PiE 2017 Volume 35 Issue 2

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Curriculum responsiveness within the context of decolonisation in South African higher education
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Fomunyam, Kehdinga George; Teferra, Damtew
    South African higher education in the past year has seen violent calls for decolonisation of the curriculum, as a way of addressing the passive nature of education. The inability of the curriculum to respond to contextual issues, empower students to come of age, while at the same time remain committed to giving them a plurality of voices has been a cause for concern. Morrison (2007) argues that curriculum discourse should be marked by a multiplicity of voices, articulating a hundred thousand theories thereby creating avenues for a just and caring curriculum. This curriculum is only possible in spaces that are open to construction and reconstruction of responsive knowledge. To enhance the responsiveness of the curriculum, this paper experimented on voices that matter in the decolonisation project in the bid to create sustainable and socially just spaces wherein caring and just curriculum encounters can take place. Designed as a qualitative case study of six universities, the study used open-ended questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to generate data. The data generated was analysed using Morrison’s (2007) notion of a hundred thousand theories. The paper reveals three key findings: curriculum encounters are shaped by power dynamics in educational spaces, plurality of voices provokes the creation of disciplinary and interdisciplinary spaces for curriculum engagement and sustainable education experience is powered by plurality, which in itself is shaped by curricular charges. The paper concludes that curriculum encounters is vital for the effectiveness of the decolonisation process and the enhancement of curriculum responsiveness.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Decolonising the future in the untransformed present in South African higher education
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Fomunyam, Kehdinga George
    South Africa as a nation became democratic in 1994 because of the end of apartheid. Since 1994, higher education has geared towards transformation and redress of the inequalities created by the inhuman policies of apartheid. While few applaudable steps have been taken towards this direction, South African higher education remains largely untransformed. For the past two years, a wave of student protest swept across the nation, calling for decolonisation of higher education in general and the curriculum in particular. This move brings to mind several questions about decolonisation and transformation. What is the state of South African higher education? Why has it remained untransformed since the advent of democracy? What should be decolonised to ensure transformation of the present and the future? This paper therefore ventures to answer these three questions using the theory of social transformation as a lens. The paper points out that funding structures, research politics, administrative structures and a lack of interest are amongst the reasons for the lack of transformation. The paper concludes that there will be no transformation until higher education institutions have been decolonised. Social transformation is therefore argued as the pathway for decolonisation. The paper recommends that transformation in higher education should go beyond the shelves where they are stored as policy to the classroom and university environment for practice and universities need to revise their understandings of transformation under the guidance of the DHET.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Codification, meritocracy and performativity: debilitating factors for black pre-service teachers
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Maseko, P. B. N.
    This article presents an argument and commentary about the concomitant effects of codification, meritocracy and performativity in the academic performance of a cohort of black African Foundation Phase Bachelor of Education degree students at a previously predominantly white institution of higher learning. The objective of this paper is to illustrate the point that the combination of codification, meritocracy and performativity has potentially debilitating ramifications for the performance of this cohort of pre-service teachers. In this instance, language is a codification mechanism and a means towards epistemological access. This paper posits the viewpoint that the sociocultural backgrounds of the cohort predispose them to the resultant negative effects of the combination of the three factors. The study that forms the basis of this article used the qualitative theoretical orientation of the transformative paradigm to pursue a critical emancipatory and transformative theoretical agenda. This agenda is embodied in the recommendations that are informed by an infusion of the literature, the participants’ observations, as accrued from the data, and the researcher’s reflections. The intention of this social-justice-oriented support strategy is to make an implied decolonial contribution towards counteracting and diffusing the potentially debilitating effects of the combination of codification, meritocracy and performativity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Re-imagining higher education leadership – in conversation with South African female deputy vice-chancellors
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Moodly, Adele L.; Toni, Noluthando M.
