Research and development in technikons: lacunae and challenges
AbstractThis article is underpinned by the current changes in the South African Higher Education environment and its impact on research within the Technikon sector. It is based on a case study of the M.L. Sultan Technikon (which has subsequently merged with Natal Technikon in April 2002 to form the Durban Institute of Technology). Instruments used include the weighted publication index for 2001 by amount of research activity and a survey of the structural and personal factors related to institutional research productivity. The rationale for the article is the growing sense of disillusionment among academic staff at previously disadvantaged Technikons that have a legacy of poor governance and research capacity. Also, standards of research and teaching have come under increasingly close examination as can be seen with the release of the New Academic Policy for Higher Education. Evidence from parallel investigations in the UK (Bassey 1995) and Australia (Ramsden 1998) point to the crucial role of academic leadership at management level in maintaining morale, enhancing productivity and increasing research output. The key recommendation of the article points toward a change in the dichotomous model of Technikon work (teaching versus research, practice versus theory) to continuous ones. More important to the Arts and Humanities is the need to devise appropriate measures of the range of scholarly outputs.
(South African Journal of Higher Education: 2003 17 (1): 9-15)