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Report of the research colloqium on post-school education and training: Towards successful workplace-based learning in South Africa

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Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Education and Training Authority (MerSETA); Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)





The annual Research Colloquium is organised by the Research Forum on Post-School Education and Training (PSET) under the auspices of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The purpose of the Research Colloquium is to deepen the conversation among stakeholders in the PSET sector in order to share research findings and promote research utilisation and dissemination. The Colloquium took place at an opportune time as the DHET was in the process of developing a policy on WBL. The Colloquium provided an opportunity for the inclusion of important insights that needed to be addressed in the policy. The Research Colloquium comprised seven sessions: Session 1: Opening and global overview; Session 2A: Panel discussion: Expectations of WBL: Lessons from research and practice; Session 2B: Panel discussion: Expectations of WBL: Lessons from research and practice; Session 3: Panel discussion: Quality and quality assurance of WBL; Session 4: Policy context for WBL; Session 5: State of research on WBL; Session 6: Implications for policy; Session 7: Information systems for WBL: Innovation leaders; Common themes around policy prescriptions emerged over a wide range of topics from different perspectives. Despite the varied participants, similar recommendations were put forward. These included the following: The need for a common language, appropriate terminology and typology for WBL; The need for more research on WBL in South Africa; Employer/ Higher Education Institution mentorship and support for learners in the workplace; Curriculum alignment to industry; The need for a close relationship between institutions and industry; The need for roles and responsibilities of all role players to be formalised, and the need for Business to take a more proactive role in education and training. The policy recommendations are explored in more detail at the end of each section of this report. Based on the presentations and discussions over the two- day colloquium, it became evident that co-operative and work-integrated education models provide economic and social benefits for government, educational institutions, business and civil society; and that this results in a wide range of graduate attributes and innovative competencies that are required in the twenty-first century workplace.

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