    Part of the decolonisation and transformation of higher education institutions is the re-construction of its leadership. This requires not only a review but also a dissolution of traditions, conventions and organisational forms that universities have inherited, including a re-imagining of leadership in higher education. Equity in representation of women in leadership has been acknowledged locally and internationally as part of the transformation agenda towards sustainable leadership. The authors argue that decolonisation and transformation are not mutually exclusive processes in the South African context, but that transformational leadership is part of the decolonisation process. This should embrace women’s ways of leadership in reconstructing leadership. The paper reflects on empirical data from personal interviews with three deputy-vice-chancellors on their journeys to leadership, with a focus on psychological and cultural factors (at the micro and meso levels), their career-pathing, personal characteristics and their experiences. These experiences are considered in the context of literature on women and leadership, using critical discourse analysis. It gives insight into the pathways that women often follow and provokes us to re-imagine the construct of “leadership”. The paper concludes with recommendations on the impact of psychological and cultural factors and the importance of the implementation of transformative policies, affirming male and female role models, institutional support structures and career planning which should form part of the decolonisation and transformation of conventions in capacity-building towards equity and sustainable leadership.
  • ItemOpen Access
    English studies: decolonisation, deparochialising knowledge and the null curriculum
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Chaka, Chaka; Lephalala, Mirriam; Ngesi, Nandipha
    This paper reports on a desktop review study of undergraduate and postgraduate English studies (both English literature and English language) module offerings (n = 48) of 24 English departments at 17 South African higher education institutions (HEIs) conducted in 2017. The review focused on the presence and purpose of the term, decolonisation, in these module offerings. Framed within deparochialism and a null curriculum, and employing purposeful sampling and explicit inclusion criteria common in systematic reviews and meta-analyses, the study has the following findings: (a) decolonisation has a presence in only three undergraduate module offerings and it is mentioned in only one honours module offering among the 48 module offerings reviewed. (b) All four modules are English literature modules; (c) decolonisation is a module thematic or topical component and is used for critical analytical purposes in the identified modules in varying degrees. (d) In the three undergraduate modules, decolonisation is restricted to African literature or Africa writings and (e) in the postgraduate module, decolonisation is offered as one of the four optional stand-alone modules. Finally, the paper argues for a decolonisation that deparochialises the disciplines of English studies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Resilience of the socio-educational afterschool and community intervention drop-in centre
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Mampane, M. R.
    This study seeks to describe the socio-educational afterschool intervention programme run by a drop-in centre to fight poverty, strengthen and build resilience in families and school microsystems. Indigenous psychology is used as a theoretical lens to understand the school, family and community response to contextual challenges and how resilience is conceptualised. The study took place at a drop-in centre, working with families, schools and community organisations in the Pretoria township of Mamelodi, South Africa. Methods used to collect data included a focus group with community care workers (CCWs) (n = 10) employed by the drop-in centre and a participatory reflection and action (PRA) method with caregivers (n = 18) of schoolchildren attending the drop-in centre. The focus group and PRA workshop were audio-recorded and transcribed. The community intervention programme uses a systems approach to fight poverty, build capacity and sustainability in families and school systems. Findings suggest that caregivers view the educational success and achievement of their children as an indication of their own success and accomplishment of their dreams, with the aim to uplift and dignify the family standing in society and to alleviate or eradicate poverty. Socio-educational programmes for children and families serve to strengthen resilience in families and to decolonise the social programmes and policies. Furthermore, CCWs confirmed that to ensure sustainability, three systems of child development are considered, namely the family (home visits), the school (satellite centres within the school) and the individual system (life-skills programme).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sustaining good management practices in public schools: decolonising principals’ minds for effective schools
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Buka, Andrea Mqondiso; Matiwane-Mcengwa, Nomzi Florida; Molepo, Maisha
    While there are perspectives on how to approach decolonisation and transformation of education in schools, the reality is that all rests with individuals and ways that they change their attitudes and mind-set. In the midst of mismatch in the minds of teachers and principals about these two concepts, another confusing term is “democracy” that comes with human rights. The connotation of democracy causes the mind to revert back and propagate the principles of colonisation where individual laxity overwhelms the duties or responsibilities, even accountability to society. In the battle of emancipating individuals’ mind, special reference can be drawn from the general assumption that imperialism aspects, including apartheid, profoundly affected the mind of the oppressed negatively in that during the post-apartheid era the oppressed still entangle themselves tightly. This article attempts to report on the qualitative findings from a pragmatic paradigm study conducted in one education district in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, where face-to-face interviews were carried out with 10 participants (5 chairpersons of school governing bodies and 5 principals) from 5 public schools with document analysis. Thematically analysed findings portray that some school principals enjoyed being ”big baas” (bosses) and displayed unprofessional conducts such as absenteeism or lack of punctuality where nepotism and corruption prevailed.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Unmasking the ramifications of the fees-must-fall-conundrum in higher education institutions in South Africa: a critical perspective
