CHALLENGES FACING ACADEMICS IN THE LECTURE-HALLS IN THE POST-APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA
Central University of Technology (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:The paper seeks to analyze factors that usually lead to lecture-room disturbances in the institutions of higher learning after the dawn of the democratic order in South Africa. The lecture-room disturbances should not only be construed as having negative implications in respect of student behavior, but should be looked from the broader perspective of abnormalities that affect efficient and effective teaching at the universities. The researcher looks at various factors from his own experience as a lecturer at one of the Universities of Technology in South Africa. His daily experiences are also shared by his counterparts at other South African Universities.
The factors which are linked to abnormalities in the lecture-room affect all stakeholders involved in the teaching environment, namely, lecturers, students, administrators, executives as well as the government. The stakeholders are affected because if the abnormalities are not addressed, the end results are high failure rate, mass exodus of qualified academic staff and loss of subsidy from the government. The factors which will be placed under the spotlight are: the education system of the country, student discipline, political set-up, language barriers, religious belief systems and socio-economic dynamics of the South African society.
After the dawn of democracy, the education system of South Africa changed many times, and this confuses the learners and affects their efficient transition to the institutions of higher learning. The students on arrival at the institutions cannot adapt to the new academic setting as they did not receive sound base at the high schools. The state of affairs poses a challenge to lecturing staff who make all efforts to deliver services of good quality to students who were never exposed to good teaching at high schools. The students discipline in lecture-rooms affects efficient teaching. It is difficult in some cases for lecturers to maintain lecture-room discipline as students from disintegrated families are difficult to manage and can disturb teaching. The new Constitution of the country that supports human rights for all citizens is also a cause for concern. At high schools, learners could not be spanked because the government states that spanking might damage their self-esteem. Dealing with persons who were never exposed to any form of discipline is likely to cause problems in the lecture-room.
Students come from various family backgrounds, and their family status, either rich or poor, come to play a role in the academic development of the students in the lecture-room. The pain of hunger and lack of material needs just to name a few, serve as impediments in the academic progress of the students.
From the foregoing, it is imperative for the teaching staff to develop a lecture-room discipline plan to eliminate the behavior patterns that affect normal teaching. The government should also at basic education level, provide a solid foundation by appointing qualified teachers who will prepare learners for the smooth passage into the institutions of higher learning.
Keywords: Challenges, academics, post-Apartheid South Africa.