Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Staff Professional Development in South African Higher Education Institutions: Needs and Challenges

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Staff Professional Development in South African Higher Education Institutions: Needs and Challenges

Article excerpt

Identification of the Key Needs of Institutions of Higher Learning in Relation to Professional Development of their Staff

Institutions of Higher Education have many key needs in relation to the professional development of their staff. This can be achieved, according to Clark (1998), through access to education and training opportunities in the workplace through an outside organisation or through watching others perform the job. It is imperative to state that professional development is essential in institutions of higher learning as it builds and maintains the morale of staff members and is thought to attract higher quality staff to an organisation (Delanty, 2001).This paper addresses the following key needs of Higher Education, which are as follows: relevancy, internationalisation, globalisation and corporatism, management, new managerialism, expansion of Higher Education and needs of the economy, industries, businesses and government.

With regard to relevancy, Kogan and Teichler (2007) have categorised the needs of institutions of higher learning into three broad categories: relevance, internationalisation and management. In terms of relevance, there has been a paradigm shift in what institutions of higher learning emphasise - the shift is posited from the creation of fundamental knowledge, with its stress on research and disciplinary knowledge, to the 'scholarship of application' (Kogan & Teichler, 2007, p.11). The latter involves a melting pot of views and insights from multiple disciplines and outcomes that directly impact on everyday life. Kogan and Teichler (2007) claim that the positive effects related to the creation of more options for employment outside of academia for future scholars; opportunities that will transcend the boundaries of an academic career and knowledge transfer. On the negative realm, it may, in fact, cause recruitment difficulties in fields such as science, technology and engineering and will impact on national goals of widening access in the aforementioned disciplines. It should be noted that there is a strong link between the 'goals of higher education, the rules for distributing resources, and the nature of academic work' (Kogan & Teichler, 2007, p.11). The paradigm shift alluded to earlier can influence academic value systems, work practices and the very nature and location of power and control in academia.

In terms of internationalisation of Higher Education, one finds that decades ago the national milieu of a country in relation to its traditions, social stance and economic position were the primary factors in determining which were the most alluring jobs in the profession. Kogan and Teichler (2007) claim that this may no longer be the case as global trends which foreground knowledge production and information flow are the new factors that 'push towards the internationalisation of higher education' (Kogan & Teichler, 2007, p.11). There are also other factors and to Mello (2013) the prime reason that institutions of higher learning are internationalising is posited on survival. He declares that if there is a significant decrease in student numbers, then South African institutions of higher learning look beyond the South African borders to recruit students, especially postgraduate students.

In the sphere of internationalisation in Higher Education, there has been greater mobility of staff and students on an international level. This is a key change in South Africa as its institutions of higher learning are becoming institutions of choice for international students, mainly from the African continent. Further to this, staff from international institutions, lecturing in South African institutions are becoming commonplace. In the same vein, South African students and staff are accepting opportunities to study and work at international institutions of higher learning. The continual advent of new technologies is connecting scholars from around the world. This is evidenced by scholars from all around the world who are linking up via email, Skype and virtual conference presentations, to name a few. …

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