Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges in South Africa: a framework for leading curriculum change

Terblanche, Tercia Elaine (du Plessis) (2017-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : It seems imperative that the college curriculum, which is at the heart of the South African vocational education and training system, be restructured to enhance responsiveness to industry needs and requirements and to improve Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) standards. This study has identified a knowledge gap indicating the need to investigate possible strategies for leading changes faced by TVET colleges, with focal attention on sustainable curriculum change. The ultimate outcome of the study was to develop a framework for leading curriculum change in the South African TVET college sector. A document review, a questionnaire survey and interviews were used for data collection in four phases to analyse the trends, attitudes and beliefs of college employees located within five TVET colleges in the Western Cape, South Africa. Phase one comprised a review of documents such as policies, theses, government publications, books, journals, and reports related to the research problem. In phase two a survey was conducted among 116 TVET college respondents. This was followed by fourteen focus group interviews conducted among 90 TVET college respondents during phase three. Finally, phase four of the study incorporated the findings from the previous three phases of the study into a conceptual framework that aims to potentially assist in leading curriculum change in the TVET college sector. For the empirical part of the study a deductive approach was employed to describe, compare and tabulate data collected from TVET college staff, utilising a questionnaire and focus group interviews. An analysis of the non-numeric data was conducted through open coding. Semi-structured focus group interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed by using levels and categories of responses. Respondents’ data were graphically displayed for the closed question section of the survey, while a narrative format was used to describe the findings of the open-ended question section. Possible statistical relationships were drawn between the biographical characteristics of the respondents and three questions, using Pearson values. The findings from the study indicate that TVET college curriculum reform is eminent. Such reform has the potential to contribute in various ways to improved employability, productivity and success rates of TVET college graduates. The findings emphasise the crucial need for change in management strategies to prepare for current and future TVET curriculum challenges. What also emerged is the need for stronger industry involvement in the TVET curriculum review process to enhance responsiveness to industry needs and requirements. Furthermore, the findings on leadership capacity in the TVET institutions represented in this study indicate that the TVET college sector needs leadership programmes to assist leaders in bringing about curriculum change. In addition, the findings show various cognitive and social competencies required by curriculum leaders to effectively lead curriculum change and its accompanying challenges. The study concludes that many TVET college leaders are in need of being capacitated with management strategies for current and future curriculum challenges, such as curriculum design and development. Industry support and involvement in the TVET college sector seem critical to curriculum renewal, enhancing student employability and kerbing the lack of industry knowledge and experience of college leaders. Also, poor articulation opportunities of TVET college graduates to enter higher education programmes currently seem to exist. Based on the results of the study, as well as the success of TVET in Germany, a parallel- or two-stream curriculum is suggested to better address current and future TVET training needs. The study contributes to new knowledge on TVET curriculum leadership and advances a better conceptual understanding of vocational and occupational education in general. More specifically, the study contributes to enhancing the understanding of key factors and leadership features needed for TVET college leaders in South Africa to lead curriculum change.

