A fit-gap analysis of the National Certificate (vocational) Information Technology and Computer Science curriculum against the needs of the South African ICT industry

Hove, Darlington (2019-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) landscape is characterised by rapid innovation of digital technologies that are disrupting industries globally. These changes are so pervasive that it is now common cause that the industrial economy is transforming into a knowledge economy. This economic transformation led to the obsolescence of successive device models and production processes which render workers' previous skills, knowledge and competencies obsolete and out of date. Consequently, the gap between education and work requirements widens, posing enormous challenges for the education and training sector to produce graduates with relevant knowledge, skills and competencies. South Africa is no exception to these realities. Therefore, it is important to ask whether the country’s education and training institutions provide appropriate educational programs and qualifications, which are relevant to the needs of the knowledge economy. In 2007 the South African government introduced the National Certificate Vocational-Information Technology and Computer Science (NCV-IT) qualification at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges to meet the skills demands of the ‘modern’ South African economy. The thesis considers this curriculum against the background of the ongoing technological advancements and digitization of the knowledge economy. The purpose of the thesis is to determine the relevance of the current national NCV-IT curriculum to the knowledge and skills needs of the South African ICT industry. This is achieved by describing the curriculum against the background of international models and then by interviewing representatives from industry to ask about the skills they need from graduates and what they consider gaps in the education of recent graduates from TVET colleges that they've employed. Using purposive sampling strategies, representatives from fifteen companies from the South African ICT industry were questioned using semi-structured interviews with open-ended answers. Their answers about their needs were compared with a description of the current national NCV-IT curriculum based on a document review. The findings of the comparative analysis reveals a fit-gap between the current national NCVIT curriculum and the South African ICT industry’s knowledge and skills needs from entry level IT employees. The conclusion offers recommendations regarding the urgent need to review and update the current national NCV-IT curriculum in order to align it to the South African ICT industry’s knowledge and skills needs.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die Inligting- en Kommunkasietegnologie (IKT) landskap word gekenmerk deur versnelde innovasie van digitale tegnologie wat industrieë wêreldwyd ontwrig. Hierdie veranderinge is so ingrypend dat dit nou algemeen aanvaar word dat die industriële ekonomie besig is om in 'n kennis ekonomie te verander. Die ekonomiese transformasie lei tot die veroudering van opeenvolgende stelselmodelle en produksieprosesse wat die werkers se bestaande vaardighede, kennis, en bevoegdhede toenemend verplaas. Gevolglik word die gaping tussen die onderwys en opleiding van werkers en die uiteindelike werksvereistes al hoe groter. Hierdie realiteit bied enorme uitdagings vir die onderwys- en opleidingsektor om graduandi te lewer met toepaslike kennis en vaardighede. Suid-Afrika is in die verband geen uitsondering nie en dit is daarom belangrik om te vra tot watter mate die land se onderwys opleidingsinstansies toepaslike opleiding en kwalifikasies verskaf om aan die behoeftes van die kennis ekonomie te voldoen. Die Suid-Afrikaanse regering het in 2007 die Nasionale Sertifikaat Beroeps- Inligtingstegnologie en Rekenaarwetenskap (NKV-IT) kwalifikasie by Tegniese en Beroepsonderwys en -opleiding (TVET) kolleges ingestel om aan die vaardigheidsbehoeftes van die 'moderne' Suid-Afrikaanse ekonomie aan te spreek. Die tesis ondersoek hierdie kurrikulum teen die agtergrond van die voortgesette tegnologiese vooruitgang en digitalisering van die kennis ekonomie. Die doel van die tesis is om die relevansie van die huidige kurrikulum te bepaal in terme van die kennis- en vaardigheidsbehoeftes van die Suid Afrikaanse IT-industrie. Dit word gedoen deur die kurrikulum te beskryf en te vergelyk met internasionale modelle en dan in onderhoude met verteenwoordigers van die IT-industrie uit te vra oor die vaardighede wat hulle nodig ag by nuut gegradueerdes uit die TVET-kolleges wat hulle indiens geneem het. Deur middel van 'n doelgerigte steekproefstrategie, is verteenwoordigers van 15 maatskappye in die Suid Afrikaanse IT-industrie uitgenooi om aan 'n semi-gestruktureerde onderhoud deel te neem. Hulle antwoorde oor die maatskappy se behoeftes is vergelyk met die beskrywing van die huidige NKV-IT kurrikulum gebaseer op 'n document-analise. Daar is bevind dat daar wel 'n beduidende gaping is tussen die huidige nasionale NKV-IT kurrikulum en die behoeftes van plaaslike IT-maatskappye met betrekking tot intree-vlak ITwerknemers. Aanbevelings word ten slotte gemaak oor hoe om die NKV-IT kurrikulum te hersien ten einde dit in lyn te bring met die kennis en vaardighede wat die Suid Afrikaanse IT-industrie vereis.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105914
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