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Mutekwe, Edmore
    The purpose of this study was to explore the ramifications of the fees-must-fall-protests that rocked South Africa’s universities for a couple of months in the years 2015 and 2016. Using a critical perspective, the thesis of the study is that the shutting down of universities in the context of student protests was neither unique nor original to South Africa for it has been a preferred weapon of repression by dictators all over the world. Several post-independence African governments invoke this weapon many times to silence dissenting voices. The data to embellish arguments in this study were gathered through focus group discussion interview sessions (FGDIS) from 40 participants purposefully sampled from 26 South African universities. The analysis of data followed a thematic approach with themes emerging from the FGDIS forming the basis of the discussion of the findings. Chief among the findings was that despite the salutary role of student protests as a force for social change well-established and never being gainsaid, higher education fees needs to fall, albeit cautiously. The fees-must-fall protests raised an important consciousness of how challenging a colonised education system can lead to academic disruptions. The key conclusion drawn was that if tuition fees dry up as would be the case if a fee-free decolonised education policy were to be adopted prematurely, the country could suffer severe consequences such as inevitable budget cuts, compromised research standards, demoralised academics and curtailed university offerings. The recommendations made included a need for governmental commitment to calm the students’ temper tantrums before they spiral out of control and for curriculum decolonisation advocates to denounce the government’s repressive tendencies if a truly decolonised education system is to be realised.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The relevance of the school governance body to the effective decolonisation of education in South Africa
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Duku, N.; Salami, I. A.
    Decolonisation of education is understood in this paper as a means of formalising indigenous culture and knowledge within the formal school system. The focus of this paper is to see how the School Governance Body (SGB) can bring about decolonised education for sustainable development. The African societal culture and traditions seem to be misunderstood and side-lined today because of the privilege enjoyed by western values in formal education used to develop African children. The involvement of people at the grass roots who are still endowed with vast knowledge on this cultural heritage should be considered as an option. The South African school system gave room for community participation in the administration and management of schools under the system of School Governing Bodies (SGBs). These bodies have the potential of being a good source of indigenous knowledge and culture to the school system that will make the education more relevant and functional; hence, leading to sustainable development, if it is properly planned and tapped into. For this to happen, there is the need to examine the relevance of the body through close analysis of its composition and strength to assist in the decolonisation of education. This study adopted an ethnography approach of qualitative research. Three rural-based Eastern Cape communities were used where 18 parents participated in the study. Data were gathered through key informant interviews (KII) and focus group discussions (FGD). One of the results is that traditional leaders are part of the SGB, which makes it a good source of indigenous knowledge and traditions. It was recommended that the composition of the members of SGBs should statutorily include a recognised knowledgeable individual (RKI) in the community to make the body a good source of indigenous knowledge.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Quality education for sustainable development: are we on the right track? Evidence from the TIMSS 2015 study in South Africa
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Alex, J. K.; Juan, A.
    Obtaining quality education provides the foundation for improving people’s lives and contributes to sustainable development. The world has come a long way in achieving the goal of equality in primary education for girls and boys, but few countries have achieved that target at all levels of education, as reported by UNICEF (2016). The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, in 2016, warned that social ills such as South Africa’s high levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment have an effect on the quality of education offered, taking into account different levels of education at various schools. South Africa now participates in many national and international benchmarking studies to assess its progress in the quality of schooling and in specific areas of the curriculum against international standards. The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is one of the studies in which South Africa has participated since 1995. Subsequent to 1995, the country has made considerable progress in mathematics and science achievement – key subjects for much-needed national development. Approximately 12 500 grade 9 learners participated in the 2015 TIMSS from South Africa. The purpose of this paper is therefore to investigate the contextual factors that exist and to critically assess the progress made by senior phase mathematics learners in TIMSS 2015. This is to make recommendations in order to accelerate this progress thereby positively contributing to learners’ performance in the Eastern Cape and, in the long term, to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as laid out in the National Development Plan of 2030 for South Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Creating sustainable physical sciences learning environments: a case for decolonised and transformative learning
