Constructing a mutually empowering university: funder and school partnership through action research
AbstractThis article suggests that the traditional pure research which universities undertake is limited in impacting on communities. The article indicates that this type of research often does not empower communities as researchers, for these tend to be objects, of the research projects. The article argues that universities, however, have a role to play to facilitate research, which directly empowers communities, specifically as researchers. As part of the argument, the article refers to the Action Research project conducted in the Durban South Region, within the Kwa-Zulu Natal Education Department. This research involved five racially mixed schools each working on its chosen problem area. The Department of Educational Planning and Administration facilitated the project through Professor R G P Ngcongo. The article also outlines how the process of facilitating the Action Research project by the University, which was represented by Professors L M Magi (Vice Rector in the University), Professor R V Gabela (Head of the Department of Educational Planning and Administration) and Professor Ngcongo (Assistant Head within the Department) constituted mutual empowerment, between educator-researchers and the Department of Educational Planning and Administration. The article also points out how accountability of the project was ensured. The article indicates challenges of facilitating the undertaking of action research by schools and discusses how these were managed. It concludes by mentioning the limitations and strengths of the project and reiterates the role which universities could play in promoting community service through action or similar research.
(South African Journal of Higher Education: 2003 17 (1): 140-145)