More Less
This article focuses on the conceptual bases that have informed the establishment and functioning of a professional learning community (PLC) that involves a university lecturer and a tutor and a number of practising teachers. The article is a discussion of the intellectual approaches on which the PLC has been founded. The starting assumption is that teachers' pedagogical learning requires a supportive and deliberative set of conversations about the intellectual terms and pedagogical capacitation needed for such change. The authors argue that PLCs are able to provide the reflexive dialogical space, based on action research approaches, for engaging in pedagogical learning. Their ongoing PLC is not primarily interested in results-orientated teaching outcomes, but favours an experimental, messy and recursive conversation that focuses on improving teachers' classroom teaching. The article considers the terms upon which a social justice oriented approach to pedagogical learning and adaptation might be pursued in a PLC. Inspired by the lenses of the theorist, Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002), they offer a view of PLCs as a 'habitus engagement', to describe the ways in which their dialogical processing in the PLC might engender pedagogies that induct students into subject knowledge by working with students' lifeworld contexts and knowledges. They develop an argument for the use of a Funds of Knowledge approach as a way of engaging students meaningfully in their learning. The PLC is conceptualised as a safe dialogical space where the participating teachers are able to develop the conceptual capacity and intellectual skills to develop such a social justice approach to their classroom pedagogy.
Perceptions and practices of curriculum development at universities of technology (previously known as technikons) : DUT case studyAuthor D.E. MkhizeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1541 –1553 (2014)More Less
This study was undertaken in an attempt to arrive at an appropriate perspective on how both academic staff and students at universities perceive curriculum development. It is of vital significance that students and academic staff have a common understanding of what should be contained in the curriculum since the two parties (academic staff and students) are co-partners in education. Amongst others, the study aimed to investigate ways of developing and aligning the existing curriculum to global needs.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1554 –1574 (2014)More Less
Ranking institutions on a league table style is used either explicitly or implicitly by agencies to determine the excellence, performance and reputation of higher education institutions (HEIs). However, there is a growing concern that this tool tends to encourage the drift of missions, foci, purposes and specialisations of knowledge and skills produced by different HEIs globally. This article takes issue with the widely accepted practice of ranking institutions on a league table style. Drawing examples from South Africa, the article begins by describing the inherent drawbacks of league table approaches and proposes alternative forms of determining the performance of HEIs. This is followed by a discussion on South Africa, highlighting the challenges of league table styles to rank HEIs in systems where institutions are differentiated in terms of their purpose and mission, and how these might subtly encourage mission drift. The third section is devoted to the discussion and conclusion.
Resource scarcity and information technology : issues and trends among first-year accounting studentsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1575 –1592 (2014)More Less
Technology is never enough; there will always be the demand for more to manage the present and to gear up for the future. Consequently, engaging in a deliberate search for knowledge is critical to higher education. Higher education institutions (HEIs) encourage the study of the learning environment and ensure that the appropriate management strategies are in place to educate students. In a changing academic environment, computer facilities at HEIs are one of the key drivers. The main aim of this article was to investigate the use of computer facilities among first-year accounting students at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). The data was collected over a period of three years (2010, 2011 and 2012). The results of the study revealed the demographics of Accounting I students and their academic performance, use of computer facilities, knowledge of different software packages and other valuable information regarding computer facilities. The study concluded that the use of and exposure to computer facilities influence the academic performance of first-year accounting students.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1593 –1606 (2014)More Less
On the one hand, the popularity of education law for postgraduate studies is calling for a reflection on a sound research approach that would complement both the boundaries of the law as substantive discipline and how people experience or view the law. On the other hand, such research requires knowledge of both the law and education. Two types of hands-on experiences have encouraged this article in an attempt to address the general lack of precise research methodologies and theoretical frameworks in order to advance student research in education law. Having (1) provided a fundamental background to law; (2) considered the aim of research and what it entails within law; (3) looked at legal versus other research; and (4) presented a brief historical perspective on South African legal research, an integrative multidisciplinary research approach is proposed in order to side-step being bogged down by conventional approaches that do not necessarily promote successful research outcomes. School level catch-22s need solid education law research!
