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- Volume 30, Issue 2, 2016
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 30, Issue 2, 2016
Volumes & issues
Volume 30, Issue 2, 2016
Author L. Le GrangeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 1 –12 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-709More Less
The student protests of 2015 precipitated a renewed interest in the decolonisation of the university in South Africa, and by association the decolonisation of the university curriculum. The decolonisation of the curriculum is an important conversation, and long overdue, given that the Western model of academic organisation on which the South African university is based, remains largely unchallenged. In this article I add to the conversation by discussing what decolonisation entails, why the need for decolonisation, the importance of rethinking how curriculum is conceived, and outlining some possible ways of decolonising the university curriculum. The purpose is not to provide a set of answers but to open up ways of (re)thinking the university curriculum.
A realist assessment of the implementation of blended learning in a South African higher education contextSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 13 –30 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-577More Less
Opportunities for further studies by working adults came under threat as the University of the Western Cape stopped the offering of after-hours classes in most of its Faculties. Unqualified and under-qualified librarians were directly affected by this decision. This article outlines an assessment of the conceptualisation and implementation of an action research project initiated by the Division for Lifelong learning. Using a realist evaluation approach, the assessment focuses on the implementation of strategies aimed at showing how lifelong learning opportunities, conceptualised and provided in flexible ways, could support innovation in learning and teaching in order to enhance access and success to learning by working people in the context of the Library and Information Science Department.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 31 –52 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-608More Less
The concept of 'scarce skills' features prominently in South Africa's national development discourse. Over the past decade, the 'scarce skills' concept has been used to frame debate about the relationship between post-school education and training and the economy. In this article, we compare education policy documents articulating 'scarce skills' perspectives with plans from four occupational sectors and general labour market data and analysis. In our analysis, we identify ideological, theoretical, conceptual and methodological limitations to the 'scarce skills' discourse. Each limitation contributes to a reduced and myopic understanding of the complex and dynamic relationship between post-school education and the economy. We conclude by sharing three arguments which post-school institutions could draw on to respond to the skills discourse.
Author R. DlaminiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 53 –72 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-567More Less
The unprecedented changes in the university, to homogenizing the principle of identity in association with the dominant class (world-class universities) supports a very limited conception of higher education. The mantras of global rankings have permeated South Africa's institutions of higher education, yet the rankings' constructs are subjective, and inadequate in nature. This article uses aspects of Jurgen Habermas's 'Critical Theory of Societal Development' as its lens to account for the implications of South African universities joining the 'super-league' universities. The efforts being made to achieve a kind of iconic status are contradictory to making education a bridge to achieve equality.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 73 –93 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-582More Less
Little is known about the drinking behaviour of South African university students and education and prevention campaigns are not necessarily based on scientific research results. To change drinking behaviour, it is important to address the drinking motives, alcohol outcome expectancies, and alcohol-related behaviour that hold valence in education and prevention campaigns. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the drinking behaviour of South African university students, and to make recommendations towards the development of persuasive communications that will address drinking motives and alcohol outcomes. The measurement instruments used in the study included the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT), the Drinking Expectancy Questionnaire Revised (DEQ-R), and the Drinking Motives Questionnaire Revised (DMQ-R). Data (n=474) were collected from university students from a single campus in South Africa. The data analyses included independent sample t-tests, ANOVA and partial least squares modelling. The results indicate that students expect an element of tension reduction and an increase in sexual interest when consuming alcohol and that they primarily drink for social and enhancement motives. The influence of positive alcohol outcome expectancies on drinking behaviour is mediated by social and enhancement motives. The study's findings can be used by universities to develop effective education and responsible drinking programmes.
Author E.S. GrossmanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 94 –109 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-643More Less
This descriptive study investigates a one-on-one writing consultancy as an informal learning space, formed to assist postgraduate research students (PRS) with thesis writing. The consultancy was held monthly on Sundays and appointments booked for up to one hour. During that time writing problems were identified and recommendations made to overcome these. Over the nine months 52 consults were held with 23 PhDs and 21 Master's candidates, the remaining consults were for non-degree writing purposes. Consults proved dichotomous with advice sought for both writing and non-writing related issues. Conspicuous were findings indicative of the high workloads carried by supervisory staff which thwarted PRS interaction. The one-on-one consultancy has many characteristics of alternative research-related spaces used elsewhere to provide PRS support. It is suggested that informal learning spaces, similar to the one-on-one writing consultancy, be investigated as a way to support PRSs and improve their throughput numbers.
