n Journal of Contemporary Management - Some challenges of using contract workers in an open and distance learning institution - a managerial perspective




As an open and distance learning institution, the University of South Africa attracts thousands of students which results in an overwhelming number of assignments and examination scripts that need to be marked. Marking, which is an important part of the task of the lecturer and the main personal feedback mechanism to students, needs to be done timeously and diligently. The submission of assignments causes peak periods of high workload that is not manageable for the lecturers. To remain competitive and efficient and to save money the university makes use of (temporary) contract workers to support lecturers during these peak times. In spite of the expected valuable contribution it seems that the system of contract workers is not efficient and academic staff utters many complaints in this regard. This article reflects on a qualitative investigation into the matter of managing and using contract workers to assist lecturers in marking assignments and examination scripts. The problems experienced by lecturers are critically reviewed in terms of the application of various managerial functions. From the results it seems that many problems are the result of inefficient application of managerial functions and it is recommended that proper guidelines should be put in place.


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