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ࡱ> %` bjbjٕ 1?&  $J$J$J8\JDJ )XKnK"KKKf$g\Mh0$ݪhEvΨ }cf}}Ψ"KKi}h K K}RT  KLK @#;tܥ$JDHTT0)fŇ~< D}hotx}h}h}hΨΨCd}h}h}h)}}}} =$J $J      Employment and employability: expectations of higher education responsiveness in South Africa Dr Glenda Kruss Chief Research Specialist Research Programme: Human Resources Development Human Sciences Research Council Tel: 27 21 467 4444 Fax: 27 21 4612696 Email:  HYPERLINK "mailto:gkruss@hsrc.ac.za" gkruss@hsrc.ac.za Address: Private Bag X9182 Cape Town 8000 South Africa Biographical note Dr Glenda Kruss is currently Chief Research Specialist in the Research Programme: Human Resource Development at the Human Sciences Research Council. She was formerly based in the Faculty of Education at the University of the Western Cape and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2001. Her recent research has focused on higher education, exploring the nature of private provision, the issue of higher education responsiveness to economic and social needs, and higher education-industry innovation partnerships. Abstract The paper explores the expectations of higher education responsiveness of key employer, education and training constituencies in South Africa. Empirical data was gathered through a series of focus group and individual interviews, and analysed in terms of distinctions in the ideal relationship between education and the workplace. The paper demonstrates that there are clear differences in the way the call for responsiveness is framed and legitimated in the expectations of representatives of the private and public sectors, Professional Associations, Sectoral Education and Training Authorities and higher education institutions. Neverthless, a common new model of employability that assumes a direct link between higher education and the labour market increasingly underpins these expectations. The tacit skills, knowledge and attitudes formerly developed through work experience are now expected to be an integral part of higher education programmes and curricula, to provide the soft, transverse, life or high skills - as they are variously termed by different sectors. In developing these insights, the study aims to inform the ways in which the higher education sector in South Africa can actively negotiate the terms of its engagement in a new global and national policy context that assigns it new economic roles. Introduction Since 1994, education policy in South Africa been strongly influenced by the new global demand that the education and training offered by higher education institutions should become more responsive to the needs and expectations of industry, of the state and of society, to ensure economic and social prosperity. The development of a highly educated workforce is posed as a priority for the new goal of building a knowledge based economy in South Africa, to provide education and training to a larger number of citizens than in the past. The call for higher education to become more responsive to societal and economic needs, globally and in South Africa, is largely premised on the desirability of a more direct and closer relationship between higher education and economic development. The relationship between higher education and economic development is not necessarily direct, nor straightforward, nor causal. Analysts such as Wolf (2002: xii), in arguing that the notion of education spending in, economic growth out is a myth, remind us of the complexity and conditionality of the relationship, as well as the core purposes of education. For the danger inherent in contemporary calls for responsiveness is that the role of higher education becomes reduced solely to its economic purpose, ignoring the social, moral, cultural and intellectual purposes of education. Centrally, there is a related danger that the focus of higher education becomes imparting the skills required in the workplace, rather than the production and dissemination of knowledge (see Jacob and Hellstrom 2000). Thus, as elsewhere, an often polemical debate has emerged in South Africa, with diverse interpretations of whether higher education should become more responsive, what it should become more responsive to, and how it should become more responsive (Centre for Development and Enterprise 2000, Creamer 2000, Du Toit 2001, Ensor 2001, Gewers 2001, Moore 2001, Muller 2001, Singh 2001b). For higher education institutions and their leadership, in order to traverse this new terrain, to engage with the challenges and changing demands of their role, it becomes important to understand the new expectation of responsiveness in the South African policy context. Singh (2001a:1) has argued that for higher education to avoid becoming reduced to the handmaiden of the economy requires a more active negotiation or renegotiation about the nature of higher education institutions and their special contribution to social and economic development, as well as the terms of their insertion and functioning within the economy. In this regard, she points out that, alongside identifying policy shifts and the conditions to negotiate the new more complex and nuanced socio-economic roles, it will be important for the national higher education sector to identify who it has to engage with, and what arguments it can make to convince other social players. This paper aims to contribute to developing such insights by presenting an empirical study of the expectations of responsiveness of key social players, of four distinct employer constituencies, and of higher education providers themselves. Each employer constituency is central in its own way to shaping the contribution of higher education in South Africa: the public sector, the private sector, professional associations and the new Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). The paper begins by briefly describing national policy expectations and then the method used in the study to access expectations of responsiveness. It goes on to develop an analytical framework to conceptualise responsiveness in South Africa, by drawing a distinction between educating for employment and for employability. On this basis, the expectations of responsiveness of each of the five constituencies are examined. In concluding, the kinds of engagement made possible for the higher education sector by the insights developed through the empirical and analytical study are identified. Economic growth and equity: new symbolic policy Global economic changes the requirement of flexibility, adaptability and innovation, the development of information technology and the emergence of the networking firm collaborating to enable competitiveness have led to new education and training demands (see for instance, Altbach 1991, Delanty 2000, Etkowitz et al 1998). Most significant is the proposed need for a highly skilled labour force able to employ new technologies and add value to existing goods and services. Critically, these generalised skills and capabilities are developed through a broad general education, and not through a narrow, enterprise system of training. Such an analysis has strongly influenced new higher education policy in South Africa since 1994 (see for example, Kraak 2000). Based largely on the recommendations of the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) (1996), the White Paper on Education and Training 3 (WPET) (1997: 1.12) set the parameters for developing national higher education policy by defining a three-fold role for institutions: Human resource development: the mobilization of human talent and potential through lifelong learning to contribute to the social, economic, cultural and intellectual life of a rapidly changing society High-level skills training: the training and provision of person power to strengthen this countrys enterprises, services and infrastructure. This requires the development of professionals and knowledge workers with globally equivalent skills, but who are socially responsible and conscious of their role in contributing to the national development effort and social transformation Production, acquisition and application of new knowledge: national growth and competitiveness is dependent on technological improvement and innovation, driven by a well organized, vibrant research and development system which integrates the research and training capacity of higher education with the needs of industry and of social reconstruction. The WPET (1997) thus reflects the new global consensus, but emphasizes a national commitment to balancing dual policy goals of equity and economic development. Kraak (2001) has analysed current higher education policy to trace the ways in which a discourse of global competitiveness and economic development has been in tension with a popular democratic discourse of equity and redress, and a residual discourse of a functionally stratified higher education system. The National Plan for Higher Education (2001) for the first time set out to develop measures and instruments for implementing this vision, which had largely taken the form of symbolic policy. As Samoff (1996) has noted, a great deal of education policy making in South Africa has taken the form of policy frameworks, as opposed to substantive policy documents. The NCHE (1996), the WPET (1997) and the Higher Education Act (1997) have only set the symbolic framework for new higher education policy (see also Cooper 2001). While a commitment to responsiveness lies at the heart of higher education policy, there are few substantive policy texts and mechanisms to direct what form responsiveness should take, or how it should unfold. The goal of responsiveness has been open to competing processes of mediation on the part of the state, business and industry, and professional associations - to contested understandings of policy texts and of the strategies for their implementation (Kruss, Sayed and Badat 2001). Understanding these divergent expectations of responsiveness thus becomes critical for attempts by higher education institutions to position themselves in the new context. The study: accessing expectations of responsiveness Elucidating the positions of five broad, sizable and loosely defined constituencies is a difficult task. A study by Immerwahr (1999) of the expectations of higher education on the part of American higher education managers, government officials and business leaders took the form of a quantitative survey. The method adopted for the present study was to select key senior representatives of each constituency for focus group interviews, complemented by interviews with targeted high profile individuals. This was more appropriate for the concern to explore the expectations of distinct interest groups, in a context where little prior research has been conducted on the trend towards responsiveness. It became clear that each constituency itself reflected internal contestation, and an attempt was made to select organizations that would cover a wide spectrum of positions. For the public sector, officials from selected key national departments representing and working with high skill sectors of employment were identified, for focus group and individual interviews. Private sector business and industry leaders were accessed through a range of national business organizations representing the historical organisation of the field, to cover fields of high skill employment and interests. A range of Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) operating in fields of high skill employment, and reflecting sectors with and without established Industrial Training Boards, were included. Professional Quality Assurance bodies included both statutory, long established, and newly established black empowerment bodies. Higher education providers were selected to reflect a mix of historically advantaged and disadvantaged public universities and technikons (career and technology oriented higher education institutions akin to polytechnics), based in a single geographical region. In addition, two private providers representing those operating most like universities were selected (Kruss 2002). CEOs and Director Generals were invited to attend the focus group interviews, but in some cases responsibility was cascaded down through the organization, with one to three individuals representing each organisation. Further in-depth individual interviews were held with selected high profile vice-chancellors, CEOs of higher education associations and CEOs of large companies, six in total. The initial impression was of a great deal of convergence between the five constituencies, but at the same time, subtle but distinct differences were evident. In the course of systematic engagement with the data, it became evident that this convergence has an empirical and conceptual basis, in that there is a common logic underpinning emerging expectations of responsiveness in South Africa. Employment and employability: higher education and the labour market At the heart of the call for responsiveness lies a proposed new relationship between higher education and the labour market, which was identified as the key for analysis. Analysing responsiveness Brown and Lauder (1996) have provided an analysis of education and economic development in the current global context. They make the critical point that instead of guaranteeing full employment, the role of the state now is to invest in education and training to enable workers to become fully employable. They have made a critical distinction between the goal of employment, where skills are linked to specific occupations and economic trajectories, and employability, where the focus is on skills formation to develop a highly educated workforce that is equipped for greater occupational mobility and flexible work patterns. An analytic frame was developed to describe and analyse the empirical data, based on two distinctions. Firstly, a distinction was drawn between whether a direct or indirect link with the labour market is proposed, implicitly or explicitly. Secondly, a distinction was drawn between whether higher education institutions are preparing for employment, with knowledge, skills and attitudes required for specific occupational roles for which jobs are virtually guaranteed, or for employability, with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required generally in any number of possible occupational roles.      