A methodology for assessing geographical information science professionals and programmes in South Africa

Du Plessis, Hendrik Jacobus (2015-04)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There is a growing demand worldwide for geographical information science (GISc) practitioners. Government agencies and the private sector are competing to find and employ practitioners in the GISc field who are suitably qualified and competent in the practice of the relevant technologies and sciences. Little research exists in South Africa on what GISc professionals should know or be able to do. A set of competencies, knowledge and skills required by professionals in the workplace is needed to design appropriate programmes and to guide those responsible for controlling quality in the profession (through registration) as well as in educational institutions (through accreditation). This research developed a new GISc academic framework with an embedded competency set to serve as a standard for the training of professional GISc practitioners. The format of this GISc framework is based on the structure of the University Consortium of Geographical Information Science (UCGIS) geographical information science and technology (GI S&T) body of knowledge (BoK) as the most frequently used framework internationally, but incorporates content from two existing South African competency sets. The new framework represents the South African, the USA and European perspectives of the knowledge and skills regarded as essential for the GISc profession. An easy-to-use and accessible web-based GISc self-assessment tool (SAT) was developed to facilitate the implementation and adoption of the new framework. Based on feedback from the GISc community the tool is proving to be a valuable labour- and time-saving resource with significant benefits to the GISc society and academia. The new GISc framework, which consists of 14 knowledge areas, 6 fundamental and 32 core units, was developed using a combination of qualitative and quantitative procedures to compare three different existing competency sets. This methodology is unique and lends itself for application in similar studies regardless of the discipline. Through the literature studied, no other GISc web-based SAT was discovered, making the concept of a web-based and database driven SAT unique. The SAT can be modified for use in other disciplines and countries.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar is ’n groeiende vraag wêreldwyd na geografiese inligtingswetenskap (GIW) praktisyns. Regeringsagentskappe en die privaatsektor kompeteer om GIW praktisyns, wat in die toepassing van die relevante tegnologie en wetenskappe voldoende gekwalifiseerd en kundig is, te vind en in diens te neem. Min navorsing is in Suid-Afrika gedoen oor wat ʼn GIW professionele persoon moet weet en kan doen. ʼn Stel vaardighede en kennis wat van professionele persone in die werksomgewing vereis word, word benodig om gepaste opleidingsprogramme te ontwerp en om diegene wie verantwoordelik is vir die kwaliteitskontrolering van die beroep (deur registrasie) en opvoedkundige instansies (deur akkreditasie) te lei. Hierdie navorsing het ’n nuwe raamwerk en stel vaardighede vir GIW ontwikkel, wat kan dien as ʼn standaard vir die opleiding van professionele praktisyns in GIW. Die formaat van hierdie GIW-raamwerk is op die University Consortium of Geographical Information Science (UCGIS) geographical information science and technology (GI S&T) body of knowledge (BoK) gebaseer wat tans internasionaal as die mees gebruikte raamwerk aangewend word. Die nuwe raamwerk is ’n kombinasie van twee Suid-Afrikaanse kundigheidstelle en die GI S&T BoK. Dit verteenwoordig die Suid-Afrikaanse sowel as die Amerikaanse en Europese perspektiewe oor watter kennis en vaardighede vir die GIW professie belangrik geag word. ’n Webgebaseerde selfevalueringsinstrument (SEI) is ontwikkel om die implementering en aanvaarding van die raamwerk te bevorder. Die SEI is gebruikersvriendelik en toeganklik vir potensiële gebruikers. Terugvoering vanaf die GIW gemeenskap het bevestig dat die SEI (GISc SAT) ‘n waardevolle arbeid- en tydbesparende hulpbron is wat aansienlike voordele vir die GIW-gemeenskap en akademiese wêreld bied. Die nuwe GIW raamwerk bestaande uit 14 kennisgebiede, 6 fundamentele eenhede en 32 kern eenhede, is ontwikkel deur van kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe metodes gebruik te maak om verskillende GIW-raamwerke te vergelyk. Hierdie metodologie is uniek en kan ook in ander velde aangewend word. Tydens die literatuurstudie is geen ander GIW SEI opgespoor nie, wat die konsep van ʼn webgebaseerde en databasisgedrewe SEI uniek maak. Die SEI kan aangepas word vir gebruik in ander dissiplines en lande.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96663
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