Die taak van die universiteit in die voorsiening van voortgesette onderwys
Espach, Johannes Benjamin
MetadataShow full item record
1. THE PROBLEM INVESTIGATED - In the course of the past decade it has become clear that the ever-increasing tempo of scientific and technological development has increasingly placed the stress to a larger extent on proper training, and the implementation of especially high-level manpower. Apart from formal education continuing education and in-service training and retraining have begun to receive attention universally from educational authorities. It is also a fact that the practitioner of a profession periodically has to receive continuing education and training in order * to attain specialised knowledge in his own field; * to keep up with recent developments in his field; and * to get help with new adjustments and challenges posed by the profession he is in. Apart from continuing education to the professional practitioner, provision also has to be made for supportive programmes, provision for ad hoc needs for knowledge about specific issues, the identification of individuals who either did not enter into the sphere of formal education or who left it early, and the fulfilment of knowledge about recreational activities. With regard to continuing education the following might be stated axiomatically: * education and training are continuing activities; * in both developed and developing countries lifelong learning should receive the highest priority rating in all educational planning, and * in the RSA the need for continuing education was stressed by two recent government reports, viz. Provision of Education in the RSA (HSRC Report), 1981, and Report of the National Manpower Commission on High Level Manpower in the RSA, 1980. The problem to be investigated was thus: What task does the university have in the provision of continuing education and how can the university fulfil this task? In other words, it has to be determined what the task of the university, with its special structural nature, skills and facilities is with regard to the provision of continuing education, with its complex objectives, structure and idiosyncratic nature. 2. HYPOTHESES - The following research hypotheses were postulated: Main hypothesis The university with its skills encompassed in a large number of departments, bureaus and institutes, has, apart from its task of formal instruction of registered students, also the task of making a contribution in the provision of continuing education to practitioners of professions and the “general public”. Sub-hypothesis 1: The special nature of continuing education makes possible the effective participation of the university in this activity. Sub-hypothesis 2: The university, on the basis of its special structure, is particularly suited to make a contribution in the field of continuing education. Sub-hypothesis 3: Various overseas and South African universities are already actively engaged in the field of continuing education. Sub-hypothesis 4: The Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education has a contribution to make in the field of continuing education on the basis of its special character. 3. METHOD OF RESEARCH - At the inception of the study a hypothesis and a number of sub-hypotheses were postulated. In the course of the study the hypotheses were then proved either in terms of being acceptable or unacceptable. Use was also made of a literature survey and interviewing by way of a schedule of questions asked of university departments and units for continuing education at universities. Concepts were defined, deductions and conclusions were arrived at and descriptions were also used. * In chapter 2, by means of a literature survey, variant concepts of continuing education were dealt with and explicated, viz., amongst others, adult education, lifelong education, life-wide education and recurrent education. The nature, the essence, the structure and aspects of continuing education were also dealt with. Subsequently motives which adults have for participating in continuing education programmes were examined, and it emerged that the social togetherness with others and the desire to make progress professionally are important motives. The need for continuing education to be integrated into the system of formal educational provision was stressed. * In chapter 3 the task of the university, with special reference to the provision of continuing education, was put under the magnifying glass. It was pointed out that continuing education is one of the most important aspects of the community service which the university can render. * In chapter 4 the stress was on the provision of continuing education at some overseas universities. Examples of courses for the practitioners of professions as well as generally formative and culturally enriching programmes were provided. Both the manner of presentation of these courses and the purpose of the courses were looked at. * In chapter 5 the provision of continuing education in South African universities were dealt with in the same way. Reference was made evaluatively to noticeably positive and less positive aspects of the provision of continuing education at each university. * In chapter 6 attention was given to the provision of continuing education at the PU for CHE with due regard for the special nature and essence of the university, the area from which the university draws its students and the skills offered at this university. Apart from continuing educational courses initiated by the Bureau for Continuing Education and presented under its auspices, reference was also made to continuing educational courses offered by departments, bureaus and institutes. In the same manner as when dealing with the other universities, evaluation was made and deficiencies pointed out. * In chapter 7 findings were arrived at, conclusions drawn and some recommendations made. 4. FINDINGS - 4.1 With regard to the sub-hypotheses: 4.1.1 The special nature of continuing education makes possible the effective participation of the university in this activity Continuing education is a creative event which continues throughout man’s life and which has the purpose of integrating the various learning events with each other in order to have man developed in his totality. Continuing education points to a new view and a new approach with regard to education and the provision of educational services. The view that education should be limited merely to institutions for formal education has made room for a new approach: education carries on throughout man is life. It is also true that no initial training can offer a guarantee for lifelong training, and it is periodically necessary for practitioners of professions to be trained in-service. “Professional practitioner” implies someone who has already received higher education.) School and university curricula should to a larger extent make provision for continuing education. Stress has to be put throughout on the need for continuing education. Through bringing home self-study techniques to pupils and students they can be prepared for eventual further training following the period of formal education at the secondary or the tertiary level. Continuing education envisages the optimal development of all people at all stages of life, and the optimal utilization of all educational facilities (including therefore those of the university too) in the interests of the state, but above all with a view to the richer personal fulfilment of the individual. Although continuing education indicates education in the wider sense, it places primary stress on professional training and re-training, that is, in-service training of professional practitioners. What is also envisaged with continuing education is culturally and generally formative education of the "general public". The special nature and objectives of continuing education, viz. to retrain the professional practitioner periodically, thus makes possible the effective participation of the universities which are especially equipped to fulfil this demand, the need for continuing education. 