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Tlali, Moeketsi Freddie
    There is an urgent need for transformation and decolonisation of teaching and learning of physical sciences. This need is evidenced by, among other factors, the alarming rate at which learner enrolment in physical sciences and science education, in general, is decreasing. Central to these causes is apparent, persistent below-expectation learner performance in science education, which, in turn, causes scepticism about the quality of teaching and learning, and questions about the quality of support given to teachers to sustain the required level of learner performance. Thus, decolonisation and transformation of teaching and learning should persistently pursue meaningful and functional knowledge creation. To this end, service-learning projects for teaching and learning physical sciences hold promise. The main reason for this consideration resides in the empowering capacity and resultant decolonising and transformative nature of the created knowledge. Thus, using service-learning projects to create knowledge that is meaningful and functional is equivalent to creating sustainable physical sciences learning environments. Bricolage’s principles of multiple perspectives and multiple theories served as a useful lens for scrutinising the diverse knowledge of the participants. Van Dijk’s socio-cognitive critical discourse analysis was pivotal for analysing, interpreting and making sense of participants’ prevalent knowledge and experiences. The principles of participatory action research and free attitude interviews were applied as an approach and technique for data generation. The major finding suggests that using service learning projects to create sustainable (physical sciences) learning environments, contributes substantially to decolonising and transforming teaching and learning.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Enhancing the teaching and learning of auditing: the case for descriptive feedback
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Qhosola, Makeresemese Rosy
    This paper demonstrates how the use of adequate descriptive feedback on assessment enhances the teaching, learning and academic performance of learners of auditing. Literature shows that this mode of feedback is transformative as it relies heavily on the particular, specific and localised learning styles of the individual learner. It also decolonises learning because learners are required to capitalise on their own meaningful indigenous strategies of learning. In order to generate data, the study used Critical Accounting Research as the theoretical framework, which emphasises the importance of delving deeper into socio-economic contexts to understand how good performance is created and sustained in the teaching and learning of auditing. Focus was on a selected school in the Free State where one grade 10 class, which used conventional feedback, was compared to another grade 10 class where descriptive feedback was used in the teaching of accounting. Tape recording of lessons in the respective classes was done. These were transcribed verbatim and critical discourses analysis was used to make sense of the data. The findings reveal that learners in the latter class were empowered to be critical and creative in their knowledge of auditing while the former continued to use rote and memorising approaches. Descriptive feedback created transformative spaces in the auditing classroom, made learners aware of multiple positions that can be assumed on any matter, ensured inclusivity of many forms of knowledges and showed that effective and continuous feedback was essential in discharging many misconceptions in auditing. The recommendation is that more classes of auditing should use descriptive feedback to transform and decolonise the learning of auditing.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Education for sustainable development in the era of decolonisation and transformation
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Mahlomaholo, Sechaba; Payi, Mzolisi
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    A socially inclusive teaching strategy for transforming the teaching of English first additional language
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Malebese, M. L.
    This paper explores ways of including indigenous knowledge systems in the teaching of English First Additional Language (EFAL). The aim is to use a socially inclusive teaching strategy in such a manner that the imbalances that past oppressive regimes brought into the teaching and learning of a second language, EFAL in this case, is challenged and possibly reversed. A desperate need for basic educational resources understandably warrants the promotion of a culture that is conducive to learning. Lacking resources are not limited to teacher knowledge, as can be gleaned from schools situated in rural settings. Undesirable cultures and conditions not conducive to learning prevail at the expense of hope and socially just educational practices. Indigenous knowledge systems and community cultural wealth, embedded in rural settings, are often underplayed and ignored. However, if incorporated in the teaching and learning process, they can create a familiar learning environment. In this paper, a socially inclusive teaching strategy was found to be helpful in ensuring the sustenance of transformation of learning while simultaneously contributing to the transformation of teaching English first additional language. This transformative charter of the paper warrants the framing of critical emancipatory research (CER) while adapting participatory action research principles to engage those affected by the problem and to determine solutions captured through meetings, workshops, document analysis, focus groups discussions and observations. The conversations were audio- and videotaped for the purpose of data analysis at the later stage. The reflections that permeate the analytic, interpretive and educative phases of CER, discourses that were subjected to van Dijk’s socio-cognitive critical discourse analysis, were found to be very helpful. Research findings confirm the two-way relationship between the availability of educational resources and learner attainment.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Transformation and decolonisation of mathematics education for sustainable development: a case study of its learning trend in Nigeria
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Salami, I. A.; Okeke, C. I. O.
