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

SOURCE: Journal of Education Policy
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2004
TITLE AUTHOR(S): G.Kruss
KEYWORDS: HIGHER EDUCATION, LABOUR MARKET, RESPONSIVENESS RESEARCH, SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
DEPARTMENT: Education and Skills Development (ESD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 3266

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Abstract

This 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. Nevertheless, 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.