- A-Z Publications
- South African Journal of Higher Education
- Previous Issues
- Volume 23, Issue 1, 2009
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 23, Issue 1, 2009
Volumes & issues
Volume 23, Issue 1, 2009
Author Y. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 5 –7 (2009)More Less
The concept of cosmopolitanism along with globalisation has become one of the buzz words of our time. For some, like Martha Nussbaum (1996), cosmopolitanism signifies an attitude of enlightened morality that places love of humanity ('citizens of the world') ahead of patriotism towards one's country. You are a cosmopolitan on the grounds of the compassion and care you exhibit as an individual towards all other human beings irrespective of race, culture, tradition and religious orientation. For others, like Jeremy Waldron (1995), cosmopolitanism signifies hybridity, fluidity and recognising the fractures and identities of human selves and citizens, whose complex aspirations cannot be circumscribed by national fantasies and primordial communities. For a third group of thinkers, like Jürgen Habermas (1998) and Seyla Benhabib (2006), whose linkages are those of critical theory, cosmopolitanism is a normative philosophy for carrying the universalistic norms of discourse ethics beyond the confines of the nation-state.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 8 –20 (2009)More Less
The merger of institutions of higher education in South Africa which has taken place in the last decade has presented several challenges to academic staff in Faculties of Education. The present article reviews the process of transformation in a particular school within Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Colleagues from institutions where there was little obligation to publish research found that at UKZN there was a strong research emphasis. The obligation to correct imbalances in race and gender representation amongst the staff coexisted with this emphasis and had to be reconciled with it.
A system of incentives, research seminars and mentoring was devised and operated within a particular school for five years. Details of this system and the degree of its success are offered in this article.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 21 –42 (2009)More Less
This article examines the practices, norms and values that constrain or enable successful participation of undergraduate students at a South African university undergoing a radical change. We look at four constructs about the resources that Wits students draw on when they negotiate their integration into the Wits culture of academic performance. The four constructs are: (i) internal regulation, which refers to the ways in which students experience the difference in relation to authority when compared to their school experiences; (ii) individual responsibility, which is related to the distribution of responsibilities between 'the student' and 'the institution' in relation to the process of learning and teaching; (iii) explicit and implicit rules, connected to the ways in which students get to understand how the Wits learning environment works; and (iv) re-visiting the familiar, which points to students' experiences of failure and alienation and how these experiences elicit past experiences of racial oppression.
Effect of changes in state funding of higher education on higher education output in South Africa : 1986-2007Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 43 –68 (2009)More Less
During the last two decades state funding of higher education in South Africa has decreased substantially (especially if public expenditure of HE as a percentage of GDP is used as a yardstick). HE institutions were forced to increase tuition fees and rely more on the third income stream to balance their books. In the process increases in instruction/research staff did not keep up with the increase in student numbers.
During the period 1986-2003 qualifications awarded to students per full-time equivalent instruction/research staff member increased over time - indicating greater efficiency of the HE sector in delivering more teaching output. High-level research in the form of publication units in accredited journals, however, stagnated during this period. In recent years until 2007, however, publications in accredited journals increased substantially. This was mainly the result of broadening the number of accredited journals by the Department of Education. In this article two indicators, linked to the current funding formula for higher education, to measure academic output of HEIs are defined and applied to the output of institutions for the period since 2002. It is concluded that there is large variability between HEIs as far as teaching and research output are concerned. A cause for concern is that the majority of the research is conducted by just a few HE institutions.
Author H-J. EsakovSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 69 –82 (2009)More Less
This article looks at social transformation at a former whites-only Afrikaans university from beyond the conventional focus of demographic reform. Rather, in using a qualitative case study, it broadly explores how transformation of higher education institutions can be read in terms of the re-imaging of racial identity within the curriculum. In looking at how an institution navigates social transformation through its positioning of the role of the curriculum in the transformation process, this article suggests that although rhetorically committed to transformation, the university is struggling to emerge from its own politically instrumentalist past. Further, findings show that pressure exerted on the university from government and grassroots level within the university, are impeding the transformation process.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 83 –97 (2009)More Less
For many students entering higher education in South Africa there is an articulation gap between the demands of the curriculum and their competencies. This mismatch is particularly critical in the area of quantitative literacy (mathematical literacy, numeracy) and if not addressed, has negative consequences for equity of outcomes for higher education. There is a need to make explicit the quantitative literacy demands of the curriculum so that they can be examined critically and addressed by educational interventions and other curriculum changes. We describe our approach to characterizing the quantitative literacy demands in curricula in disciplines, by presenting a framework for analysing aspects of quantitative literacy events in the curriculum. This is useful for helping educators to recognize the demands on students' quantitative literacy (and assumptions about students' competencies) that are often implicit in their curricula, for the purpose of informing the design of education interventions and for developing test constructs.
