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Report of the research colloquium on post-school education and training: State of research on post-school education and training in South Africa

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Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)

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Morrow, Sean


research report



The purpose of the research colloquium was to deepen the conversation among stakeholders in the PSET sector in order to share research findings and promote research utilisation and dissemination. The first session presented an overview of the PSET research landscape, emphasising the need for shared knowledge and collaboration between researchers. The second session dealt with the scope of research in the area; the various institutional players; initiatives to make the results of research being carried out more widely accessible; and possibilities for strengthening these initiatives. The growing involvement of the SETAs in research in their field was stressed. The third session looked at large‐scale datasets as a resource for PSET‐related research. A number of the institutions that produce such datasets, including the relevant section of the DHET itself, made presentations. Particularly emphasised were issues of researcher access to such data, questions of confidentiality, reliability and the potential power to be derived from bringing together such large datasets to interrogate questions that might not be answerable from a single dataset, however large. The fourth session focused on the research‐policy nexus and raised questions of socially aware research investigations vis‐a‐vis technocratic empiricism. It was emphasised that research questions are never ideologically neutral, and that, particularly in the contemporary context of increasing structural unemployment, a focus on initiatives that deal with the realities of poverty and the limitations of formal education as an answer to these realities, while also taking community initiatives seriously, is imperative.

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