An appraisal of determinants affecting grade 9 learners’ selection of subjects in the field of technology for the FET phase in the Sedibeng area
Kruger, Jan Adriaan
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Notwithstanding the possibilities offered by FET subjects in the field of Technology, the selection of these subjects is not very common which results in a shortage of skilled trade workers, impacting negatively on the country’s economic growth. The researcher was therefore interested to establish the determinants affecting Grade 9 learners’ selection of subjects in the field of Technology for the FET Phase in the Sedibeng area. By means of a literature and empirical study the aforementioned was investigated. In the literature study, which provided the foundation for the study, the rationale and value of Technology education and its infusion in the South African school curriculum were explored. This was followed by an examination of possible factors impacting on learners’ subject choice. The literature study was concluded by providing a concise outline of subject choices in the field of Technology as specified by the Department of Basic Education. The empirical study was based on a sequential explanatory mixed methods research design. The research consisted of two parts. A quantitative survey, using self developed questionnaires, was conducted in 17 schools among 10 Grade 9 Technology teachers and their learners (n=388) in two districts of the Sedibeng area. This was followed by a qualitative, phenomenological study in which three Technology subject facilitators working in the same area were interviewed. By applying a factor analysis, the quantitative research results revealed that central and peripheral factors affecting Grade 9 learners’ selection of subjects in the field of Technology for the FET Phase in the Sedibeng area could be distinguished. The central factors included the following: competent, compassionate teachers, the personal and developmental value of the subject, stimulation and the distribution of information regarding the subject. The range of subjects for the FET phase in the field of Technology offered by schools, the complexity level of subjects in the field of Technology, personal interest in a subject and future prospects offered by a subject constituted the peripheral factors. The qualitative findings were used to clarify, refine, explain and extend the quantitative results. The research participants in this part of the study indicated that much could still be done to enhance the competence and compassion of Technology teachers, that the value of Technology education should be better justified and that the availability and quality of resources in the field of Technology education deserves attention. There is thus evidence that much must still be done to make the selection of subjects in the field of Technology more attractive to learners.
- Education