Author Y. JordaanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 98 –112 (2009)More Less
The tendency towards decreasing class attendance by students is a concern for many tertiary institutions. Various factors contribute to the motivation of students, which in turn directly or indirectly influence them to attend lectures. The aim of the study is mainly to investigate which factors are related to the problem of low lecture attendance, and to determine the relation between lecture attendance and online support for students, gender, age, year level groups and faculty groups. A non-probability sample was drawn at the largest residential university in South Africa. Some of the findings showed differences between female and male lecture attendance, lecture/r quality as well as reasons for attending classes. It was also observed that there is a positive association between lecturer evaluation and lecture attendance by students. The results provide insight into a better understanding about class attendance and may enhance interaction between students and lecturers.
Author C. JulieSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 113 –126 (2009)More Less
Dealing with contextual issues is accorded high priority in South African school curricula. Higher education institutions are required to offer certificate-bearing programmes, which take into account this turn in school curricula. Appropriate contexts to incorporate in such programmes are essentially an unresolved issue. This article reports a study, within the domain of curriculum responsiveness, on contexts teachers would prefer learners to be exposed to. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of data obtained through a survey indicate that teachers have a strong preference for health promotion and socioeconomic issues. They least prefer issues which have the potential to inculcate negative behaviours prevalent in environments of low socio-economic status. Notwithstanding the contexts that teachers prefer, it is concluded that there is a need for a balance between the contexts deemed appropriate by academics, teachers, parents, learners and others involved in contexts-driven curricular enterprises
Author A. NaidooSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 127 –141 (2009)More Less
When institutions are instructed to merge as has been the case in South Africa, it is the managers within the institution who have to ensure that this happens optimally. The context of this article is around how some deans have had to grapple with their roles within merged institutions. This article attempts to tell the stories firstly, of the deans in one institution and then these findings are compared with interpretations of three deans of Education. The methodology for the study is immersion / crystallisation and is conveyed using a narrative style. The objective is to highlight the challenges experienced and to determine if there are areas of commonality that could be used to address these challenges collectively.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 142 –154 (2009)More Less
In the past decade there has been increasing interest in assessment as a social practice. There is a growing recognition that assessment, particularly of complex tasks, is a judgment which is socially-situated and thus contingent on a variety of factors which constitute the assessment event. Drawing on the hermeneutical tradition, this article explores the interpretive processes of essay markers in two Health Science courses at the University of Cape Town, with a particular focus on markers' judgements about language. The analysis exposes multiple 'circles' of influence on markers' professional judgements, including the texts (both the written product and the student writer), the marker's interpretive framework, the interpretive community and the wider institutional discourses. The article contributes to a better understanding of the crucial role of the interpretive community in the validation of assessment interpretations.
Author T.J. PitsoSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 155 –164 (2009)More Less
This article focuses on the broad problematic of social research as attempts on accessing - for aggregation or gaining new insights - accurate motives and thoughts of research participants as they function within contexts and time. It argues that researchers are handicapped in any research endeavour because they are dependent on what the researched can make publicly available. This is the inherent dilemma in research - the inaccessibility of the other mind and its capability to separate the public self and the inner self such that the capacity to display theatrics to fit expected roles is a constant threat. Furthermore, the article asks whether research can ever be apolitical because of the inherent tension between the researcher and the researched emanating from who is in control of the research process. This backdrop is attempted within the truth representation model and argumentation which are then tested against two recently published articles in SAJHE.
Author H.M.B. ThomasSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 165 –178 (2009)More Less
This article questions the traditional approaches to French teaching based on literature and suggests ways to improve the French language component at South African universities by incorporating task-based learning within the context of French for Specific Purposes into the curriculum. Using a project run at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the article examines ways in which to integrate this into the curriculum. It focuses on the value of the newly-introduced French / Media project which is not only interdisciplinary in nature but which will also enhance the students' employability. This article argues that since we live in a world of technology where learners expect everything to be fast, entertaining and often disposable, teachers and lecturers of foreign languages, such as French, need to introduce a new methodology into the curriculum in order to enrich it. This article is an exploratory study of how to develop a new strategy to teach foreign languages.
Author G.H. Van RensburgSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 179 –192 (2009)More Less
All individuals deserve to be taught in a way that best suits their needs. Education should be aimed at promoting learning. In order to do so, educators should incorporate diversity into their model of teaching by acknowledging student individuality, which is expressed in different learning styles. A qualitative study was done to analyse, describe and make sense of the meanings of the phenomenon learning style. One of the phases of the study entailed the development of a self-assessment learning-style instrument. Although various learning-style instruments exist, there are numerous reasons for inaccessibility thereof. A process of analysing existing instruments and adaptation was used to construct a new self-assessment learning-style instrument, based on the Kolb model of experiential learning, which should be used by all students and educators in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It is further recommended that the instrument be tested for reliability in order to increase its contribution to quality in higher education.