The analytical distinction can be illustrated by means of a consideration of the dominant models of the relationship between education and the workplace that have operated traditionally in South African higher education. Universities and the labour market Universities education and training role traditionally had two mandates a core focus on general education, and a secondary focus on professional education. Hirsch and Weber have succinctly summarized the ways in which the obligations of the university have been met traditionally: Contributions to knowledge and to the economic well-being of society are accomplished chiefly at the graduate/professional level; production of educated citizens is accomplished chiefly at the undergraduate level; and production of future leaders of society, encouragement of productive interactions among persons of diverse backgrounds, and appreciation of the value of the pursuit of knowledge are accomplished at all levels (Hirsch and Weber 1999: viii). There are two dominant models that have traditionally linked these roles with the labour market in South Africa. To teach people to think and explore the unknown The dominant model of the relationship between higher education and the labour market underpinning the general education focus of undergraduate qualifications such as BA or BSc, is one of employability with an indirect link to the labour market. Completion of the degree or diploma represents the end point of formal education and training, and the assumption is that graduates will proceed immediately upon qualifying to the workplace, to a job. Work experience and occupational specialization are the preserve and domain of the employers in the labour market, who build on the general foundation laid by higher education institutions to develop the requisite specialised skills, knowledge and dispositions to produce skilled employees.  Deferred employment pending professional education and training In contrast, the dominant model underpinning professional and graduate education is one of deferred employment, with an indirect link to the labour market pending professional specialisation. That is, higher education indirectly prepares graduates with general and specialist technical knowledge for professional employment, which is completed by professional associations in co-operation with employers in the workplace. Once a graduate has a degree, professional specialized knowledge is provided through mentored work experience, controlled, regulated and accredited by professional associations, in their capacity as statutory bodies. The employer focuses on providing the specialised practice and experiential knowledge required. Only then, is formal education and training and accreditation completed, and the graduate is professionally ready for the labour market. Employment in the occupational role is virtually guaranteed with the achievement of the professional qualification.  Technikons and the labour market - We only offer programmes whose title has a job A contrasting model has dominated technikons, which were mandated to prepare graduates directly for employment. Students are provided primarily with specialised training to prepare them for technical and technological competence. Experiential learning, structured in blocks of work experience, is a crucial component of these training programmes. The technikons provide the specialized technological theory, and the workplace provides the technological practice. Workplace experience is a critical component of the qualification. When a graduate leaves the technikon with their diploma or latterly, degree, they can proceed directly to employment ready for work as a skilled employee. Again, achievement of the qualification virtually guarantees employment, often by the company that provided workplace experience.     Emerging new models? The following sections will use the analytical distinction between in/direct employment and employability, to explore the expectations of responsiveness of each of the five constituencies. The Public Sector: the product that walks out must meet the needs of the economy In their mediation of policy, the public sector officials interviewed clearly reflected their position as government representatives. Senior officials from the Departments of Arts, Science and Technology, Transport, Trade and Industry, and Public Service and Administration, as well as from the National Productivity Institute, participated in focus groups and individual interviews. Their expectations of higher education responsiveness were framed in terms of a discourse characterized by a strong commitment to national economic and social development, with an emphasis on equity as redress of inequalities of the past. What stood out most strongly from discussions with these officials was the unquestioned, taken for granted assumption that there is, or should be, a direct relationship between higher education institutions and the labour market in the current context. In explaining the new ideal role of higher education, public sector officials particularly focused on the notion of meeting scarce skills needs. They argued that higher education institutions need to expand their existing focus to prepare graduates for new forms of employment in new economic areas where there is little existing expertise in South Africa, but which are significant for national economic development and global competitiveness. The assumption of a direct link was evident in the criticism that while it may be possible to find sufficient numbers of graduates, they do not have the right kind of skills, and employers have to spend time training graduates: So it means that when you left the higher education system, you were not prepared for what you ultimately do. The product that walks out does not meet the needs of industry, so higher education is not responding to the needs of industry, be it in numbers, be it in knowledge or skills (Interview with Senior official, Governent Department, 18 April 2002). The missing skills were general, identified as transverse skills such as business management, project management, people and entrepreneurial skills (See Ball 1985 for elaboration on the high skills typically regarded as essential). Officials in the public sector did not promote a narrow technicist vocationalisation of programmes, but instead, promoted an integrated package of specialized core and general skills. This is a crucial distinction, as public sector leaders were not arguing for specialised skills only, to prepare graduates for employment directly. Rather, they argued that higher education should broaden and expand its traditional scope, to ensure that critical and analytical skills are better focused and directly relevant to economic needs. This echoes the global policy consensus that what is required are graduates who are well-educated more than people who are specifically trained (Hirsch and Weber 1999:9). This makes the institutions role in preparing for the workplace during degree programmes critical, in the form of placements, internships and even learnerships. Moreover, public sector officials argued that in a context of job losses, students may have to create their own jobs, and should be prepared with the relevant skills. A major shift from the dominant model of the link between universities, work experience and the workplace is evident in the conceptions of responsiveness articulated by public sector officials. Officials interviewed expected higher education institutions themselves to undertake the development of graduates that was previously achieved by work experience immediately after graduating from higher education. The explicit claim was made that higher education institutions are responsible for ensuring that graduates are ready to operate as skilled employees in the workplace, rather than employers being required to invest in the requisite tacit knowledge, skills and dispositions. This conception draws on the traditions of the professions and of technikon training, but modifies them in significant ways. First, it extends to new vocational and professional categories, particularly scarce skills, as well as to existing professions, and even to general degree programmes. Second, whereas in the professional tradition, the link between higher education and the workplace was viewed as indirect, now, it is expected to be direct. Third, the technical or professional specialised education that occurred in the workplace and under the guidance of the professional associations is now expected to be included within the higher education institutions programmes themselves. There is strong evidence that public sector Departments see themselves as playing a developmental role to assist higher education institutions to become responsive in line with these expectations, particularly to assist historically disadvantaged institutions to prepare historically disadvantaged individuals to become directly employable in new occupational fields arising out of, and leading to, economic development. Examples of mechanisms and strategies for intervention were cited, such as funding programmes and bursaries, promoting specific curricular and programme foci, and encouraging consortia of institutions to offer new programmes in partnership. For instance, the Department of Transport is developing regional Centres of Development, aimed at ensuring that institutions initiate and strengthen programmes to build a pool of transport professionals. Business and industry leaders: High level skills for global competitiveness Narrow vocationalism? There is a concern, particularly on the part of research universities, that business and industry have a short term, narrow technical vocationalist understanding of higher education, and that vocational qualifications are increasingly privileged over formative general academic courses by the market (see for example Jansen 2000). Such a conception is most like the dominant model of the technikon, or more accurately, an adaptation of the model of professional education, but modified by the expectation that the degree or diploma can directly prepare a work-ready graduate with the right vocational or professional skills and technical knowledge to meet the immediate needs of the market. This narrow technical vocationalist framing of responsiveness was not strongly evident amongst the representatives of business and industry interviewed, namely senior managers from a range of umbrella organisations, Business South Africa, the National African Federated Chambers of Commerce, the South African Chamber of Business, the Business Referall and Information Network working with SMMEs, and the Foundation of African Business. This does not lead to the conclusion that such expectations do not exist, but rather, it poses a caveat that the expectations of those represented in this study are not the only way in which business and industry leaders a disparate and amorphous constituency - mediate policy. Global competitiveness and the knowledge economy The business and industry leaders interviewed tended to frame a sophisticated