Growing the TVET knowledge base in the south: South African postgraduate output, 2008–2018

  • Joy Papier University of the Western Cape (UWC), Cape Town
  • Simon McGrath University of Nottingham, UK
Keywords: Technical and vocational education and training (TVET); master’s, doctoral, postgraduate research

Abstract

The Third International Conference on TVET (technical and vocational education and training), held by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Shanghai in 2012, resolved that growing research on TVET had to be an integral part of the overall strategy to strengthen the sector. Historically in South Africa, much of the targeted TVET research has been conducted by agencies outside of the university, but the last ten years have seen an increase in the number of TVET studies being undertaken by postgraduate students at universities, largely due to national policies that have encouraged higher education to take a greater interest in TVET research and development. Given the policy focus on TVET and the increased support for research in the field, this article reflects on the growth of postgraduate research on TVET in South Africa in the past ten years. Government targets for postgraduate outputs have prioritised doctoral studies, and, while TVET-related doctoral graduates are relatively few in number, there are signs of an emerging community of researchers and also of an expanding, though localised and highly contextual, knowledge base on TVET. The authors identify a number of aspects observed across the research outputs which could aid further reflection on the kind of contribution that postgraduate TVET research is making. Finally, attention is drawn to the nascent cadre of TVET intellectuals who can – indeed, must – provide much-needed supervisory capacity in this field.

Author Biographies

Joy Papier, University of the Western Cape (UWC), Cape Town

Joy Papier is the Director of the Institute for Post-School Studies (IPSS) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Cape Town. She is the South African Research Chair in Post-School Studies: TVET. She has published on vocational and general teacher education in several academic journals, presented at conferences and on public panels, participates in national government task teams, and is an external examiner for numerous postgraduate dissertations in the field of TVET.

Simon McGrath, University of Nottingham, UK

Simon McGrath is the UNESCO Chair in International Education and Development at the University of Nottingham and Extraordinary Professor in the Institute for Post-School Studies (IPSS) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). He has more than 25 years of experience in research and policy work on vocational education and training in Africa.

Published
2020-10-22
How to Cite
Papier, J., & McGrath, S. (2020). Growing the TVET knowledge base in the south: South African postgraduate output, 2008–2018. Journal of Vocational, Adult and Continuing Education and Training, 3(1), 17. https://doi.org/10.14426/jovacet.v3i1.129
Section
Articles