Author N. WebbSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 193 –204 (2009)More Less
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate and account for the weak emergence of 'voice' in the writing of students embarking upon their postgraduate studies in Geosciences. The two elements of 'voice' that are emphasised are 'voice' as style of expression and 'voice' as the ability to write distinctly, yet building upon previous knowledge.
Two cycles of writing by two groups of students were tested for 'voice' by using a scale especially designed for this purpose. Findings based on the first cycle revealed that few students were writing at the expected level. Accounting for these findings involved an analysis of high school and undergraduate writing experiences. Findings after the second cycle showed very little improvement despite the comprehensive support given to the writers.
'Voice' is a crucial element in academic writing, yet difficult to conceptualise and to teach. Ongoing research on voice is considered essential for the students and the discipline.
Engineers are from Mars and educators are from Venus : research supervision in engineering and educational collaborationAuthor C. WinbergSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 205 –217 (2009)More Less
This article reports on a research project that investigated the supervisory practices in Masters level interdisciplinary research projects that were undertaken in engineering education. The projects usually entailed an interdisciplinary thesis that addressed an educational issue within a specific engineering discipline, such as problem-based learning in chemical engineering, the work-readiness of civil engineering students, or curriculum reform in mechanical engineering. In practice, such projects involved collaboration between supervisors appointed from the broad field of 'higher education studies' to oversee the educational aspects of the thesis and engineering discipline specific supervisors with an interest in education. The findings include data which indicate both the difficulties of working across the disciplines, and the promise of new, interdisciplinary practices in research supervision.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 1065 –1071 (2009)More Less
This essay argues that society's demands on the higher education system are to some extent legitimate. However, there seem to be some unintended effects of the dominant discourses of performativity, which impact deplorably on education and educational research. We deal with some of the tensions which permeate higher education discourses, in particular the duration of research projects, the atomism of individuals doing research, and the relationship between research and education policy. We recognise that at least there is a willingness within the higher education sector to engage critically with value-laden aspects of education.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 1072 –1085 (2009)More Less
This article reports on findings pertaining to education scholarship in higher education drawn from a wider study on all education research in South Africa from 1995 to 2006. After briefly outlining pertinent aspects of the wider study, it offers a preliminary and descriptive account of what were found to be primary research themes in higher education studies, including the socio-political implications of higher education transformation, the debate over the 'Africanisation' of higher education, the promotion of indigenous knowledges, equity and excellence in higher education policy, increasing participation and access though academic development and the recognition of prior learning, the acquisition of academic literacy, assessment, and accountability and autonomy.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 1086 –1100 (2009)More Less
This article is about the national project to gather together information about postgraduate education research (PPER) in South Africa conducted over a ten-year period, namely 1995-2004, being the first decade in the democratic era for South Africa. The ideas informing the PPER Project are provided and the complex process of developing the PPER database is discussed. Although it is too early to yield firm findings about the trends, the article offers a tentative first level of description about postgraduate education research.
Research policy and governance in the United Kingdom - critical perspective and implications for South African Higher Education researchSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 1101 –1114 (2009)More Less
This article begins with a critical consideration of five trends in social and educational research policy and environment in the UK and internationally : (1) the intensification of public criticisms of education research since the mid- and late-1990s; (2) the increasing emphasis on user involvement and focus on use; (3) the ever tighter accountability regimes and the adoption of selective, performance-related, funding procedures; (4) the demand for research syntheses and pressures towards cumulative development of research knowledge; and (5) growing researcher mobility and cross-national collaboration. The second part of the article reflects on these developments in relation to the South African context, on the background of historically significant issues such as the past exclusiveness of research cultures and the international isolation of the wider research community. The article argues that, while minding her position and needs as a developing country on the African continent, South Africa may be able to benefit critically from, while avoiding some of the pitfalls of, the 'learning trajectories' of other research systems, including that of the UK.
A survey of educational research in the second decade of South Africa's democracy : a focus on Higher EducationAuthor L. Le GrangeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 23, pp 1115 –1125 (2009)More Less
In this article I survey educational research conducted in South Africa based on articles published in the South African Journal of Education (SAJHE) over the past five years. The themes that feature prominently in SAJHE over the past five years are: Africanisation and indigenous knowledge, assessment, e-learning, quality and quality assurance, and student and staff diversity. I suggest that these themes reflect challenges facing South African higher education associated with two sets of pressures: the demands of a competitive and interconnected global economy and the need to democratize higher education in SA given inequalities of the past. I also survey the approaches to educational research that is reported in SAJHE - in other words, how the research studies are framed methodologically. The findings show that 58 per cent of the research reported in SAJHE over the past five years comprises theoretical research and 42 per cent empirical research. I contend that this trend might be ascribed to the nature of the five themes which feature most prominently in the journal over the past five years.