for tomorrow

NMMU News

26/05/2015

UNEMPLOYMENT among the youth is one of the key focus areas of a new Chair in post-school education and training to be established at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Centre for integrated Post-School Education and Training (CIPSET). 

The establishment of the Chair under the theme “society education and work” at CIPSET will receive an annual grant of R1.6m and is part of the ETDP (Education, Training and Development Practices) SETA’s Research Chair Initiative to strengthen and support research capacity of public Higher Education Institutions in the post-school sector, says CIPSET director Ivor Baatjes.  

The work of the Chair will contribute in shaping the research capacity of the ETDP SETA and assist in research-driven skills development planning and implementation, he says. 

The Chair, supported by eight CIPSET staff members, will also enrich the current CIPSET research programme which focuses on building progressive scholarship in post-school education and training (PSET).

“The role of the chair is to make an intellectual contribution to theory building, institutional modeling and in building applied research capacity,” says Ivor.

The Chair will therefore play a critical role in supervising and mentoring a cohort of masters and PhD students. It will contribute to the development of an interdisciplinary postgraduate programme in the sector, forming part of NMMU’s offerings and conduct research towards policy critique, evaluation and formulation.

The research programme builds on existing work with eight public vocational Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in the Eastern Cape and South Cape College in George.

CIPSET’s role with TVET colleges in supporting institutional development, curriculum innovation, enhancing student support services and developing transformative pedagogical approaches are some of the areas of work that require contributions from the Chair. The Chair is also expected to add impetus to CIPSET’s role in creating and developing the first community college in the Eastern Cape.

The community college is a new institutional form which will provide formal and non-formal programmes for out-of-school youth and adults. These could potentially include programmes for waste management, early childhood development, urban agriculture, environmental justice programmes, renewable energy and the establishment of co-operatives and community-driven projects.

“This research approach has a socially engaged nature which focuses on exploring a variety of alternative possibilities to daily socio-economic struggles,” says Ivor.

The three-year centre, based at Missionvale Campus, continues to focus and expand its work in two marginalised sub-sectors, namely adult and vocational education. CIPSET is one of very few emerging centres researching post-school education and the only centre in the Eastern Cape.

More about the community college

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has identified NMMU as an institution that can support the State with the establishment of a community college in the province. The DHET has been granted office space on Missionvale Campus as a seat and location of a community college. CIPSET is involved in a five-year research project related to community colleges. DHET would like to use the conceptual framework and research to inform policy and practice. CIPSETs role in the TVET College sector is regarded as an additional advantage.

This initiative forms part of a national pilot project of DHET. The community college is a new educational structure intended to respond to the socio-economic needs of communities and would therefore offer a variety of formal and non-formal programmes for out-of-school adults and youth.

One of the areas of CIPSET’s work is a five-year research project that investigates the development of non-formal community education programmes for out-of-school youth, adults and communities. This research project is funded by the National Skills Fund (NSF) and is the only project of its kind currently underway. The DHET recognises the value of this research as it directly relates to the policy formulation process for community colleges.

“This research project and the partnership with DHET is a good example of how university research could help shape national policy. It also opens up further research possibilities for many academics and students who are socially-engaged and oriented towards scholarship that addresses the socio-economic needs of marginalised communities,” says Ivor.

Currently, CIPSET is one of only two university-based research centres (the other is at the University of Johannesburg) where this kind of research is underway.

CIPSET’s community education programme team consisting of 25 people, 22 of whom are community investigators involved in community participatory action research. This programme is supported through funding from the CHIETA, EWSETA and Education Policy Consortium. 

Work with PE College and HIV and AIDS project

NMMU has been awarded a grant by higher education HESA’s AIDS’ (HEAIDS) branch to train TVET lecturers in integrating HIV and AIDS into selected curricula. As project manager, CIPSET works closely with NMMU’s HIV and AIDS Unit, the HIV and AIDS Education Research Chair, the Centre for Teaching and Learning and staff from PE College.

Lecturers in renewable energy, safety and society, life orientation and tourism are encouraged to use a community practice model in integrating HIV and Aids into curricula. 

Moodle will be used as a tool to support interactive learning and teaching. Lecturers at PE College will therefore broaden and deepen their understanding of HIV and AIDS, demonstrate the integration of HIV and AIDS into their curricula, work as a community of practice and learn how to use Moodle as an instrument for teaching and learning. Lecturers involved in the project will share their experiences with their colleagues as part of the non-formal education.