Thesis

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die herstrukturering van die kollege-kurrikulum, wat die kern van Suid-Afrika se beroepsonderwys- en opleidingstelsel uitmaak, blyk noodsaaklik te wees ten einde die standaard van Tegniese en Beroepsonderwys en Opleiding (TBOO-) te verbeter en aan die industriebehoeftes en -vereistes te voldoen. Die studie dui op ‘n behoefte aan strategieë vir die hantering van die veranderinge waarmee TBOO-kolleges gekonfronteer word, met die hoofklem op volhoubare kurrikulumverandering. Die uiteindelike doel van die studie was om ’n raamwerk te ontwikkel waarvolgens kurrikulumverandering in die Suid-Afrikaanse TBOO-kollegesektor gerig kan word. Met behulp van ’n dokumentoorsig, ’n vraelysondersoek en onderhoude met rolspelers het dataversameling in vier fases plaasgevind ten einde die tendense, houdings en menings van kollegewerknemers by vyf TBOO-kolleges in die Wes-Kaap, Suid-Afrika, te ontleed. Fase een het bestaan uit ’n oorsig van dokumente soos beleide, tesisse, staatspublikasies, boeke, joernale, en verslae wat op die navorsingsprobleem betrekking het. In fase twee is ’n peiling deur middel van ‘n vraelys aan 116 TBOO-kollegerespondente gedoen, waarna 14 fokusgroeponderhoude met 90 TBOO-kollegerespondente tydens fase 3 gevoer is. Tydens die vierde en laaste fase is die bevindings van die vorige drie fases van die studie by ’n konseptuele raamwerk geïnkorporeer, met die doel om kurrikulumverandering in die TBOO-kollegesektor potensieel te rig. Met behulp van 'n vraelys en fokusgroeponderhoude is ’n deduktiewe benadering vir die empiriese gedeelte van die studie gebruik om data wat van TBOO-kollegepersoneel versamel is te beskryf, te vergelyk en te tabuleer. ’n Ontleding van die nie-numeriese data is deur oop kodering gedoen. Semigestruktureerde fokusgroeponderhoude is opgeneem, getranskribeer, en ontleed deur gebruik te maak van responsvlakke en -kategorieë. Die terugvoerdata van respondente in die geslotevraag gedeelte van die opname is grafies weergegee, terwyl ’n verteltrantformaat gebruik is om die bevindings van die oopvraag gedeelte te beskryf. Moontlike statistiese verbande tussen die biografiese karaktereienskappe van die respondente en drie vrae is met behulp van Pearson-waardes getrek. Die bevindings van die studie dui daarop dat herstrukturering van die TBOO-kurrikulum onontbeerlik is. Herstrukturering kan op verskeie maniere bydra tot beter aanwendbaarheid, produktiwiteit en suksessyfers van TBOO-kollegegegradueerdes. Die bevindings dui op ‘n kritieke behoefte aan verandering ten opsigte van bestuurstrategieë, ten einde huidige en toekomstige TBOO-kurrikulumuitdagings te hanteer. ‘n Duidelike behoefte aan groter industriebetrokkenheid by die TBOO-kurrikulumoorsigproses, ten einde bewusmaking van industriebehoeftes en -vereistes te bevorder, is ook geïdentifiseer. Voorts dui die bevindings oor leierskapkapasiteit by die TBOO-inrigtings wat in die studie verteenwoordig is op ‘n behoefte aan leierskapsprogramme in die TBOO-kollegesektor om leiers in staat te stel om leiding te neem ten opsigte van kurrikulumverandering. Hierbenewens toon die bevindings dat kurrikulumleiers verskeie kognitiewe en sosiale vaardighede benodig om kurrikulumverandering, met die gepaartgaande uitdagings, doeltreffend te lei. Die studie kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat bestuurstrategieë ontwikkel moet word ten einde TBOO-kollegeleiers voor te berei vir huidige en toekomstige kurrikulumuitdagings, soos byvoorbeeld kurrikulumontwerp en -ontwikkeling. Industrie-ondersteuning en -betrokkenheid by die TBOO-kollegesektor blyk ook van kardinale belang te wees vir kurrikulumvernuwing, beter studenteaanwendbaarheid, en beter industriekennis en -ervaring van kollegeleiers. Verder blyk dit dat TBOO-kollegegegradueerdes dit moeilik vind om tot hoëronderwysprogramme toegelaat te word. Gegrond op die uitslae van die studie, asook die sukses van TBOO in Duitsland, word ’n parallelle of tweestroomkurrikulum voorgestel om aan die huidige en toekomstige TBOO-opleidingsbehoeftes te voldoen. Die studie dra by tot nuwe kennis ten opsigte van TBOO-kurrikulumleierskap en tref ’n onderskeid tussen die konsepte beroepsonderwys en arbeidsonderwys. Meer spesifiek dra die studie by tot ‘n beter begrip van die sleutelfaktore en leierskapeienskappe wat TBOO-kollegeleiers in Suid-Afrika in staat sal stel om kurrikulumverandering te lei.

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