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- Volume 29, Issue 5, 2015
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 29, Issue 5, 2015
Volumes & issues
Volume 29, Issue 5, 2015
Author Y. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 1 –7 (2015)More Less
Inasmuch as many attempts are being made in South Africa to increase the doctoral throughput rate, it appears as if the rush to produce doctoral (PhD) qualifications might just be the biggest risk that confronts the pursuit of doctoral studies. The author argues that, in the quest to accelerate the number of doctorates produced in the country, higher education institutions (HEIs), in particular administrators and - to a lesser extent - supervisors, run the risk of trivialising doctoral education: because of an over-emphasis on throughput rates alone, the purpose of the doctorate is assigned to a mere exercise of technical compliance and completion. In this article, the author offers a word of caution as to what the doctorate should not be subjected to if such a high-level achievement is to remain an aspiration of those serious about knowledge construction, reconstruction and deconstruction.
Author D. TeferraSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 8 –19 (2015)More Less
South Africa thus far stands as the undisputed leader of knowledge production in Africa. Whereas its system is considered comparatively 'world class' by African standards, considerable challenges beset the sector including graduate education. This article provides a critical analysis of the doctoral (PhD) programme in South Africa with implications for the country in particular and the continent as a whole. The article posits that the country is simultaneously a citadel of excellence - and mediocrity - in the African academic landscape.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 20 –28 (2015)More Less
In responding to a potential tension between the need to increase doctoral throughput while simultaneously not compromising quality (Waghid, in this issue), we identify very briefly some of the complex conditions at the institutional and system's level that cultivate doctoral capabilities. Through isolating certain elements in the doctoral process at the institutional level, we observe some tensions between traditional/collegial and - what is becoming - an increasing commodification of doctoral practices 'on the ground'. In foregrounding this tension, we wish to open up further avenues for thinking about doctoral processes, mindful of the cultivation of high-level technical and intellectual skills. This tension might be structured into the national system level, in light of the differentiation policy. We seek to open up a conversation that could pose an opportunity for thinking through the requisite high-level skills, and appropriate levels of research support, in order to harness innovation as we strive towards redressing historical legacies.
Exploring the conceptual relationship between teachers' procedural functional knowledge and pedagogical content knowledgeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 29 –47 (2015)More Less
This article reports on a study that was designed to formally explore the relationship between procedural functional knowledge (PrFK) and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of business studies teachers in the use of information communications technology (ICT) infrastructure as pedagogical tools. The authors were specifically interested in the effective delivery of office data processing (ODP) teaching in the digital classroom environment at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges in Gauteng province, South Africa. The demand for a highly skilled workforce to use ICT for innovation, creativity, improved performance and societal transformation is enormous and has led to it becoming known as e-skills. Based on the extended models of Mishra and Koheler's (2007) PrFPACK, a 65-item questionnaire using a 5-point scale was developed and used in this study, along with interviews and classroom observation. The study population was made up of 36 male and 41 female ODP teachers from eight FET colleges. The findings revealed that PrFK has the highest direct impact on PCK. The findings also revealed that teacher experience is an important construct that moderates the dynamic relationship between e-skills, PrFK and PCK.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 48 –69 (2015)More Less
This article contributes to the ongoing conversation, in the South African Journal of Higher Education (SAJHE) and other journals, about academic literacy development in higher education. It reports on a small-scale quantitative study on the effect of writing centre support on students' academic performance, in the disciplinary context of management studies. The study generated questions and areas for reflection about how to assess the ways in which writing centres can become more valuable programmatically, institutionally, theoretically and methodologically. Its uniqueness arises from the attempt to look at the development of academic literacy writing competences not during the transition from school to university, but at the exit point of an academic bachelor's degree programme. It raises questions, such as: Is there a value for academic discourse induction even at this exit stage, and what impact does it have on the development of writing competences? How does this impact become known?
Author A. BeckerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 70 –84 (2015)More Less
Twenty-one years after a free and democratic South Africa was constituted, it seems as if South Africans are still in limbo. In this article, the author explores the essence of freedom as conceptualised by Arendt (1958, 1966, 1900, 2006) and the (im)possibilities of teaching-learning freedom towards continual new beginnings. Freedom and new beginnings are actualised when humans speak and act in equal difference. The possibilities of teaching-learning freedom rely on the acknowledgement of both the burden and the power of freedom and in unexpected acts of compassion and forgiveness in the teacher:child relationship (Becker 2013, 26). Using a phenomenological approach, the author explores qualitative data from the research project Human rights literacy: A quest for meaning (Roux 2012) to explore the (im)possibilities of teaching-learning freedom.
