MISUNDERSTOOD AND MISAPPLIED OXFORD TUTORIAL SYSTEM IN THE TRAINING OF ACCOUNTANTS IN SOUTH AFRICA
University of Limpopo (SOUTH AFRICA)
South Africa higher education institutions have experienced a significant increase in student enrolment resulting in large class sizes. The School of Accountancy at the University of Limpopo undertook to mitigate against the potentially detrimental effects of large classes on accounting students and introduced a tutorial system, which has become a permanent feature that needs constant monitoring. The review of the system is now urgent than before as the School has plans in to prepare students for professional certification examinations in accounting and finance. Student enrolment has increased since 2009 without a proportionate increase in teaching staff and resources. Reportedly, this compromises the quality of teaching and learning.
The tutorial system, which is not sufficiently modelled along the Oxford Tutorial system, is a teaching and learning approach used to mitigate against the negative consequences of large classes. The effectiveness of the current tutorial system is in question. The context of this paper, tutorials are compulsory for students enrolled in accounting and fiancé. In 2014, tutorial group sizes exceeded 60 learners. In one case, 441 students had to be accommodated in 5 tutorial groups taught by 4 tutors. The paper is concerned with the pedagogical value of the tutorial system as presently implemented viewed from the tutor perspective. Therefore, the paper focuses on the experience of the facilitators in a tutorial system as a complemented by a review of the literature on the practices elsewhere. Owing to the diminished value, the paper argues that the assessment methodology incorporates tutorial in the formative assessment of the students to enhance ‘fit for purpose' between learning curriculum outcomes and the professional intent. To summarise the paper’s arguments, sizes of tutorial groups would make pedagogical value of tutorials to accounting students to diminish. The tutor becomes occasional lecturer. The arguments are based on the researchers experience with 18 students who were allowed to engage the course facilitator that played the role of a tutor and lecturer to the same students.