view of responsiveness, legitimized primarily in terms of its significance for ensuring global competitiveness and the development of a knowledge economy, although recognizing the demands of national development in South Africa. This position was most succinctly articulated by one business leader, who argued that the ideal role of higher education would be: To get people within our business that will allow us to compete internationally in a broader context, the quality of the people with skills and also with enquiring minds that will allow you to get there, with a broader ethic and a way of going about problems and problem solving, but also to become actively engaged in problems of the society that were dealing with (Individual interview, CEO of large financial sector company, 15 April 2002). The claim was made that a pool of highly skilled workers attract investors to a country, thus leading to economic growth, and conversely, that labour market issues (principally, inflexibility and an inadequately skilled labour force) are seen as a key obstacle for investment in South Africa. These leaders tended to describe the ideal role of higher education, particularly universities, primarily in terms of its knowledge function, of adding to the body of knowledge. The expectation here was that higher education needs to take a long-term view, to sustain itself to perform this knowledge-generating role. Business leaders warned that if higher education operates according to the short-term cycles of business, it would have disastrous long-term consequences for innovation, development and economic competitiveness in a global knowledge economy. These private sector leaders did not emphasise strongly issues of equity or redress. Their primary reference point tended to be outward, to the global economy, and equity issues were reflected in that light. There was a pragmatic sense that if broader social problems were not addressed, the long-term interests of the private sector could not be met. Representatives of black empowerment business organizations tended to raise equity issues at appropriate points, but they did not disagree with the core position espoused by the mainstream business associations. It is evident that while there was a positive vision of the role higher education could and should play, there was a negative assessment of the role higher education institutions in South Africa are in fact currently playing, by remaining in their silos and not becoming connected with society. The exception of some departments and faculties in some institutions was approvingly cited and held up as cases of best practice to be emulated, for instance, an entrepeneurship department at a technikon that encourages students to create commercial ventures, or a language department that had shifted focus to provide skilled interpreters for tourism and technical industry exchanges. We expect you to hit the ground running Private sector leaders also espoused a direct link between higher education and the job market, expecting higher education to directly prepare young people with skills to make them employable. This was evident most strongly in criticisms of institutions for producing graduates that are unemployable or under- employable, exacerbating unemployment. It was argued that institutions are not supplying the right numbers of graduates in the fields required for development. The generalist approach of the BA degree at most institutions was criticized for failing to provide general and specialised skills to meet the needs of a defined group of clients. This means that currently many companies regard the degree only as an indicator of potential. Leaders expressed resentment that they have to provide training in skills that should have been developed as part of the degree. In particular, higher education institutions were criticized because they do not offer adequate soft skills problem solving, communication, entrepeneurship, good citizenship, managerial skills, leadership skills generic skills that you need to learn across any walk of life (Focus Group Interview, 13 March 2002). Here again is the expectation that what was formerly the preserve of the work place, tacit knowledge, skills and attitudes that were developed through work experience, should become drawn into the essential functions of higher education. These private sector leaders expressed their expectations of responsiveness in terms of a discourse of national economic development for global competitiveness and facilitation of a knowledge economy. Nevertheless, there is strong convergence with the emerging model underpinning the public sectors expectation that the majority of graduates should be prepared with the general and specialised high-level skills required to be employable directly upon leaving the institution. This was succintly summed up in the expectation that once you get out of that institution, we are expecting you to hit the ground running (Focus Group Interview, 13 March 2002). Responsiveness: graduates who are directly employable In a context of the pressures brought to bear by a global, high technology, high skill, low employment economy, there are fewer jobs, and new kinds of jobs, than there were in the past. These economic pressures take a specific form in the South African case with its uneven development, and given the political pressures of social transformation. The historical problems of black schooling have created barriers to access to higher education, both in numerical and quality terms. Taken together, these economic, political, educational and social pressures can begin to explain the shift in the desired link between higher education and the labour market. No longer do the public and private sectors expect higher education to prepare young people indirectly for employability in general degree courses. As Brown et al (2001:258) have succinctly phrased it: the volatile nature of consumer markets, the challenge to assumptions about lifetime employment, and the pace of technological innovations with built-in occupational obsolescence that demand regular periods of retraining are central features of the labour market changes leading to a new emphasis on employability. The new worker is required to be flexible and adaptable and able to learn rapidly. Private and public sector employers now expect higher education to ensure that the majority of graduates are employable in a new sense, that they are directly prepared to become skilled employees. Higher education is expected to provide the general high level soft skills that were tacitly developed in the past. Many of these skills, like management and leadership or conflict resolution were developed experientially through processes in the workplace. In this sense, workplace skills and experiential knowledge are pulled backwards and downwards as a central requirement of degrees and diplomas, to become integral to the task of higher education and a core component of the undergraduate degree programme. Skills such as communication and writing were developed largely through general education in the schools. Many young people, particularly from historically disadvantaged schools, now come to higher education without the requisite tacit knowledge, skills and dispositions. The widespread lament that schools are not preparing young people adequately for higher education is testament to the trend that fundamental skills are now being pushed upwards as central to higher educations task.    Variations on a theme: the emergence of a model of direct employability Such is the underlying logic of responsiveness in the current context, where the failure (or success) of higher education responsiveness is posed as critical for economic growth, development and redress of the past. Analysis suggests that there are differing discursive motivations legitimizing the demand for responsiveness, but that the core new model of the relationship between higher education and work tends to converge, in the expectations of key figures in all five sectors. SETA expectations: preparing for national skills development The Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) have only recently been established in South Africa as key vehicles of the National Skills Development Strategy. They represent business, labour and in some cases, the state as a key employer, with a focus on workplace training and the Further Education and Training band. Senior managers from the Information Systems, Electronic and Telecommunications, Finance and Accounting, Mining Qualifications Authority, Secondary Agriculture, Chemical Industries, Public Services, Education Training and Development Practices and Energy SETAS were interviewed. Although higher education is not their immediate priority, it is identified as a key partner in preparing human resources to meet national skills development needs. Given their focus on a range of fields, and with differing levels of development, the SETA constituency reflects the full range of discursive variation. Some SETA officials framed responsiveness by drawing on a discourse of narrow vocationalism, others on a discourse of the knowledge economy and many on a discourse of national economic and social development, tempered by their direct workplace training concerns. Nevertheless, the core argument evident was that higher education should develop general and specialized knowledge, and especially generic high level life skills, so that graduates become productive in a short period of time, to meet sectoral employment demands. This was summed up in the expectation that when they walk in they can immediately start adding value (Interview, Senior SETA manager, 18 April 2002). It was striking that in practice many of the SETAs have a negative or non-existent relationship with higher education institutions. There was a widespread SETA perception that in practice, higher education institutions are too theoretical, too inflexible, too slow to change, and too much focused on the supply side, failing to take up opportunities to develop programmes to meet new skills needs. There was general agreement that partnerships and linkages with SETAs are crucial and that institutions could play a more active role in driving processes and responding to sectoral priorities. New political imperatives: Professional Associations prepare for employment There are currently two distinct sets of interests, represented in the study by statutory, long established professional associations, namely the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa, the Engineering Council of South Africa and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants on the one hand, and by recently established black professional associations, namely the Black Management Forum, the Association for Black Securities and Investment Professionals and the Association of Black Accountants of South Africa on the other hand. While the new associations play an advocacy role and primarily focus on promoting black empowerment, equity and redress, the established associations continue to play a regulatory role in assuring standards and qualifications. The core assumption of higher education preparing graduates indirectly for the labour market, for deferred employment, remains resilient in underpinning the expectations of all representatives of professional associations. It is modified by two distinct political imperatives, differentially informed by a broad discourse of national economic and social development. The long established professional associations have adapted the traditional model in two ways. First, in a call to broaden the professional curriculum within higher education beyond a technical knowledge approach, to include high level soft skills such as communication, negotiation and analytical skills. For example, there are initiatives to include humanities subjects in the Engineering curriculum. Second, in a call for development programmes to open up the professions to extend access in line with employment equity requirements, in an evolutionary way that maintains professional standards. A number of mechanisms and development programmes have been put in place, to this end. Representatives of the black empowerment professional associations articulated a contrasting political imperative, in a strong call for redress and equity in opening up access to the professional labour market, challenging dominant standards and calling for greater responsiveness to socio-political realities. Nevertheless, they accepted the traditional model of the close relationship between higher education and the professions, based on the assumption that higher education indirectly, (but increasingly, directly) prepares graduates for employment. The long-term view