4.1.2 The university, on the basis of its special structure, is particularly suited to make a contribution in the field of continuing education It is universally accepted that the task of the university is to teach, to do research and to provide community service. The university serves the local community from which it receives financial support and other support, and from which its students are drawn. The university also renders service to the national community through the training of scientists and professional practitioners. As a result of technological developments in all fields throughout the world, the task of community service of the university has been thus influenced that increasingly attention has had to be given to the training, re-training and in-service training of professional practitioners. This further training is also in the first instance applicable to those who have already been trained for a profession, but whose knowledge has become obsolescent as a result of technological development. It is also true that the community service of the university is linked to the teaching and research tasks of the university and that continuing education can be mentioned as an example of community service. The university has special skills which are situated in its academic departments and research and teaching bureaus and institutes. The university also has the calling of rendering community service in the shape of continuing education. It is universally accepted that continuing education is not a separate activity of the university is teaching structure, that continuing education should be offered at university level and that co-ordinated continuing educational activities are to be preferred tci separate, ad hoc efforts. On the other hand it is generally accepted that community service (and implicitly continuing education) should not take place at the expense of the primary task of the university which is teaching and research. 4.1.3 Various overseas and South African universities are already actively engaged in the field of continuing education Continuing educational courses which have as an objective in-service training or refresher courses for professional practitioners, and the general forming and knowledge and cultural enrichment of the community, are offered locally and overseas over a wide spectrum. Continuing education courses for professional practitioners, e.g. for attorneys, medics, nurses, social workers, accountants, engineers and teachers vary from one-day seminars to three-week residential courses. Generally formative and culturally enriching courses for the public vary from evening classes to week-long courses and mostly also include public lectures on topical events. These courses often form part of Winter and Summer Schools. Courses providing knowledge about recreational activities are also included in these fields. Examination of continuing education courses is seldom done, and normally only attendance certificates are presented. On the other hand, it usually happens at overseas universities that credits for degree purposes can be achieved through continuing education courses. It is also a fact that in some cases at overseas institutions so much value is attached to continuing education as a means to the further training of the employee that substantial rebates are allowed in personal income tax to the employee in terms of costs incurred in the course of continuing educational courses. At most South African universities, in contrast to overseas universities, no attention to speak of is given to research on continuing education. Continuing education units usually function as separate departments at universities and are controlled according to regulations, constitutions etc. In some cases at South African universities the unit for continuing education constitutes part of another department, such as for example university education. With regard to the financing of continuing education units, the following variations are found: from completely self-sufficient to completely dependent on financing through the university. In South Africa continuing education of universities can not claim state subsidies. In England continuing education is fully subsidized by both the central and local governments. Apart from presentation of continuing education courses in the form of lectures, seminars, conferences and discussions, courses at some overseas universities are also presented by means of audio and video cassettes and by way of correspondence courses. Radio and television are also freely used for this purpose by universities that have their own radio transmitters and/or television channels. 4.1.4 The Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education has a contribution to make in the field of continuing education on the basis of its special character The academic skills of the PU for CHE are located in 8 faculties, more than 80 academic departments and a number of bureaus, centres and institutes. This university also has its own specific skills because of its Christian-Afrikaans character, its rural but also semi-urban situation (Vaal Campus) and its specia1 area from which students are drawn - skills which are transmitted via a Christian practice of scho1arship and which can then also make a contribution to the provision of continuing education. In the same way as is the case with other South African universities, the objective of continuing education at this university is also periodically to retrain professional practitioners and also to render community service in the form of generally formative and culturally enriching programmes. Because of the rural situation of this university the nature of continuing education differs from urban universities, in the same way that the number of people involved in the programmes are different. 4.2 With regard to the main hypothesis: On the basis of the acceptance of the above four sub-hypotheses the main hypothesis can also now be accepted. The crucial finding on the basis of the research is that the university, with its skills encompassed in a large number of departments, bureaus and institutes, apart from the formal task of teaching registered undergraduate and postgraduate students, also has the task of rendering continuing education to professional practitioners and the "general public". 5. SOME RECOMMENDATIONS MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE COMPLETED RESEARCH - The recommendations emanating from the research are distinguished into two groups, viz. recommendations with regard to continuing education in general by universities, and secondly recommendations aimed more specifically at continuing education at the PU for CHE. 5.1 General recommendations: * Research on continuing education should get more attention. * Continuing education provision to the professional practitioner could be extended to more professions. * More co-operation should be obtained with professional councils in the provision of continuing education for the professional practitioner. * Universities could co-operate in the presentation of continuing education courses. * Co-operative training ("sandwich courses") should be considered for the training of various professional practitioners. * Continuing educational presentations at universities should receive financial support from government. 5.2 Recommendations more specifically with regard to continuing education at the PU for CHE: * More attention should be directed to the continuing educational opportunities for the agricultural and mining sectors. * More effective liaison should be effected between the Bureau for Continuing Education and academic departments. * Consideration should be given to audio and video cassettes and correspondence courses in the presentation of continuing education courses, amongst others in Christian scholarship. * Continuing education courses can be presented decentralized to a larger extent. * The institution of a course in non-formal education at the H.E.D. or B.Ed. levels should be considered.
- Education