Author C.W. CallaghanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 85 –105 (2015)More Less
This article reports on a study that tested the theory that predicts the potential influence of different manifestations of experience on higher education research productivity in the context of a large South African research university. The differential contribution of different forms of experience to research productivity was tested using correlation analysis, partial correlation analysis and hierarchical linear regression analysis. The results suggested that research productivity is relatively robust to forms of work experience other than that of being a researcher; that membership of professional associations is positively related to research productivity; and that years of formal education are not. It is concluded that research productivity may represent specific human capital; a form of tacit learning that may primarily be accessible only through a process of 'learning by doing'. Implications arising from these findings are considered.
Patterns of scholarship in scholarly journal publication in South Africa : the case of Perspectives in EducationAuthor M. CrossSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 106 –128 (2015)More Less
This article explores the role of the journal Perspectives in Education (PIE) in the production, legitimation and distribution of educational scholarship in South Africa. It is an exploratory analysis in two senses, theoretically and methodologically. Theoretically, it examines the field of scholarly publication as represented in current scholarly journals. Methodologically, it represents the first systematic attempt to develop and test an analytical framework for understanding patterns and trends in journal publication in South Africa. It deals broadly with three main analytical areas, namely: (i) the biography of the journal, its origins and evolution, with particular attention to the shifts in policy and governance; (ii) the authors, their origin, gender, race, institutional affiliation and academic credentials; and (iii) the objects of study and their disciplinary basis. The argument articulated posits two main claims. First, despite the restructuring of the editorial board and earlier capacity building efforts, the race and gender imbalances persist with an almost white monopoly over authorship. Second, PIE has found it difficult to break away from the insularity inherited from apartheid, a challenge that requires greater aggressiveness in attracting cutting edge international work.
Negotiating discourse : towards adopting a content-based instruction approach to academic literacy coursesAuthor L.M. DrennanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 129 –139 (2015)More Less
This article reports on a study that was conducted on the extent to which a particular academic literacy course addressed the literacy needs of students enrolled in a foundational developmental programme at the University of the Free State (UFS), Bloemfontein, South Africa. Various factors influencing student motivation for the course were identified. The findings suggested that students do not want to engage in course materials they consider irrelevant and uninteresting, which impacted on the value they assign to the course in general. Furthermore, the students also indicated that they are unsure of what is expected of them in terms of assessment in the course. In response to the findings of the study, a more content-based instruction (CBI) approach to the literacy courses was taken at the university. The article explores the extent to which a CBI approach could, in theory, address some of the issues pertaining to student motivation for academic literacy courses in a South African higher education context.
Towards a 21st century university : teachings from consumer behaviour applicable to higher educationAuthor R. Du PreezSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 140 –155 (2015)More Less
The South African higher education landscape has changed dramatically over the past 25 years. The purpose of this conceptual article is to challenge higher education institutions (HEIs) to learn/draw from a wider spectrum of knowledge domains in their quest toward a 21st century university. The author argues that the rich body of theoretical knowledge which is contained in the domain of consumer psychology can contribute generously to the understanding of the behaviour of a principle stakeholder, namely, the student. The four teachings include: first, develop and manage your corporate and brand image; second, determine the valence of decision-making criteria and market accordingly; third, research your consumer target market; and, finally, attend to consumer needs. Five challenges are presented to HEIs (specifically universities) in South Africa and recommendations for future research are made.
When signals are lost in aggregation : a comparison of language marks and competencies of first-year university studentsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 156 –178 (2015)More Less
Although English Home Language (HL) and English First Additional Language (FAL) marks from the National Senior Certificate (NSC) are used for university admission in South Africa, no studies have explored their predictive value. This article sheds light on English language marks and English language competence through a comparative analysis of NSC marks and National Benchmark Test (NBT) Academic Literacy (AL) test results for a cohort of first-year education students at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, South Africa. To provide in-depth insight, the analysis includes fine-grained analysis of specific academic language competencies. The results of the analysis of this study showed that the same mark in English HL and FAL does not necessarily reflect the same level of English language academic competence as measured by the NBT AL test. On average, students who wrote the FAL papers scored between .5 and .9 of a standard deviation below students who wrote the HL papers.
Academic development in the mainstream : a case study in an undergraduate engineering programme in South AfricaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 179 –200 (2015)More Less
A recent Council on Higher Education (CHE 2013a) report has highlighted the poor graduation throughputs in South African undergraduate programmes. Academic development constitutes the current university response to these challenges and to date much work has focused on the establishment of foundation programmes. The present case study - centred on the chemical engineering programme at the University of Cape Town (UCT, South Africa) - offers an analysis of the possibilities for academic development in the mainstream programme. Quantitative longitudinal analyses of cohort graduate throughput showed significant improvements over two decades, both in aggregate and in demographic breakdown. A survey of academic staff in the programme pointed to the significant impact of the establishment, in the early 1990s, of a post focusing on academic development. These findings also gave evidence of a departmental culture centred on critical debate and innovation in the undergraduate programme.