of societal needs: Expectations of the higher education sector Higher education institutions have a very different view of what they should be doing. Leaders interviewed tended to mediate policy in a manner that extends their ideal role far beyond labour market responsiveness. They largely framed their expectations of responsiveness in terms of a classical liberal education discourse, but articulated in different ways and to different degrees with the three labour market discourses national economic and social development, global competitiveness and the knowledge economy, or narrow vocationalism. They emphasised that higher education is oriented to the needs of industry and society, and not only to the present but to the future creation of knowledge. There is a tension evident between and within universities, whether to continue to promote the traditional model of indirect employability, or to develop the new emerging model of direct employability, in relation to their general programmes. Their professional programmes are largely expected to continue to operate in terms of the traditional model, modified in similar ways to the professional associations. In their practice, to differential degrees, higher education institutions have put in place new strategies and mechanisms (such as internships and experiential learning) that promote a model of direct employability, taking into their programmes the tasks of developing the requisite tacit knowledge, skills and attitudes (see for example Luckett 2001). However, large swathes of their educational activity continue to be driven by the traditional model of indirect employability. Thus, while the traditional models currently prevail in practice, the new direct employability model is strongly emergent in (some) public universities. Private institutions in contrast, unequivocally mediate policy to understand responsiveness in terms of a model of direct employability. The technikons for the most part have made discursive shifts in terms of locating themselves alongside and equivalent to universities. There is evidence of the emergence of a new model of direct employability to differential degrees between and within institutions, but much of their activity continues to be driven by a model of direct employment. Conclusion: Active negotiation The paper began by drawing on Singh (2001a:1) to highlight the importance for the national higher education sector to identify who it has to engage with, and what arguments it can make to convince other social players about the complexity of the relationship between education and economic development. The paper has contributed to such a task, by elucidating how key players in the public and private sector, in the professional associations and in the skills development authorities understand the nature, role and contribution of higher education in South Africa, in ideal desired terms. It has demonstrated clear differences in the way employer constituencies frame and legitimate the call for responsiveness, but that a new model of employability that assumes a direct link between higher education and the labour market is emerging. The tacit skills, knowledge and attitudes formerly developed through work experience are now expected to be an integral part of higher education programmes and curricula, to provide the soft, transverse, life or high skills - as they are variously termed by different sectors. In so doing, the paper provides a basis for higher education institutions to identify who they have to negotiate with, and what positions these constituencies promote, in order to identify the potential arguments they can make to convince government, business, other institutions and society in general of their own vision of a transformed higher education in a new national and global context. In short, the paper provides insights to inform active negotiation by higher education institutions of their role and function in a changing, challenging context. Some institutions may fundamentally question that responsiveness implies a model of direct employability, and reassert the veracity of the traditional model of indirect employability. Others may choose to engage with the new expectations and contest the terms of the new roles assigned to higher education. Or they may choose to engage with those who propose a narrow vocationalised version of responsiveness, to encourage more nuanced mediations. Or they may choose to elaborate the implications of a mediation of responsiveness in terms of national economic and social development or global competitiveness. On the basis of understanding that, increasingly, the expectation of responsiveness fundamentally implies preparation for direct employability, meaningful engagement can proceed. Acknowledgements The willingness of individuals and their organisations in each constituency to participate in the focus group and individual interviews is gratefully acknowledged. The study would not have been possible without their giving generously of their time and insights. The intellectual collaboration of Jeanne Gamble, in developing the core distinction of the paper, was invaluable. References Altbach, P. (1991) Patterns in higher education development. Towards the year 2000, Prospects XXI (2) 21-35. Ball, C. (1985) The Triple Alliance: What went wrong? What can be done? Oxford Review of Education, 2(3) 227-234. Ball, S. (1994) Education Reform: A critical and post-structuralist approach (London: Oxford University Press). Brown, P. and Lauder, H. (1996) Education, globalisation and economic development, Journal of Education Policy, II(1) 1-25. Brown, P. Green, A. and Lauder, H. (2001) High Skills. Globalisation, Competitiveness and Skill Formation (London: Oxford University Press). Castells (1996) The Rise of the Network Society: The Information Age: Economy, society and culture (Oxford: Blackwell). Centre for Development Enterprise (2000) The Future of South African Universities. What role for business? Report on Roundtable discussion forum, Centre for Development and Enterprise, Johannesburg. Cloete, N. and Bunting, I. (1999) Higher Education in South Africa in 1999: towards a single co-ordinated system? A Reflecting Piece for the TELP Leadership Seminar. Unpublished Manuscript Cooper, D. (2001) The South African National Plan for Higher Education, International Higher Education, 25 (Fall) 7-9. Creamer, K. (2000) Knowledge for development: positioning technikons to meet the challenge of employment creation and development in South Africa (Johannesburg: Institute for African Alternatives). Delanty, G. (2000) Challenging Knowledge. The university in the knowledge society (London: SRHE). Department of Arts, Culture Science and Technology (1996) White Paper on Science and Technology: Preparing for the Twenty-First Century Pretoria: Government printer. Department of Education (1997) White Paper on Education and Training 3: A Programme for the Transformation of Higher Education Pretoria: Government printer. Department of Education (2001) National Plan for Higher Education Pretoria: Government printer. Du Toit, A. (2001) Disciplinarity, majors and general-formative higher education. Paper presented at the Conference on Globalisation and Higher Education: Views from the South, Education Policy Unit: University of the Western Cape and SRHE, Cape Town, 27-29 March 2001. Ensor, P. (2001) Tensions and cross-currents in academic planning at South African Universities in the late 1990s. Paper presented at the Conference on Globalisation and Higher Education: Views from the South, Education Policy Unit: University of the Western Cape and SRHE, Cape Town, 27-29 March 2001. Etkowitz, H., Webster, A, and Healey, P. (1998) (eds.) Capitalising knowledge. New intersections of industry and academia (Albany: State University of New York Press). Gewers, W. (2001) Higher Education in relation to the market in the South, in the 21st Century. Symposium at Globalisation and Higher Education: Views from the South, Education Policy Unit: University of the Western Cape and SRHE, Cape Town, 27-29 March 2001. Gibbons, M., Limoges, C., Nowotny, H., Schwartzman, S., Scott, P., and Trow, M. (1994) The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies (London: Sage). Hirsch, W. and Weber, L. (eds) (1999) Challenges Facing Higher Education at the Millenium (Phoenix: American Council on Education and Oryx Press). Immerwahr, J. (1999) Taking Responsibility. Leaders Expectations of Higher Education (San Jose, California: National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education). Jacob, M. and Hellstrom, T. (2000) (eds) The Future of Knowledge Production in the Academy (Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press). Jansen, J. (2000). Mode 2 knowledge and institutional life, in Kraak, A. (ed), Changing modes: New knowledge production and its implications for higher education in South Africa (Pretoria: HSRC Publishers) 156-171. Kraak, A. (2000) Changing modes: A brief overview of the Mode 2 knowledge debate and its impact on South African policy formulation, in Kraak, A. (ed), Changing modes: New knowledge production and its implications for higher education in South Africa (Pretoria: HSRC Publishers) 1-37. Kraak, A. (2001) Policy Ambiguity and Slippage: Higher Education under the new State, 1994-2001, in Kraak, A. and Young M. (eds), Education in Restrospect: Policy and Implementation since 1990 (Pretoria: HSRC Publishers) 85-120. Kruss, G. (2001) Towards Human Rights in South African Schools: An agenda for research and practice, Race, Ethnicity and Education, 4(1) 45-62. Kruss, G. (2002) More, Better Different? Understanding Private Higher Education in South Africa, Perspectives in Education, 20 (4) 15-28. Kruss, G., Sayed, Y. and Badat, S. (2001) Implementing New Education Policy at School Level in the Western Cape. Unpublished report to the National Research Foundation. Luckett, K. (2001) Responding to Equity and Development Imperatives: Conceptualising a Structurally and Epistemically Diverse Undergraduate Curriculum in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Paper presented at the conference on Globalisation and Higher Education: Views from the South, Education Policy Unit: University of the Western Cape and SRHE, Cape Town, 27-29 March 2001. Moore, R. (2001) Restructuring Knowledge and Organisation: Contrasting Models of Implementation. Paper presented at the Conference on Globalisation and Higher Education: Views from the South, Education Policy Unit: University of the Western Cape and SRHE, Cape Town, 27-29 March 2001. Muller, J. (2001) Return to User: Responsivity and Innovation in Higher Education. Unpublished paper. National Commission on Higher Education (1996) National Commission on Higher Education Report: A framework for transformation. Pretoria: Government printer. Republic of South Africa, 1997, Higher Education Act 101 of 1997, Pretoria: Government Printer. Samoff, J. (1996) Frameworks! South African Education and Training Policy Documents, 1994-1996. Unpublished paper. Santillanez, E. (1995) Higher Educations Responsiveness in Mexico and the United States to a New Economy and the Impacts of NAFTA (Boulder Colorado: Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education). Singh, M. (2001a) Solutions for the future. Paper presented at Privileges Lost. Responsibilities Gained: Reconstructing Higher Education, A Global Symposium on the Future of Higher Education, Columbia University Teachers College, The Futures Project, The Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies, The Centre for Higher Education Research and Information, 14-15 June 2001. Singh, M. (2001b) Re-inserting the public good into Higher Education Transformation. Paper presented at conference on Globalisation and Higher Education: Views from the South, Cape Town, Education Policy Unit: University of the Western Cape and SRHE, 27-29 March 2001. Van Schoor, W.A. (2000) What they dont teach you at university: skills, values and attitudes for the South African workplace, South African Journal of Education, 20(1) 41-46. Wolf, A. (2002) Does education matter? Myths about education and economic growth (London: Penguin books).     PAGE  PAGE 25  The research was originally commissioned by the Council on Higher Education (CHE), and was presented as a background paper at the CHE colloquium, Building relationships between higher education and private and public sectors and contributing to their high-level person power and knowledge needs, Johannesburg 27-28 June 2002.  Specific details on the organisations involved will be provided in the relevant section below.  More elaborated and nuanced positions were obtained from those in senior management positions in their organization, a feature that marked the interviews with the SETA, higher education and professional association representatives.  