Higher education and work: setting a new research agenda
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Higher education and work consists of two papers. The first paper provides an analysis of research on graduate employment in South Africa. It offers a reflection on the state of research on graduate employment and unemployment in South Africa. First, the contents and results of the main types of graduate studies are examined. Then, the value of graduate tracer studies and employer perception studies is assessed in relation to whether they promote organisational learning for higher education institutions and provide good rates of return for employers and government. The analysis is based on data from national graduate and institutional surveys, questionnaires on employment outcomes in particular professions and data from census, household and labour force surveys in South Africa.
The second paper looks at the challenges facing the education, training and employment of South Africa?s scientific labour force. The development of South Africa's scientific labour force forms part of a larger project of human resource development at universities, technikons, science councils, government departments and research agencies. This paper examines the state of high-level knowledge production at universities and technikons as from 2000. It is addresse this in three stages, by describing
the state of master's and doctoral training, the quality of the academic workforce, and the state of research output.
The data presented in this paper suggest both opportunities and challenges for developing the scientific labour force at higher education institutions. While it does not offer a historical or sociological cast of explanation for the state of the academic workforce, or for the state of postgraduate training, and while it does not provide a raft of ideas to expand the science workforce, it suggests that the main challenges relate to consolidating quality student training; promoting the retention of academics with doctorates; and
improving the equity balance within the academic workforce. The key opportunities involve the use of the existing structural base at higher education institutions and in research organisations, as well as developing mechanisms to consolidate and expand research training for students and academics