GRID VIEW LIST VIEW

The Delusion of Knowledge Transfer: The impact of foreign aid experts on policy-making in South Africa and Tanzania

With the rise of the ‘knowledge for development’ paradigm, expert advice has become a prime instrument of foreign aid. At the same time, it has been object of repeated criticism: the chronic failure of ‘technical assistance’ – a notion under which advice is commonly subsumed – has been documented in a host of studies. Nonetheless, international organisations continue to send advisors, promising to increase the ‘effectiveness’ of expert support if their technocratic recommendations are taken up.

This book reveals fundamental problems of expert advice in the context of aid that concern issues of power and legitimacy rather than merely flaws of implementation. Based on empirical evidence from South Africa and Tanzania, the authors show that aid-related advisory processes are inevitably obstructed by colliding interests, political pressures and hierarchical relations that impede knowledge transfer and mutual learning. As a result, recipient governments find themselves caught in a perpetual cycle of dependency, continuously advised by experts who convey the shifting paradigms and agendas of their respective donor governments.

For young democracies, the persistent presence of external actors is hazardous: ultimately, it poses a threat to the legitimacy of their governments if their policy-making becomes more responsive to foreign demands than to the preferences and needs of their citizens.

Change management in TVET colleges: Lessons learnt from the field of practice

The Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college environment is marked by increasingly stark juxtapositions between what needs to be achieved in the post-school education sector and the increasing difficulty of current conditions. The ‘triple challenge’ of poverty, inequality and unemployment weighs heavily on the social, political and economic fabric of the country and expectations are high that the TVET colleges can make a pivotal contribution to counter these challenges. Despite laudable increases in TVET enrolment, the education system needs to work harder to accommodate the weight of demand for post school further education and training (FET) band qualifications from young people not in education, employment or training. At the same time, it is vital to secure adequate quality in TVET programmes which depend so much on the competence and commitment of college lecturers. This collection offers a set of research papers that provide new analytic and empirical material on:

• The political economy of TVET types in different countries which, by comparison, illuminate the South African case; • A periodisation of government interventions in the TVET sector over the last three decades;

• The unsettled state and status of TVET lecturers in relation to their job requirements and conditions of service;

• The halting evolution of collegial relationships between college lecturers towards higher collegiality;

• Employer expectations of college graduates and how colleges are responding; and

• An analysis of the outcomes of a college improvement intervention in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.

This book will offer valuable information and insights for decision-makers as well as analysts of institutional change concerning links between education and economic growth, with particular regard to TVET graduates’ employment rates.

Reflections of South African University Leaders: 1981 to 2014

The inspiration for this collection arose in late 2013 in the Council on Higher Education’s (CHE) Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate, the directorate responsible for conducting research on the higher education landscape and monitoring the state of the sector over time. They noted that conditions besetting universities had grown increasingly complex, both globally but more especially locally, and the question arose – how had this altered the challenges to university leadership over the period, say, between the new political dispensation ushered in in 1994 and the second decade of the new millennium? More particularly, how had leaders with a proven track record of visionary and strong leadership during this period faced these challenges? How did they see the main changes that needed dealing with? What challenges did these changes pose and how were they successfully overcome? What did they think, looking back, were the main constituents of successful leadership and management? What wisdom could be distilled for posterity? The Directorate decided to invite a range of vice-chancellors and senior academic leaders who had completed their terms of office to contribute to a project that set out to gather such reflections and compile them into a publication.

Much has been written about the ever-growing demands on university leadership worldwide in the face of increasingly complex changes and challenges from within the academy and beyond. However, as we are reminded by Johan Muller in the Introduction to this book, “there are particular features of time and place that also throw up unique problems”. It is precisely ‘time and place’ that make this set of reflections by university leaders quite remarkable and distinguishes it from the many biographies to be found in the literature on higher education leadership. … In the main, this collection spans two decades, the 1990s and 2000s, of unprecedented levels of change in South African higher education. Leaders in universities, as well as those responsible for higher education policy in the government and associated statutory bodies, had no neat script to work off, nor ‘manuals’ or prescripts of ‘good’ leadership or practice. Instead, there was palpable excitement about collectively imagining and nurturing a new post-apartheid higher education system, which would contribute to the social and economic development needs of the country, the deepening of democracy and which would also be globally relevant.

Most reflections touch on the coalface of leadership, which is the face-to-face interactional dimension, dealing with staff, with students, with council chairs. What comes through clearly, is the importance of what are sometimes called ‘people skills’. In these accounts this is not simply presented as a human relations aptitude, for a number of reasons, first of which is the special nature of universities and their occupants. More than one points out the special challenge of managing the talented people that are academics, and their inbuilt distaste for bureaucracy, their reluctance to be managed or told what to do. The message here is consistently one of needing to be completely open with academics, the importance of maintaining the distinction between ‘collegial’ and ‘executive’ management (avoiding ‘managerialism’), and the critical importance of winning and holding their trust.

Doctoral Education in South Africa

Worldwide, in Africa and in South Africa, the importance of the doctorate has increased disproportionately in relation to its share of the overall graduate output over the last decade. This heightened attention has not only been concerned with the traditional role of the PhD, namely the provision of a future supply of academics. Rather, it has focused on the increasingly important role that higher education – particularly high-level skills – is perceived to play in national development and the knowledge economy.

This book is unique in the area of research into doctoral studies because it draws on a large number of studies conducted by the Centre of Higher Education Trust (CHET) and the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) over the past decade. In addition to these historical studies, new quantitative and qualitative research was undertaken to produce the evidence base for the anbalyses presented in the book. The studies focused on a range of issues related to the growth, efficiency, quality and transformation of doctoral education, doctoral supervision, doctoral tracer studies as well as drawing on studies from the rest of Africa and the world.

The book makes recommendations about strengthening traditional doctoral education, and proposes a paradigm shift. It concludes by raising three policy issues: reaching the National Development Plan 2030 target of 5 000 graduates per annum, South Africa as a PhD hub for Africa and differentiation among different groups of doctorate-producing institutions.

Twenty Years of Education Transformation in Gauteng 1994 to 2014

Twenty Years of Education Transformation in Gauteng 1994 to 2014: An Independent Review presents a collection of 15 important essays on different aspects of education in Gauteng since the advent of democracy in 1994. These essays talk to what a provincial education department does and how and why it does these things – whether it be about policy, resourcing or implementing projects. Each essay is written by one or more specialist in the relevant focus area.

The book is written to be accessible to the general reader as well as being informative and an essential resource for the specialist reader. It sheds light on aspects of how a provincial department operates and why and with what consequences certain decisions have been made in education over the last 20 turbulent years, both nationally and provincially.

There has been no attempt to fit the book’s chapters into a particular ideological or educational paradigm, and as a result the reader will find differing views on various aspects of the Gauteng Department of Education’s present and past. We leave the reader to decide to what extent the GDE has fulfilled its educational mandate over the last 20 years.

Perspectives on Student Affairs

The goal of Perspectives on Student Affairs in South Africa is to generate interest in student affairs in South Africa. The papers contained herein are based on best practice, local experience and well-researched international and local theories.

The papers in this book deal with matters pertaining to international and national trends in student affairs: academic development, access and retention, counselling, and material support for students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are linked to national and international developments, as described in the first two papers.

This publication will assist both young and experienced practitioners as they grow into their task of developing the students entrusted to them.

All contributors are South Africans with a great deal of experience in student affairs, and all are committed to the advancement of student affairs in South Africa. The editors are former heads of student affairs portfolios at two leading South African universities.