Focus group and individual interviews were transcribed and analysed. Research was governed by the HSRC code of Research Ethics, which guaranteed participants confidentiality, in that no statement would be directly attributed to a particular individual or organisation.  Focus group with public sector managers, March 2002. 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ࡱ> %` bjbjٕ 1?&  $J$J$J8\JDJ )XKnK"KKKf$g\Mh0$ݪhEvΨ }cf}}Ψ"KKi}h K K}RT  KLK @#;tܥ$JDHTT0)fŇ~< D}hotx}h}h}hΨΨCd}h}h}h)}}}} =$J $J      Employment and employability: expectations of higher education responsiveness in South Africa Dr Glenda Kruss Chief Research Specialist Research Programme: Human Resources Development Human Sciences Research Council Tel: 27 21 467 4444 Fax: 27 21 4612696 Email:  HYPERLINK "mailto:gkruss@hsrc.ac.za" gkruss@hsrc.ac.za Address: Private Bag X9182 Cape Town 8000 South Africa Biographical note Dr Glenda Kruss is currently Chief Research Specialist in the Research Programme: Human Resource Development at the Human Sciences Research Council. She was formerly based in the Faculty of Education at the University of the Western Cape and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2001. Her recent research has focused on higher education, exploring the nature of private provision, the issue of higher education responsiveness to economic and social needs, and higher education-industry innovation partnerships. Abstract The paper explores the expectations of higher education responsiveness of key employer, education and training constituencies in South Africa. Empirical data was gathered through a series of focus group and individual interviews, and analysed in terms of distinctions in the ideal relationship between education and the workplace. The paper demonstrates that there are clear differences in the way the call for responsiveness is framed and legitimated in the expectations of representatives of the private and public sectors, Professional Associations, Sectoral Education and Training Authorities and higher education institutions. Neverthless, a common new model of employability that assumes a direct link between higher education and the labour market increasingly underpins these expectations. The tacit skills, knowledge and attitudes formerly developed through work experience are now expected to be an integral part of higher education programmes and curricula, to provide the soft, transverse, life or high skills - as they are variously termed by different sectors. In developing these insights, the study aims to inform the ways in which the higher education sector in South Africa can actively negotiate the terms of its engagement in a new global and national policy context that assigns it new economic roles. Introduction Since 1994, education policy in South Africa been strongly influenced by the new global demand that the education and training offered by higher education institutions should become more responsive to the needs and expectations of industry, of the state and of society, to ensure economic and social prosperity. The development of a highly educated workforce is posed as a priority for the new goal of building a knowledge based economy in South Africa, to provide education and training to a larger number of citizens than in the past. The call for higher education to become more responsive to societal and economic needs, globally and in South Africa, is largely premised on the desirability of a more direct and closer relationship between higher education and economic development. The relationship between higher education and economic development is not necessarily direct, nor straightforward, nor causal. Analysts such as Wolf (2002: xii), in arguing that the notion of education spending in, economic growth out is a myth, remind us of the complexity and conditionality of the relationship, as well as the core purposes of education. For the danger inherent in contemporary calls for responsiveness is that the role of higher education becomes reduced solely to its economic purpose, ignoring the social, moral, cultural and intellectual purposes of education. Centrally, there is a related danger that the focus of higher education becomes imparting the skills required in the workplace, rather than the production and dissemination of knowledge (see Jacob and Hellstrom 2000). Thus, as elsewhere, an often polemical debate has emerged in South Africa, with diverse interpretations of whether higher education should become more responsive, what it should become more responsive to, and how it should become more responsive (Centre for Development and Enterprise 2000, Creamer 2000, Du Toit 2001, Ensor 2001, Gewers 2001, Moore 2001, Muller 2001, Singh 2001b). For higher education institutions and their leadership, in order to traverse this new terrain, to engage with the challenges and changing demands of their role, it becomes important to understand the new expectation of responsiveness in the South African policy context. Singh (2001a:1) has argued that for higher education to avoid becoming reduced to the handmaiden of the economy requires a more active negotiation or renegotiation about the nature of higher education institutions and their special contribution to social and economic development, as well as the terms of their insertion and functioning within the economy. In this regard, she points out that, alongside identifying policy shifts and the conditions to negotiate the new more complex and nuanced socio-economic roles, it will be important for the national higher education sector to identify who it has to engage with, and what arguments it can make to convince other social players. This paper aims to contribute to developing such insights by presenting an empirical study of the expectations of responsiveness of key social players, of four distinct employer constituencies, and of higher education providers themselves. Each employer constituency is central in its own way to shaping the contribution of higher education in South Africa: the public sector, the private sector, professional associations and the new Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). The paper begins by briefly describing national policy expectations and then the method used in the study to access expectations of responsiveness. It goes on to develop an analytical framework to conceptualise responsiveness in South Africa, by drawing a distinction between educating for employment and for employability. On this basis, the expectations of responsiveness of each of the five constituencies are examined. In concluding, the kinds of engagement made possible for the higher education sector by the insights developed through the empirical and analytical study are identified. Economic growth and equity: new symbolic policy Global economic changes the requirement of flexibility, adaptability and innovation, the development of information technology and the emergence of the networking firm collaborating to enable competitiveness have led to new education and training demands (see for instance, Altbach 1991, Delanty 2000, Etkowitz et al 1998). Most significant is the proposed need for a highly skilled labour force able to employ new technologies and add value to existing goods and services. Critically, these generalised skills and capabilities are developed through a broad general education, and not through a narrow, enterprise system of training. Such an analysis has strongly influenced new higher education policy in South Africa since 1994 (see for example, Kraak 2000). Based largely on the recommendations of the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) (1996), the White Paper on Education and Training 3 (WPET) (1997: 1.12) set the parameters for developing national higher education policy by defining a three-fold role for institutions: Human resource development: the mobilization of human talent and potential through lifelong learning to contribute to the social, economic, cultural and intellectual life of a rapidly changing society High-level skills training: the training and provision of person power to strengthen this countrys enterprises, services and infrastructure. This requires the development of professionals and knowledge workers with globally equivalent skills, but who are socially responsible and conscious of their role in contributing to the national development effort and social transformation Production, acquisition and application of new knowledge: national growth and competitiveness is dependent on technological improvement and innovation, driven by a well organized, vibrant research and development system which integrates the research and training capacity of higher education with the needs of industry and of social reconstruction. The WPET (1997) thus reflects the new global consensus, but emphasizes a national commitment to balancing dual policy goals of equity and economic development. Kraak (2001) has analysed current higher education policy to trace the ways in which a discourse of global competitiveness and economic development has been in tension with a popular democratic discourse of equity and redress, and a residual discourse of a functionally stratified higher education system. The National Plan for Higher Education (2001) for the first time set out to develop measures and instruments for implementing this vision, which had largely taken the form of symbolic policy. As Samoff (1996) has noted, a great deal of education policy making in South Africa has taken the form of policy frameworks, as opposed to substantive policy documents. The NCHE (1996), the WPET (1997) and the Higher Education Act (1997) have only set the symbolic framework for new higher education policy (see also Cooper 2001). While a commitment to responsiveness lies at the heart of higher education policy, there are few substantive policy texts and mechanisms to direct what form responsiveness should take, or how it should unfold. The goal of responsiveness has been open to competing processes of mediation on the part of the state, business and industry, and professional associations - to contested understandings of policy texts and of the strategies for their implementation (Kruss, Sayed and Badat 2001). Understanding these divergent expectations of responsiveness thus becomes critical for attempts by higher education institutions to position themselves in the new context. The study: accessing expectations of responsiveness Elucidating the positions of five broad, sizable and loosely defined constituencies is a difficult task. A study by Immerwahr (1999) of the expectations of higher education on the part of American higher education managers, government officials and business leaders took the form of a quantitative survey. The method adopted for the present study was to select key senior representatives of each constituency for focus group interviews, complemented by interviews with targeted high profile individuals. This was more appropriate for the concern to explore the expectations of distinct interest groups, in a context where little prior research has been conducted on the trend towards responsiveness. It became clear that each constituency itself reflected internal contestation, and an attempt was made to select organizations that would cover a wide spectrum of positions. For the public sector, officials from selected key national departments representing and working with high skill sectors of employment were identified, for focus group and individual interviews. Private sector business and industry leaders were accessed through a range of national business organizations representing the historical organisation of the field, to cover fields of high skill employment and interests. A range of Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) operating in fields of high skill employment, and reflecting sectors with and without established Industrial Training Boards, were included. Professional Quality Assurance bodies included both statutory, long established, and newly established black empowerment bodies. Higher education providers were selected to reflect a mix of historically advantaged and disadvantaged public universities and technikons (career and technology oriented higher education institutions akin to polytechnics), based in a single geographical region. In addition, two private providers representing those operating most like universities were selected (Kruss 2002). CEOs and Director Generals were invited to attend the focus group interviews, but in some cases responsibility was cascaded down through the organization, with one to three individuals representing each organisation. Further