Students’ perceptions of their learning of graduate attributes at the University of the Western Cape
Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT :Student voices are notably absent from academic discourse on graduate attributes (GAs) as such attributes are often constructed and conceptualised from the viewpoint of educational institutions, government and industry. The overarching aim of the study was to gain deeper insight into how students understand graduate attributes to be developed and learnt within the institutional context of one higher education institution, namely the University of the Western Cape (UWC). With students increasingly being challenged to assume greater responsibility for their own growth and development, it is imperative that they be brought into the discussion around graduate attributes. This study involved participants registered as UWC students and involved in the programme offerings of the Leadership and Social Responsibility (LSR) office in 2016. Within an interpretive knowledge position, an exploratory institutional case study design was utilised. Qualitative data were generated through the use of two focus group interviews, one individual interview as well as photo elicitation activities over a period of three weeks. The main study findings indicated that students hold some measure of understanding of what graduate attributes are, how they acquire these attributes and that they are important in the context of increasing students’ employability. It also emerged that the staff at the institution play a vital role in how graduate attributes are learnt and developed. There appears to be an expressed need that graduate attributes should be embedded within all facets of the institution and, importantly, students’ own self-interest has a crucial role within how graduate attributes are taken up.
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