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Employment and employability: expectations of higher education responsiveness in South Africa

Kruss, Glenda

Abstract:

The study aims to access the expectations of higher education responsiveness of key employer constituencies in South Africa. Empirical data was gathered through a series of focus group and individual interviews. Data was analysed in terms of conceptual models of the relationship between education and the workplace. Increasingly, higher education institutions are expected to prepare graduates who will be directly employable, ready to enter the labour market as skilled employees. This model underpins the ideal expectations of all employer constituencies, but policy is mediated in different ways. The private and public sectors, the professional associations and Sectoral Education and Training Authorities, tend to frame their expectations primarily in terms of one of three labour market discourses – national economic and social development, global competitiveness and the knowledge economy, or narrow vocationalism. Higher education institutions tend to frame their expectations in terms of a classical liberal education discourse, articulated in different ways with these labour market discourses.

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.

 

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Document Title: Employment and employability: expectations of higher education responsiveness in South Africa
Journal: Journal of Education Policy
Volume: 19
Issue: 6
No. of Pages: 673-689


Document Type:Journal Article (Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:National Systems and Comparative Studies
Country:South Africa
Keywords:Higher Education and Work, Labour Market, Employment, Employers, Industry and Higher Education, Responsiveness, Skills Training, Education Policy, Technical Skills, Public Sector, Private Sector, Vocationalism, Graduate Employment


File Size:132 KB
Rights:This is the author's post print.
Date Added:08 February 2007


Kruss, Glenda (2004). Employment and employability: expectations of higher education responsiveness in South Africa. Journal of Education Policy 19(6):673-689