Author L. KajeeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 201 –213 (2015)More Less
This article is based on a qualitative case study of 35 education students at a historically Afrikaans-medium university in Johannesburg, South Africa. The participants in the study were all from disadvantaged educational backgrounds and speakers of English as an additional language (EAL). The author used postmodern theory in analysing students' shifts in language practices, as they negotiate and re-negotiate their identities as writers and as emerging teachers through their narrative writing. Notable too was the students' grappling between linguistic identity: English, Afrikaans and the mother tongue, as well as their subsequent constraints and silences.
The inextricable link between community engagement, community-based research and service learning : the case of an international collaborationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 214 –231 (2015)More Less
This article argues that international community-based research projects, embedded in university community engagement sites, offer a dynamic learning environment. It further argues that community-based learning, community engagement and service learning should be seen as allied pillars of tertiary education, using an international community-based research project, Building Global Bridges, to demonstrate the value of this perspective. Drawing on the experiences of this project, that brought together students and faculty from the United States (US) and South Africa, the article outlines multi-tiered learning benefits for community members, students from both countries, and for faculty members. It concludes by suggesting that international collaborations that centre on community-based research and service learning within a community engagement context offer a beneficial framework for co-producing knowledge for higher education institutes more broadly.
Leadership influence on institutional transformation in the post-merger and incorporation era : the case of the Durban University of TechnologySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 232 –243 (2015)More Less
This article reports on a study that investigated leadership features that have the potential to influence transformation in the post-merger and incorporation era of the Durban University of Technology (DUT). The post-merger era of higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa has been clouded by a multiplicity of challenges, including the university leaders' lack of interpersonal skills. This study took a quantitative approach through a structured survey questionnaire administered to 191 university leaders. The questionnaires generated a high Cronbach's alpha coefficient and a reliability coefficient of 0.947, which indicates a high degree of acceptance and consistency of the results. There was only a 10 per cent difference between the research participants who concurred with and those who disputed that university leaders were prepared to listen. Almost half (48%) of the participants perceived that university leaders are proactive from the top. The study will contribute to the extant body of knowledge as there is a dearth of published information on leadership features that could drive transformation in the post-merger and incorporation era. The study will further assist human resources practitioners and higher education subject specialists in designing relevant leadership development programmes focusing on leadership capabilities that could assist to achieve both the institutional and national transformation agenda.
Embedded observation of English for Specific Purposes students in South African instructional settingsAuthor L.J. NgoepeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 244 –262 (2015)More Less
Observation can afford the researcher an opportunity to observe events as they spontaneously occur. It could be used to observe students' and lecturers' behaviours in a variety of settings and to collect data on how they use language. This is also a means of assessing what students either have or have not learned. Thus, classroom observation is one of the mechanisms for achieving effective teaching and learning. This article describes real-time observation of ten English and Study Skills (ESS) English for Specific Purposes (ESP) lectures to underprepared science students. Embedded observation was one of the mechanisms employed to evaluate the ESS course. The students were taught a science ESP course integrated in a Bachelor of Science Extended Degree Programme (BSc EDP) curriculum at the University of Limpopo (UL), Turfloop Campus, Sovenga, South Africa. The researcher used an observation scheme to reveal strengths and weaknesses in the lectures, and by extension, the ESS content.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 263 –278 (2015)More Less
The expanding role of small businesses in the economy has generated a plethora of educational and research initiatives at higher education institutions (HEIs) both locally and internationally. Despite these initiatives, in South Africa the lowest rate of entrepreneurial intentions has been recorded when compared to other sub-Saharan African countries, where students are less likely to put effort into starting their own business but rather direct their efforts to finding employment. This article investigates levels of final year university students' entrepreneurial intentions and levels of perseverance. Perseverance influences a person's course of action and is considered one of the key motivating factors necessary for entrepreneurship, as it acts as an inner drive towards a given goal. Following a survey, statistical analysis revealed relatively low levels of intentions and perseverance, with no links detected between the two constructs. The implications of these findings suggest that students do not hold positive perceptions of personal feasibility and desirability as far as entrepreneurship is concerned, which has a negative impact on the size of the country's pool of intentional entrepreneurs.
Author M. WalkerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 279 –296 (2015)More Less
This article outlines the case for a capabilities-friendly approach in higher education practice, policy and evaluation. According to this normative approach to human well-being and agency, higher education ought to enable the full range of opportunities and achievements for all students, and for diverse students, while also contributing to commitments to the good of others. As such, it is an inclusive, social justice approach, concerned with promoting equity in higher education and reducing inequalities in society through the actions of graduates. By drawing on a theoretical approach in the development ethics field rather than only from the higher education literature, the article further seeks to align development with higher education in ways which might benefit both fields. To illustrate the argument for capabilities, the article details the lives of two students and then uses the examples to sketch different approaches to information on and the evaluation of well-being, with the capability approach argued for as the most robust. The article then details the further need for the educational formation of agents who will make ethical contributions to reducing inequalities and poverty in society. Three worthwhile higher education capabilities are advanced, namely: affiliation, critical capacities and ethical citizenship. Finally, some of the gaps in the capability approach are noted.