Evaluating black women's participation, development and success in doctoral studies : a capabilities perspectiveSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 110 –128 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-575More Less
Although black women show an increased presence in doctoral study, the probability of intersecting gendered and racial disadvantage is often overlooked through relying on separate numerical transformation progress indicators for gender and race. To take a more active approach to furthering social justice for this marginalised group, we need to explore more holistic ways of mapping transformation. In this sense, we argue for the application of the capabilities approach as an evaluative framework which allows for an assessment of freedoms or capabilities students are able to make use of in pursuing the lives they have reason to value. Furthermore, factors impacting on students' capability formation are also considered, thus providing a multidimensional, ethically individualistic exploration of lives. The experiences of seven black women speak of barriers they have experienced throughout their doctoral journeys, but the data also create a sense of optimism as the potential of capability expansion is addressed.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 129 –142 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-583More Less
In this article, a case study is presented of an institutional modelling project whereby the most appropriate learning algorithm for the prediction of students dropping out before or in the second year of study was identified and deployed. This second-year dropout model was applied at programme level using pre-university information and first semester data derived from the Higher Education Data Analyzer (HEDA1) management information reporting and decision support environment at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. An open source platform, namely Konstanz Information Miner (KNIME2), was used to perform the predictive modelling. The results from the model were used in HEDA automatically to recognize students with a high probability of dropping out by the second year of study. Being able to identify such students will enable universities, and in particular programme owners, to implement targeted intervention strategies to assist the students at risk and improve success rates.
An employee engagement framework for technical vocational education and training colleges in South AfricaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 143 –163 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-606More Less
Employee engagement refers to what takes place when people are interested in a positive way and when they are excited about their jobs, exercise discretionary behaviour and are motivated to achieve high levels of performance. The present research therefore examined employee engagement of the academic staff in the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges in South Africa. A quantitative design was used. In total, 2 054 academic staff completed the questionnaire. A self-administered 4-point Likert-type scale questionnaire was developed. The data was gathered and then analysed by using the Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Descriptive statistics were used to present the findings. An employee engagement framework, which incorporates the main ideas of the article, suggests a new perspective about how to foster and manage employee engagement in today's workplace is presented.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 164 –183 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-598More Less
This article examines shifts in, and variations of, differentiation, diversification and specialisation and their impact on missions and mandates of different institutional types in South Africa. It explores patterns and how these might encourage institutional 'mission drift', arguing that, in practice, institutions are positioned on a continuum. While legally mandated institutional boundaries are still common, there is increasing support for the blurring of these boundaries because of changing conditions in the new economy. Mission drift could be attributed to the decline in government funding, increasing private contribution and entrepreneurship.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 184 –204 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-579More Less
The purpose of this article is to gain a deeper understanding of the multidimensional nature and complexity of the challenges academic chairpersons appointed at institutions of higher learning experience. A qualitative research approach was chosen to gain a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon under investigation by means of a focus group of 24 academic chairpersons. The findings indicate that academic chairpersons are inundated with responsibilities. They have to find a balance between the various roles, responsibilities and tasks originating from two opposing roles - that of scholar versus that of administrator/manager/leader - forced into one, while lacking the necessary administrative/managerial/leadership experience, skills and knowledge for their role as managers. This study provides higher education institutions and role-players responsible for the appointment, support and development of academic chairpersons with the evidence required to substantiate the necessity of redesigning this role.
Making conceptual connections visible to students in professional programmes : the case of initial teacher educationAuthor L. RusznyakSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 205 –225 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/ttp://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-576More Less
Degrees that prepare students for professional practice require that links be made across successive courses (for conceptual progression) and across concurrent courses (for networking and coherence). This article analyses compulsory coursework offered by five universities that participated in the Initial Teacher Education Research Project (ITERP). The analysis shows that the compulsory courses provide student teachers with opportunities to learn about different elements related to teaching: learners and learning, knowledge and curriculum, pedagogic decision-making, and the context of education in South Africa. However, the generic nature of compulsory coursework means that these topics are studied without links to students' phase and subject specialisations. Making these potential links explicit requires intentional and sustained collaboration between the lecturing teams responsible for compulsory and elective courses. This article identifies conditions for enhancing the visibility of conceptual connections to students, including strong academic leadership of programmes, and ensuring that lecturing staff understand the conceptual framework that underpins programme design.