    The quest to contextualise education in Africa has been on-going for a while and many countries have been making efforts towards it. During this time of educational review, conscious efforts should be made to identify problematic levels of some subjects that are dreadful to the learners to pave the way for curriculum re-design for context appropriateness. Mathematics learning in African countries has been a source of concern to all educational stakeholders despite several efforts towards its deconstruction. An examination of performance trend in the subject might reveal at what point the learning started declining and this will suggest intervention towards decolonisation of its content. This study measured the academic performance of pupils from preschool level up to the end of primary education (VI class). A descriptive survey research design was adopted and 720 Primary VI pupils were selected through multi-stage sampling technique in a state in Nigeria. Primary School Mathematics Performance Record Sheet (PSM_PRS) was used to collect mathematics scores from preschool through Primary VI class. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and graphs. Pupils started experiencing major declines in mathematics from Primary III class. Results also indicate no significant difference in the class where male and female pupils’ performances started declining. Therefore, there is the need to review and contextualise mathematics content from third year in primary/elementary school for effective learning. Activity-based and exploratory strategies using contextual experiences and resources to deliver mathematics lessons were recommended for third year in primary/elementary schools and beyond.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Transformation of teaching quality in secondary school education: teachers’ conception
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Ojo, O. A.; Adu, E. O.
    Teaching is a versatile and valued exercise that is geared towards bringing about achievement in students’ learning. In view of the importance of teaching, there is need for it to be effective and of good quality. Education in secondary school within South Africa is seen as an imperative sub-sector in the educational system that aids the growth of the economic system through transformation. Although, there are various transformational systems to improve teaching quality in education, it is generally believed that there is no common agreement on what transformation systems entail in secondary school education in developing nations. This study investigates the perceptions of teachers in the transformation of teaching quality education in secondary schools. Eight teachers were selected from four secondary schools in the East London Education District in South Africa. The respondents varied in gender, age, years of teaching experience, academic qualifications and professional qualifications. The study used semi-structured interviews to gather data. A thematic approach was used for data analysis while trustworthiness was adopted for the validity of the instrument. The findings revealed that some of the teachers were aware of the need for transformation to improve the secondary school education system in South Africa. However, it was noticed that there was no adequate training and monitoring on the use of infrastructure. In addition, the findings further indicated that some teachers have a negative perception toward any additional role in transforming and improving the quality of teaching. Furthermore, the findings also indicated that transformation in teaching should be the responsibility of the government and head of schools. In light of this, the study recommended that policy makers should increase the budget on secondary school education as well as monitor the process of implementation to achieve the desired goal. Moreover, there should be regular effective training and workshops for teachers in secondary schools to remind them of their roles and responsibilities in teaching.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Teachers’ perspectives on transforming teacher education curriculum for relevance to basic education for sustainable development
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017) Cishe, E. N.
    The study sought to investigate teachers’ perspectives on how the teacher education curriculum could be transformed to be relevant for basic schooling and contribute to sustainable development. The objective was to understand the views of the university lecturers, teachers in schools and teacher trainees on the relevance of the curriculum offered at a university to the school curriculum. The school curriculum reform from the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) in South Africa (SA) brought about changes in the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and teaching approaches and teachers are obliged to keep up with these changes, understand the PCK and change their teaching approaches to fit the new curriculum. In addition, teacher trainees (university graduates) are expected to teach the same curriculum when allocated to schools for teaching practice. Based on this expectation, I argue that there seems to be an assumption that changes in the school curriculum find their way to the universities and influence the content of teacher education curriculum whereas this may not be the case. The teacher education curriculum does not focus on the content offered in schools but academic content and engages students in theories that would enable them to see the world differently. A qualitative interpretive approach to generate data through semi-structured interviews from teacher trainees, schoolteachers and university lecturers who were purposively selected was used. The approach was used in order to understand the views of the participants on how the teacher education curriculum could be transformed in order to be relevant to basic schooling. Findings revealed that the teacher education curriculum is not relevant for basic schooling in that teacher trainees are not exposed to the curriculum offered in schools; traditional teaching approaches are still used at the university whereas schools use outcomes-based approaches. As a result, teacher trainees find it difficult to navigate the system. The paper recommends that there is a need to transform the teacher education curriculum so that it becomes relevant and contributes to sustainable development.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Call for papers: Education for sustainable development in the era of decolonisation and transformation
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2017)