in-depth individual interviews were held with selected high profile vice-chancellors, CEOs of higher education associations and CEOs of large companies, six in total. The initial impression was of a great deal of convergence between the five constituencies, but at the same time, subtle but distinct differences were evident. In the course of systematic engagement with the data, it became evident that this convergence has an empirical and conceptual basis, in that there is a common logic underpinning emerging expectations of responsiveness in South Africa. Employment and employability: higher education and the labour market At the heart of the call for responsiveness lies a proposed new relationship between higher education and the labour market, which was identified as the key for analysis. Analysing responsiveness Brown and Lauder (1996) have provided an analysis of education and economic development in the current global context. They make the critical point that instead of guaranteeing full employment, the role of the state now is to invest in education and training to enable workers to become fully employable. They have made a critical distinction between the goal of employment, where skills are linked to specific occupations and economic trajectories, and employability, where the focus is on skills formation to develop a highly educated workforce that is equipped for greater occupational mobility and flexible work patterns. An analytic frame was developed to describe and analyse the empirical data, based on two distinctions. Firstly, a distinction was drawn between whether a direct or indirect link with the labour market is proposed, implicitly or explicitly. Secondly, a distinction was drawn between whether higher education institutions are preparing for employment, with knowledge, skills and attitudes required for specific occupational roles for which jobs are virtually guaranteed, or for employability, with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required generally in any number of possible occupational roles.      The analytical distinction can be illustrated by means of a consideration of the dominant models of the relationship between education and the workplace that have operated traditionally in South African higher education. Universities and the labour market Universities education and training role traditionally had two mandates a core focus on general education, and a secondary focus on professional education. Hirsch and Weber have succinctly summarized the ways in which the obligations of the university have been met traditionally: Contributions to knowledge and to the economic well-being of society are accomplished chiefly at the graduate/professional level; production of educated citizens is accomplished chiefly at the undergraduate level; and production of future leaders of society, encouragement of productive interactions among persons of diverse backgrounds, and appreciation of the value of the pursuit of knowledge are accomplished at all levels (Hirsch and Weber 1999: viii). There are two dominant models that have traditionally linked these roles with the labour market in South Africa. To teach people to think and explore the unknown The dominant model of the relationship between higher education and the labour market underpinning the general education focus of undergraduate qualifications such as BA or BSc, is one of employability with an indirect link to the labour market. Completion of the degree or diploma represents the end point of formal education and training, and the assumption is that graduates will proceed immediately upon qualifying to the workplace, to a job. Work experience and occupational specialization are the preserve and domain of the employers in the labour market, who build on the general foundation laid by higher education institutions to develop the requisite specialised skills, knowledge and dispositions to produce skilled employees.  Deferred employment pending professional education and training In contrast, the dominant model underpinning professional and graduate education is one of deferred employment, with an indirect link to the labour market pending professional specialisation. That is, higher education indirectly prepares graduates with general and specialist technical knowledge for professional employment, which is completed by professional associations in co-operation with employers in the workplace. Once a graduate has a degree, professional specialized knowledge is provided through mentored work experience, controlled, regulated and accredited by professional associations, in their capacity as statutory bodies. The employer focuses on providing the specialised practice and experiential knowledge required. Only then, is formal education and training and accreditation completed, and the graduate is professionally ready for the labour market. Employment in the occupational role is virtually guaranteed with the achievement of the professional qualification.  Technikons and the labour market - We only offer programmes whose title has a job A contrasting model has dominated technikons, which were mandated to prepare graduates directly for employment. Students are provided primarily with specialised training to prepare them for technical and technological competence. Experiential learning, structured in blocks of work experience, is a crucial component of these training programmes. The technikons provide the specialized technological theory, and the workplace provides the technological practice. Workplace experience is a critical component of the qualification. When a graduate leaves the technikon with their diploma or latterly, degree, they can proceed directly to employment ready for work as a skilled employee. Again, achievement of the qualification virtually guarantees employment, often by the company that provided workplace experience.     Emerging new models? The following sections will use the analytical distinction between in/direct employment and employability, to explore the expectations of responsiveness of each of the five constituencies. The Public Sector: the product that walks out must meet the needs of the economy In their mediation of policy, the public sector officials interviewed clearly reflected their position as government representatives. Senior officials from the Departments of Arts, Science and Technology, Transport, Trade and Industry, and Public Service and Administration, as well as from the National Productivity Institute, participated in focus groups and individual interviews. Their expectations of higher education responsiveness were framed in terms of a discourse characterized by a strong commitment to national economic and social development, with an emphasis on equity as redress of inequalities of the past. What stood out most strongly from discussions with these officials was the unquestioned, taken for granted assumption that there is, or should be, a direct relationship between higher education institutions and the labour market in the current context. In explaining the new ideal role of higher education, public sector officials particularly focused on the notion of meeting scarce skills needs. They argued that higher education institutions need to expand their existing focus to prepare graduates for new forms of employment in new economic areas where there is little existing expertise in South Africa, but which are significant for national economic development and global competitiveness. The assumption of a direct link was evident in the criticism that while it may be possible to find sufficient numbers of graduates, they do not have the right kind of skills, and employers have to spend time training graduates: So it means that when you left the higher education system, you were not prepared for what you ultimately do. The product that walks out does not meet the needs of industry, so higher education is not responding to the needs of industry, be it in numbers, be it in knowledge or skills (Interview with Senior official, Governent Department, 18 April 2002). The missing skills were general, identified as transverse skills such as business management, project management, people and entrepreneurial skills (See Ball 1985 for elaboration on the high skills typically regarded as essential). Officials in the public sector did not promote a narrow technicist vocationalisation of programmes, but instead, promoted an integrated package of specialized core and general skills. This is a crucial distinction, as public sector leaders were not arguing for specialised skills only, to prepare graduates for employment directly. Rather, they argued that higher education should broaden and expand its traditional scope, to ensure that critical and analytical skills are better focused and directly relevant to economic needs. This echoes the global policy consensus that what is required are graduates who are well-educated more than people who are specifically trained (Hirsch and Weber 1999:9). This makes the institutions role in preparing for the workplace during degree programmes critical, in the form of placements, internships and even learnerships. Moreover, public sector officials argued that in a context of job losses, students may have to create their own jobs, and should be prepared with the relevant skills. A major shift from the dominant model of the link between universities, work experience and the workplace is evident in the conceptions of responsiveness articulated by public sector officials. Officials interviewed expected higher education institutions themselves to undertake the development of graduates that was previously achieved by work experience immediately after graduating from higher education. The explicit claim was made that higher education institutions are responsible for ensuring that graduates are ready to operate as skilled employees in the workplace, rather than employers being required to invest in the requisite tacit knowledge, skills and dispositions. This conception draws on the traditions of the professions and of technikon training, but modifies them in significant ways. First, it extends to new vocational and professional categories, particularly scarce skills, as well as to existing professions, and even to general degree programmes. Second, whereas in the professional tradition, the link between higher education and the workplace was viewed as indirect, now, it is expected to be direct. Third, the technical or professional specialised education that occurred in the workplace and under the guidance of the professional associations is now expected to be included within the higher education institutions programmes themselves. There is strong evidence that public sector Departments see themselves as playing a developmental role to assist higher education institutions to become responsive in line with these expectations, particularly to assist historically disadvantaged institutions to prepare historically disadvantaged individuals to become directly employable in new occupational fields arising out of, and leading to, economic development. Examples of mechanisms and strategies for intervention were cited, such as funding programmes and bursaries, promoting specific curricular and programme foci, and encouraging consortia of institutions to offer new programmes in partnership. For instance, the Department of Transport is developing regional Centres of Development, aimed at ensuring that institutions initiate and strengthen programmes to build a pool of transport professionals. Business and industry leaders: High level skills for global competitiveness Narrow vocationalism? There is a concern, particularly on the part of research universities, that business and industry have a short term, narrow technical vocationalist understanding of higher education, and that vocational qualifications are increasingly privileged over formative general academic courses by the market (see for example Jansen 2000). Such a conception is most like the dominant model of the technikon, or more accurately, an adaptation of the model of professional education, but modified by the expectation that the degree or diploma can directly prepare a work-ready graduate with the right vocational or professional skills and technical knowledge to meet the immediate needs of the market. This narrow technical vocationalist framing of responsiveness was not strongly evident amongst the representatives of business and industry interviewed, namely senior managers from a range of umbrella organisations, Business South Africa, the National African Federated Chambers of Commerce, the South African Chamber of Business, the Business Referall and Information Network working with SMMEs, and the Foundation of