Browsing by Author "Daniels, Leslie"
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- ItemAn exploration of how discourses of efficiency and social justice shaped the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector with special reference to TVET colleges(2018-03) Daniels, Leslie; Robertson, Cathy; Fataar, Aslam; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Education Policy studies.ENGLISH ABSTRACT : This study explores the influences of market-directed educational policies, underpinned by neoliberalism, to shape technical and vocational education and training practices at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges post-1994. Given the financial constraints of the general South African budget, the government at the time believed that such an approach was appropriate because it was conducive to promoting efficiency and accountability in education. This approach, they thought, would ensure that the delivery of the desired educational outcomes, such as higher pass and throughput rates of college graduates with work-related skills, would be achieved. Prevailing educational discourses, as articulated in sources such as academic literature, public documents and the news media, not only question the appropriateness of marketoriented policies in education that target efficiency practices, but also question the lack of practices promoting social justice at TVET colleges. Therefore, this study questions whether the pursuit of efficiency targets at TVET colleges actually promoted the sustainability of social justice practices at these institutions. This study also examines whether it is feasible to hold both a market-oriented approach as well as a social justice approach simultaneously, by examining this tension, conceptually and in actual practice, by means of the wider philosophical framework of pragmatism. A conceptual investigation was chosen as the methodology to steer this study to its conclusion. On the one hand, the post-apartheid government has the responsibility of promoting policies aimed at removing the inherited barriers arising from unequal power relations that prevented equity, access and participation. On the other hand, in a globalised economy, the government has to ensure efficient use of limited resources and to ensure an educated workforce that can compete in the knowledge economy. In the post-apartheid era, tensions have emerged between issues of equity and efficiency. In effect, the government faces a policy dilemma, namely, that an increase in efficiency will more than likely compromise issues of equity and vice versa. The two objectives appear to be at odds with one another, but this thesis concludes that there is not necessarily mutual exclusion at the conceptual level. This study also emphasises that it is not impossible to maintain a delecate balance between the two. However, it needs to be borne in mind that policies aimed at social justice (such as increased access and redress) affect the actual quality of delivery and the need for increased resources. Despite the tension in real terms – interpreted in the light of a Deweyan pragmatist framework where what works is ‘right’ – the two discourses and resultant policies and practices can, to an extent, be practically reconciled. TVET colleges have included a substantially increased number of previously disadvantaged students who now have access to a college education, one that shows improved pass rates, reported improvements from Umalusi in quality assurance, rising qualification levels of staff, and a reported improvement in the availability of educational resources at TVET colleges. Nevertheless, in response to the question of whether market-oriented policies were actually successful in delivering the desired goals that were set for TVET, a definite no can be justified. Despite the tensions and potentially contradictory discourses, it is possible for TVET colleges to negotiate the precarious path between the two competing goals. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to recognise the tensions in order to prevent conceptual confusion and actual unwanted outcomes. However, further empirical studies need to be conducted to examine how, in actual, pragmatic terms, this complex balance plays itself out in multiple practices with varying consequences.