TOWARDS A DIVERSITY-MANAGEMENT INCLUSIVE CURRICULA FOR EXITING UNIVERSITY GRADUATES TO MASTER THE MULTI-CULTURAL COMPLEXITIES OF A SOUTH AFRICAN WORK-PLACE
University of Zululand (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:With a few exceptions, higher education and training is expected to prepare students for a productive role in the work-place, and for a meaningful citizenry. With this realization comes certain expectations on what makes a meaningful education, academic course, content offering mechanism, educational outcome, and ultimately, standards of what an adequately educated individual should be. Then, associated assumptions are made on what should be the fitting curricula formats, pedagogy and a resultant qualification - across curricula planning and design settings. Emphasis is then placed on developing that skill and dexterity on a particular specialization. Whilst technical competence development remains central to most curricula offerings however, work-place processes are systemic processes with trans-specilsation dependence as core to organizational goal realization. We are asking therefore, whether training for vocational competency alone is adequate, and whether it should not also be cognizant of a mediating contextual setting (for desired productivity levels are to be realized)? Interpersonal factors mediate coherence between different vocational specializations in a working environment feature prominently is our critique. For, in multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual contexts of the increasingly globalizing society comes a related element of complexity. In effect, leading research suggests that disputes are a constant part of a diversified interactive setting, with 30% of workplace disagreements regarded as the necessary routine. With increased diversity on the other hand, however, comes increased complexity and related pressure. Subsequently, 70% of emergent disagreements develop into counter-productive disputes. Without adequate preparation therefore, such complexity can become overwhelming for a young graduate – with a high risk for frustration, disintegration and failure. Within this context, South Africa proves to be one of the most diversified societies with multiple cultures, ethnic formations and 11 official languages – albeit, with a history of divergent educational settings. Thus, we wanted to understand whether students outside the industrial psychology or other human resource (HR) management related fields are alerted to the complexities of a multi-ethnic, cultural, religion and multi-lingual workplace environments. For this reason, we adopted a qualitative approach within interpretivism to explore the concepts of workplace diversity, complexity, and the level to which curricula in the mainstream academic faculties is geared to empower effective work-place diversity management in the South African labour market. Using a quota sampling technique, curricula content in multiple curricula prospectus, together with interview data from relevant educators were selected and analyzed to ascertain the status quo at the University of Zululand. The findings point to a major vacuum on diversity management across all selected academic fields. It is on this basis that a conclusion has been limited to the inclusion of the management of diversity related complexity in curricula development processes across the board - as the main recommendation of this paper.
Keywords: Workplace Complexities, Diversity Management, Workplace Relations, Cultural Diversity, Labour Market Readiness, Workplace Readiness Curriculum.