The challenge for a historically disadvantaged South African university to produce more postgraduate studentsAuthor R. SonnSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 226 –241 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-601More Less
There is a shift in emphasis in higher education from producing bachelor's degrees en masse to an increase in the production of graduates with post-graduate qualifications. In recent times more and more universities in South Africa place emphasis in recruiting students doing post-graduate degrees and encourage them to complete their research component of their studies in the stipulated time in order to increase the subsidy received from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the research output of students and staff. For Walter Sisulu University (WSU), this issue is relatively crucial, given its low throughput rate of post-graduate students. This article in particular draws from a research study conducted with BEd (Hons) and MEd students at WSU Ibika Site to establish the challenges they experienced in doing their research. The students usually finish their course work in record time, but find it very difficult to complete the research component of the programme. The result is that there are a number of students in the system. This qualitative study explored the challenges faced by these students in completing the research component of their respective programmes. A purposive sample of 20 students were selected to participate in the study. Interviews were conducted to collect the data. Ethical considerations were employed. Content analysis was used to analyse the data. Some of the challenges experienced by the participants included, inter alia, problems experienced in identifying the problem statement; the complexity of proposal writing; a lack of professional writing skills; etc. Based on the findings of the study the author provided some recommendations.
Taking stock of South African accounting students' pervasive skills development : are we making progress?Author H.A. ViviersSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 242 –263 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-645More Less
This study used a mixed-methods research design to take stock of the perceived level of awareness and perceived importance of pervasive skills development from three role-players in the South African accounting higher education environment, i.e. students, educators and employers. An investigation was launched into accounting students' level of exposure to SAICA's required pervasive skills set during their undergraduate studies. The results showed that students are aware of and perceive pervasive skills development as an important aspect of their higher education curricula. However, lacking emphasis was found in the development of leadership skills. Although educators are aware of their pervasive skills development responsibilities, its active incorporation into course modules is in need of improvement. Accounting employers want to be involved in pervasive skills development, especially in respect of team work and communication skills. Recommendations are made to enhance accounting education pedagogy in terms of pervasive skills development.
Pre-admission tests of learning potential as predictors of academic success of first-year medical studentsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 264 –278 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-619More Less
Whilst performance in the school-leaving examination may be a good predictor of academic achievement at medical schools, it is not necessarily a perfect one. The Health Sciences Placement Tests (HSPTs), comprising four components, were adopted by several South African universities as a tool to understand student preparedness. Of 127 first-year students at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2010, those from private schools performed significantly better academically than their public school counterparts on overall HSPT performance and in the Academic Language test, and marginally better in the Mathematics Achievement and Mathematics Comprehension tests. Students from private schools performed better at first-year level in the subjects of Psychology and Fundamentals of Medical and Clinical Sciences. The Academic Language and Mathematics Comprehension tests showed significant correlations with performance in first-year subjects, both at mid-year and year-end assessments. The study points to the importance of the HSPTs as an additional tool in predicting and understanding academic success at first-year university level.
Multi-stakeholder work integrated learning model for higher education - a transdisciplinary approachSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 30, pp 279 –293 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-585More Less
Work integrated learning (WIL) is essential to successful higher education curricula and qualifications. Traditional WIL models are discipline specific with collaboration between educator and business aimed at providing the student with workplace experience. There is a need for a transdisciplinary approach to WIL as well as a need to consider multiple stakeholder responsibility in WIL models.
This conceptual article provides a critical review of two discipline specific WIL models in order to reshape them into a third transdisciplinary multi-stakeholder WIL model highlighting the roles of student, education, business and government. Two working WIL models currently in use in two different disciplines, namely the Human Resources and Marketing Departments, were reviewed for similarities and gaps. The review resulted in the proposed Multi-Stakeholder WIL Model. The message of this article is that for WIL models to be effective and economically viable, government and the students must become key stakeholders.