Labour market and institutional needs and dynamics in the introduction of a new technikon programme : a case study

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

This study focuses on the nature and degree of articulation between Technikon education and labour market needs in South Africa. More specifically, it examines the effectiveness of the assessment of labour market needs as well as the influence of institutional needs and dynamics within the formal decision-making process which governs the introduction of new programmes. The research takes the form of a case study in which the researcher examines the decision-making process relating to the introduction of a particular programme - the ND: Education: Home Economics - at a particular Technikon. Data consisted of official records and documents as well as transcripts of interviews with key participants in the decision-making process. The data was used to reconstruct and analyse the decision-making process as implemented in the case of this programme. The study argues that, in this case, the formal, prescribed process which purported to assess labour market needs did not effectively engage with the actual dynamics of the market place. The mechanisms designed to assess labour market needs were largely symbolic and highly bureaucratised. In addition to being weak in design, assessment procedures were not stringently implemented. While the introduction of new programmes is explicitly justified on the grounds of labour market needs, the decision-making process was in this case, strongly - though implicitly and informally - influenced by institutional needs and dynamics within the Technikon itself. This study points to the weaknesses in the design and control of the official prescribed process which guides decisions regarding the introduction of all new programmes at South African Technikons. On a theoretical level, it also calls into question an assumption on which much literature pertaining to Technikon education is premised, that is, the assumption that there is a relatively smooth articulation between the supply of Technikon graduates and labour market needs.

Bibliography: pages 84-88.