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1607 –1624 (2014)More Less
Although classified as a developing country, South Africa lags far behind other BRICS member countries (ie, Brazil, Russia, India and China). A cause for concern is that the number of doctoral or PhD studies rather than what they contribute is often used to measure their quality. This article argues that a quality PhD study must engage with the global knowledge society. A critical meta-study was conducted to ascertain whether the PhD studies conducted between 2005 and 2012 in South Africa did so. The chief process was the interrogation of the research question in each PhD study, and its links with the topic, the focus and the repositioning of the contribution declared by the study. An analysis of 240 qualitative PhD studies in the education field revealed that PhD studies with strong internal links tend to have a coherent conceptual build-up and contribute to the global knowledge society. In the conclusion, guidelines for PhD education are presented.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1625 –1642 (2014)More Less
This article reports on a study that investigated the impact of lecture attendance on the academic performance of first-year accounting students at a South African university. The objectives of this study were, firstly, to ascertain whether lecture attendance influences students' performance (measured in terms of their assessment scores) and, secondly, whether 'better' students (measured in terms of symbols obtained in English, Mathematics and Accounting in the South African National Senior Certificate (NSC)) believe that lecture attendance is important in order to attain better results. The research study used a mixed method design, which was both quantitative and experimental. The findings indicated three scenarios, which are reflected in the article as the good, the bad and the ugly, in terms of lecture attendance levels and academic performance. The value of the study resides in the insights gained about the salience of various lecture attendance trends in first-year accounting students.
Cultural policy and arts management curriculum in South Africa's education system : lessons for good governanceSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1643 –1662 (2014)More Less
Cultural policy and arts management studies as a field of public inquiry is relatively old and has generated much literature worldwide. It has gained strong currency as an educational and research concept for the humanities and social sciences. To date, research journals and academic courses in the field have proliferated especially at tertiary education level for the benefit of scholars, government officials, arts managers, policy makers, and so forth. South Africa is lagging behind in this regard in that many of the country's higher education institutions (HEIs) do not offer training in cultural policy and arts management. This is symptomatic of poor crafting and positioning of arts education within the broader education system in South Africa. This article discusses the importance of broadening the scope of arts education in South Africa to include cultural policy and arts management studies, as well as related subjects, and placing them at the centre of academic inquiry, from school to tertiary education level, so as to bring about or create conditions of good cultural governance across the broad institutional spectrum.
Author G.M. Van ZylSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1663 –1679 (2014)More Less
To the newly liberated citizens of South Africa, a higher education (HE) qualification in 1994 represented both a means to a prosperous end, and a hope-filled end in itself. Whichever party has managed to achieve political victory two decades later, the current South African HE situation remains one that requires critical thought and accurately applied resources from both the victors and others, because in failed HE there can be no victors. HE fails when an abnormally high number of students either fail or withdraw from their studies prematurely and involuntarily. This article aims to redefine the HE mainstream by presenting a window into the hope-taken, hope-lost, hope-deprived realities of a particular HE student body; their nervous condition. The majority of students enrolled at transforming higher education institutions (HEIs) hail from despairing socio-economic contexts. Desperation defines the neo-mainstream. Universities embarking on a hope-generating road terminate that same hope should they remain either ill-informed about, or non-sympathetic towards real-life situations of neo-mainstream students.
Author M. WaitSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1680 –1693 (2014)More Less
The problem with work integrated learning (WIL) is that its benefits are undoubted, but difficult to substantiate. The informal and anecdotal evidence in favour of WIL is overwhelming, but the hurdles in the way of proper research are equally formidable (Sietsma 2004, 14). This article is an example of a working WIL project offered to students enrolled for the National Diploma: Marketing at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). This project is unique and has also won several awards. The project is a practical sales assignment attached to the theoretical subjects Personal Selling in the first year of study and Sales Management in the second year of study. Students are taught the academic textbook knowledge in class and are then expected to apply this knowledge in a real-life environment, by reaching a set sales target. UJ has partnered with the Direct Selling Association (DSA) in South Africa which controls this project from an industry perspective. The methodology followed was deductive content analysis of interviews with students who had passed the course. The results reflected a resoundingly successful project.