Academic communications skills: Where to from here?
Academic communication skills or academic literacies have been, since their inception after the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994, been aimed at assisting to achieve the broader goals of a restorative democracy that seeks make felt change in a new society. One is these is ensuring that higher education is demystified, massified and made accessible to all; that students admitted to higher education from the heterogeneous South African reality are brought on par on resumption of this stage through a scaffolding intervention that resulted in varied academic literacies and communication skills’ modules in various institutions. If students could resume their tertiary endeavors on par, so can healthy the throughput rate be ensured if attained skills enable them not only to succeed but flourish in higher education. This discussion briefly explores the role of academic literacy by interrogation its beginnings and rationale as well identifying areas it has fallen short in and need to work on intensively such that this module makes the felt change in students’ lives it is meant to. It concludes by reiterating that this is work in progress in a society, education system and all in a perpetual state of flux and that lecturers who are the designated agents of change in this area, can rise to this challenge if they are continuously sensitized and equipped to rise to it.
Key Concepts: Academic Literacy, Disadvantage, Under-preparedness, Scaffolding, Deficit-driven, Generic Skills, Attrition, Competence, Collaboration, Curriculum Integration,