African Business. This does not lead to the conclusion that such expectations do not exist, but rather, it poses a caveat that the expectations of those represented in this study are not the only way in which business and industry leaders a disparate and amorphous constituency - mediate policy. Global competitiveness and the knowledge economy The business and industry leaders interviewed tended to frame a sophisticated view of responsiveness, legitimized primarily in terms of its significance for ensuring global competitiveness and the development of a knowledge economy, although recognizing the demands of national development in South Africa. This position was most succinctly articulated by one business leader, who argued that the ideal role of higher education would be: To get people within our business that will allow us to compete internationally in a broader context, the quality of the people with skills and also with enquiring minds that will allow you to get there, with a broader ethic and a way of going about problems and problem solving, but also to become actively engaged in problems of the society that were dealing with (Individual interview, CEO of large financial sector company, 15 April 2002). The claim was made that a pool of highly skilled workers attract investors to a country, thus leading to economic growth, and conversely, that labour market issues (principally, inflexibility and an inadequately skilled labour force) are seen as a key obstacle for investment in South Africa. These leaders tended to describe the ideal role of higher education, particularly universities, primarily in terms of its knowledge function, of adding to the body of knowledge. The expectation here was that higher education needs to take a long-term view, to sustain itself to perform this knowledge-generating role. Business leaders warned that if higher education operates according to the short-term cycles of business, it would have disastrous long-term consequences for innovation, development and economic competitiveness in a global knowledge economy. These private sector leaders did not emphasise strongly issues of equity or redress. Their primary reference point tended to be outward, to the global economy, and equity issues were reflected in that light. There was a pragmatic sense that if broader social problems were not addressed, the long-term interests of the private sector could not be met. Representatives of black empowerment business organizations tended to raise equity issues at appropriate points, but they did not disagree with the core position espoused by the mainstream business associations. It is evident that while there was a positive vision of the role higher education could and should play, there was a negative assessment of the role higher education institutions in South Africa are in fact currently playing, by remaining in their silos and not becoming connected with society. The exception of some departments and faculties in some institutions was approvingly cited and held up as cases of best practice to be emulated, for instance, an entrepeneurship department at a technikon that encourages students to create commercial ventures, or a language department that had shifted focus to provide skilled interpreters for tourism and technical industry exchanges. We expect you to hit the ground running Private sector leaders also espoused a direct link between higher education and the job market, expecting higher education to directly prepare young people with skills to make them employable. This was evident most strongly in criticisms of institutions for producing graduates that are unemployable or under- employable, exacerbating unemployment. It was argued that institutions are not supplying the right numbers of graduates in the fields required for development. The generalist approach of the BA degree at most institutions was criticized for failing to provide general and specialised skills to meet the needs of a defined group of clients. This means that currently many companies regard the degree only as an indicator of potential. Leaders expressed resentment that they have to provide training in skills that should have been developed as part of the degree. In particular, higher education institutions were criticized because they do not offer adequate soft skills problem solving, communication, entrepeneurship, good citizenship, managerial skills, leadership skills generic skills that you need to learn across any walk of life (Focus Group Interview, 13 March 2002). Here again is the expectation that what was formerly the preserve of the work place, tacit knowledge, skills and attitudes that were developed through work experience, should become drawn into the essential functions of higher education. These private sector leaders expressed their expectations of responsiveness in terms of a discourse of national economic development for global competitiveness and facilitation of a knowledge economy. Nevertheless, there is strong convergence with the emerging model underpinning the public sectors expectation that the majority of graduates should be prepared with the general and specialised high-level skills required to be employable directly upon leaving the institution. This was succintly summed up in the expectation that once you get out of that institution, we are expecting you to hit the ground running (Focus Group Interview, 13 March 2002). Responsiveness: graduates who are directly employable In a context of the pressures brought to bear by a global, high technology, high skill, low employment economy, there are fewer jobs, and new kinds of jobs, than there were in the past. These economic pressures take a specific form in the South African case with its uneven development, and given the political pressures of social transformation. The historical problems of black schooling have created barriers to access to higher education, both in numerical and quality terms. Taken together, these economic, political, educational and social pressures can begin to explain the shift in the desired link between higher education and the labour market. No longer do the public and private sectors expect higher education to prepare young people indirectly for employability in general degree courses. As Brown et al (2001:258) have succinctly phrased it: the volatile nature of consumer markets, the challenge to assumptions about lifetime employment, and the pace of technological innovations with built-in occupational obsolescence that demand regular periods of retraining are central features of the labour market changes leading to a new emphasis on employability. The new worker is required to be flexible and adaptable and able to learn rapidly. Private and public sector employers now expect higher education to ensure that the majority of graduates are employable in a new sense, that they are directly prepared to become skilled employees. Higher education is expected to provide the general high level soft skills that were tacitly developed in the past. Many of these skills, like management and leadership or conflict resolution were developed experientially through processes in the workplace. In this sense, workplace skills and experiential knowledge are pulled backwards and downwards as a central requirement of degrees and diplomas, to become integral to the task of higher education and a core component of the undergraduate degree programme. Skills such as communication and writing were developed largely through general education in the schools. Many young people, particularly from historically disadvantaged schools, now come to higher education without the requisite tacit knowledge, skills and dispositions. The widespread lament that schools are not preparing young people adequately for higher education is testament to the trend that fundamental skills are now being pushed upwards as central to higher educations task.    Variations on a theme: the emergence of a model of direct employability Such is the underlying logic of responsiveness in the current context, where the failure (or success) of higher education responsiveness is posed as critical for economic growth, development and redress of the past. Analysis suggests that there are differing discursive motivations legitimizing the demand for responsiveness, but that the core new model of the relationship between higher education and work tends to converge, in the expectations of key figures in all five sectors. SETA expectations: preparing for national skills development The Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) have only recently been established in South Africa as key vehicles of the National Skills Development Strategy. They represent business, labour and in some cases, the state as a key employer, with a focus on workplace training and the Further Education and Training band. Senior managers from the Information Systems, Electronic and Telecommunications, Finance and Accounting, Mining Qualifications Authority, Secondary Agriculture, Chemical Industries, Public Services, Education Training and Development Practices and Energy SETAS were interviewed. Although higher education is not their immediate priority, it is identified as a key partner in preparing human resources to meet national skills development needs. Given their focus on a range of fields, and with differing levels of development, the SETA constituency reflects the full range of discursive variation. Some SETA officials framed responsiveness by drawing on a discourse of narrow vocationalism, others on a discourse of the knowledge economy and many on a discourse of national economic and social development, tempered by their direct workplace training concerns. Nevertheless, the core argument evident was that higher education should develop general and specialized knowledge, and especially generic high level life skills, so that graduates become productive in a short period of time, to meet sectoral employment demands. This was summed up in the expectation that when they walk in they can immediately start adding value (Interview, Senior SETA manager, 18 April 2002). It was striking that in practice many of the SETAs have a negative or non-existent relationship with higher education institutions. There was a widespread SETA perception that in practice, higher education institutions are too theoretical, too inflexible, too slow to change, and too much focused on the supply side, failing to take up opportunities to develop programmes to meet new skills needs. There was general agreement that partnerships and linkages with SETAs are crucial and that institutions could play a more active role in driving processes and responding to sectoral priorities. New political imperatives: Professional Associations prepare for employment There are currently two distinct sets of interests, represented in the study by statutory, long established professional associations, namely the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa, the Engineering Council of South Africa and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants on the one hand, and by recently established black professional associations, namely the Black Management Forum, the Association for Black Securities and Investment Professionals and the Association of Black Accountants of South Africa on the other hand. While the new associations play an advocacy role and primarily focus on promoting black empowerment, equity and redress, the established associations continue to play a regulatory role in assuring standards and qualifications. The core assumption of higher education preparing graduates indirectly for the labour market, for deferred employment, remains resilient in underpinning the expectations of all representatives of professional associations. It is modified by two distinct political imperatives, differentially informed by a broad discourse of national economic and social development. The long established professional associations have adapted the traditional model in two ways. First, in a call to broaden the professional curriculum within higher education beyond a technical knowledge approach, to include high level soft skills such as communication, negotiation and analytical skills. For example, there are initiatives to include humanities subjects in the Engineering curriculum. Second, in a call for development programmes to open up the professions to extend access in line with employment equity requirements, in an evolutionary way that maintains professional standards. A number of mechanisms and development programmes have been put in place, to this end. Representatives of the black empowerment professional associations articulated a contrasting political imperative, in a strong call for redress and equity in opening up access to the professional labour market, challenging dominant standards and calling for greater responsiveness to socio-political realities. Nevertheless, they accepted the traditional model of the close relationship between higher education and the professions, based on the assumption that higher education indirectly, (but increasingly, directly) prepares graduates for employment. The long-term view of societal needs: Expectations of the higher education sector Higher education institutions have a very different view of what they should be doing. Leaders interviewed tended to mediate policy in a manner that extends their ideal role far beyond labour market responsiveness. They largely framed their expectations of responsiveness in terms of a classical liberal education discourse, but articulated in different ways and to different degrees with the three labour market discourses national economic and social development, global competitiveness and the knowledge economy, or narrow vocationalism. They emphasised that higher education is oriented to the needs of industry and society, and not only to the present but to the future creation of knowledge. There is a tension evident between and within universities, whether to continue to promote the traditional model of indirect employability, or to develop the new emerging model of direct employability, in relation to their general programmes. Their professional programmes are largely expected to continue to operate in terms of the traditional model, modified in similar ways to the professional associations. In their practice, to differential degrees, higher education institutions have put in place new strategies and mechanisms (such as internships and experiential learning) that promote a model of direct employability, taking into their programmes the tasks of developing the requisite tacit knowledge, skills and attitudes (see for example Luckett 2001). However, large swathes of their educational activity continue to be driven by the traditional model of indirect employability. Thus, while the traditional models currently prevail in practice, the new direct employability model is strongly emergent in (some) public universities. Private institutions in contrast, unequivocally mediate policy to understand responsiveness in terms of a model of direct employability. The technikons for the most part have made discursive shifts in terms of locating themselves alongside and equivalent to universities. There is evidence of the emergence of a new model of direct employability to differential degrees between and within institutions, but much of their activity continues to be driven by a model of direct employment. Conclusion: Active negotiation The paper began by drawing on Singh (2001a:1) to highlight the importance for the national higher education sector to identify who it has to engage with, and what arguments it can make to convince other social players about the complexity of the relationship between education and economic development. The paper has contributed to such a task, by elucidating how key players in the public and private sector, in the professional associations and in the skills development authorities understand the nature, role and contribution of higher education in South Africa, in ideal desired terms. It has demonstrated clear differences in the way employer constituencies frame and legitimate the call for responsiveness, but that a new model of employability that assumes a direct link between higher education and the labour market is emerging. The tacit skills, knowledge and attitudes formerly developed through work experience are now expected to be an integral part of higher education programmes and curricula, to provide the soft, transverse, life or high skills - as they are variously termed by different sectors. In so doing, the paper provides a basis for higher education institutions to identify who they have to negotiate with, and what positions these constituencies promote, in order to identify the potential arguments they can make to convince government, business, other institutions and society in general of their own vision of a transformed higher education in a new national and global context. In short, the paper provides insights to inform active negotiation by higher education institutions of their role and function in a changing, challenging context. Some institutions may fundamentally question that responsiveness implies a model of direct employability, and reassert the veracity of the traditional model of indirect employability. Others may choose to engage with the new expectations and contest the terms of the new roles assigned to higher education. Or they may choose to engage with those who propose a narrow vocationalised version of responsiveness, to encourage more nuanced mediations. Or they may choose to elaborate the implications of a mediation of responsiveness in terms of national economic and social development or global competitiveness. On the basis of understanding that, increasingly, the expectation of responsiveness fundamentally implies preparation for direct employability, meaningful engagement can proceed. Acknowledgements The willingness of individuals and their organisations in each constituency to participate in the focus group and individual interviews is gratefully acknowledged. The study would not have been possible without their giving generously of their time and insights. The intellectual collaboration of Jeanne Gamble, in developing the core distinction of the paper, was invaluable. References Altbach, P. (1991) Patterns in higher education development. Towards the year 2000, Prospects XXI (2) 21-35. Ball, C. (1985) The Triple Alliance: What went wrong? What can be done? Oxford Review of Education, 2(3) 227-234. Ball, S. (1994) Education Reform: A critical and post-structuralist approach (London: Oxford University Press). Brown, P. and Lauder, H. (1996) Education, globalisation and economic development, Journal of Education Policy, II(1) 1-25. Brown, P. Green, A. and Lauder, H. (2001) High Skills. 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The university in the knowledge society (London: SRHE). Department of Arts, Culture Science and Technology (1996) White Paper on Science and Technology: Preparing for the Twenty-First Century Pretoria: Government printer. Department of Education (1997) White Paper on Education and Training 3: A Programme for the Transformation of Higher Education Pretoria: Government printer. Department of Education (2001) National Plan for Higher Education Pretoria: Government printer. Du Toit, A. (2001) Disciplinarity, majors and general-formative higher education. Paper presented at the Conference on Globalisation and Higher Education: Views from the South, Education Policy Unit: University of the Western Cape and SRHE, Cape Town, 27-29 March 2001. Ensor, P. (2001) Tensions and cross-currents in academic planning at South African Universities in the late 1990s. Paper presented at the Conference on Globalisation and Higher Education: Views from the South, Education Policy Unit: University of the Western Cape and SRHE, Cape Town, 27-29 March 2001. Etkowitz, H., Webster, A, and Healey, P. (1998) (eds.) Capitalising knowledge. New intersections of industry and academia (Albany: State University of New York Press). Gewers, W. (2001) Higher Education in relation to the market in the South, in the 21st Century. Symposium at Globalisation and Higher Education: Views from the South, Education Policy Unit: University of the Western Cape and SRHE, Cape Town, 27-29 March 2001. Gibbons, M., Limoges, C., Nowotny, H., Schwartzman, S., Scott, P., and Trow, M. (1994) The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies (London: Sage). Hirsch, W. and Weber, L. (eds) (1999) Challenges Facing Higher Education at the Millenium (Phoenix: American Council on Education and Oryx Press). Immerwahr, J. (1999) Taking Responsibility. Leaders Expectations of Higher Education (San Jose, California: National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education). Jacob, M. and Hellstrom, T. (2000) (eds) The Future of Knowledge Production in the Academy (Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press). Jansen, J. (2000). Mode 2 knowledge and institutional life, in Kraak, A. (ed), Changing modes: New knowledge production and its implications for higher education in South Africa (Pretoria: HSRC Publishers) 156-171. Kraak, A. (2000) Changing modes: A brief overview of the Mode 2 knowledge debate and its impact on South African policy formulation, in Kraak, A. (ed), Changing modes: New knowledge production and its implications for higher education in South Africa (Pretoria: HSRC Publishers) 1-37. Kraak, A. (2001) Policy Ambiguity and Slippage: Higher Education under the new State, 1994-2001, in Kraak, A. and Young M. (eds), Education in Restrospect: Policy and Implementation since 1990 (Pretoria: HSRC Publishers) 85-120. Kruss, G. (2001) Towards Human Rights in South African Schools: An agenda for research and practice, Race, Ethnicity and Education, 4(1) 45-62. Kruss, G. (2002) More, Better Different? Understanding Private Higher Education in South Africa, Perspectives in Education, 20 (4) 15-28. Kruss, G., Sayed, Y. and Badat, S. (2001) Implementing New Education Policy at School Level in the Western Cape. Unpublished report to the National Research Foundation. Luckett, K. (2001) Responding to Equity and Development Imperatives: Conceptualising a Structurally and Epistemically Diverse Undergraduate Curriculum in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Paper presented at the conference on Globalisation and Higher Education: Views from the South, Education Policy Unit: University of the Western Cape and SRHE, Cape Town, 27-29 March 2001. Moore, R. (2001) Restructuring Knowledge and Organisation: Contrasting Models of Implementation. Paper presented at the Conference on Globalisation and Higher Education: Views from the South, Education Policy Unit: University of the Western Cape and SRHE, Cape Town, 27-29 March 2001. Muller, J. (2001) Return to User: Responsivity and Innovation in Higher Education. Unpublished paper. National Commission on Higher Education (1996) National Commission on Higher Education Report: A framework for transformation. Pretoria: Government printer. Republic of South Africa, 1997, Higher Education Act 101 of 1997, Pretoria: Government Printer. Samoff, J. (1996) Frameworks! South African Education and Training Policy Documents, 1994-1996. Unpublished paper. Santillanez, E. (1995) Higher Educations Responsiveness in Mexico and the United States to a New Economy and the Impacts of NAFTA (Boulder Colorado: Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education). Singh, M. (2001a) Solutions for the future. Paper presented at Privileges Lost. Responsibilities Gained: Reconstructing Higher Education, A Global Symposium on the Future of Higher Education, Columbia University Teachers College, The Futures Project, The Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies, The Centre for Higher Education Research and Information, 14-15 June 2001. Singh, M. (2001b) Re-inserting the public good into Higher Education Transformation. Paper presented at conference on Globalisation and Higher Education: Views from the South, Cape Town, Education Policy Unit: University of the Western Cape and SRHE, 27-29 March 2001. Van Schoor, W.A. (2000) What they dont teach you at university: skills, values and attitudes for the South African workplace, South African Journal of Education, 20(1) 41-46. Wolf, A. (2002) Does education matter? Myths about education and economic growth (London: Penguin books).     PAGE  PAGE 25  The research was originally commissioned by the Council on Higher Education (CHE), and was presented as a background paper at the CHE colloquium, Building relationships between higher education and private and public sectors and contributing to their high-level person power and knowledge needs, Johannesburg 27-28 June 2002.  Specific details on the organisations involved will be provided in the relevant section below.  More elaborated and nuanced positions were obtained from those in senior management positions in their organization, a feature that marked the interviews with the SETA, higher education and professional association representatives.  Focus group and individual interviews were transcribed and analysed. Research was governed by the HSRC code of Research Ethics, which guaranteed participants confidentiality, in that no statement would be directly attributed to a particular individual or organisation.  Focus group with public sector managers, March 2002. 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