Curriculum development in South African technikons : towards a process of modularisation at M.L. Sultan Technikon.
In this qualitative study the fundamental principles of credit-based modular education are investigated from the perspective of international experience in Britain and the United States (US). The evolution of a mass higher education system, with multi-access and multi-exit pOints, in both Britain and the US, is outlined. The main concepts and principles, approaches, strengths and weaknesses, exemplars of good practice, and the potential problems of modularisation are elucidated. The purpose of the study is to identify the cardinal strategic issues to be considered in the process of implementing modularisation by M L Sultan Technikon. The data from three chief sources are triangulated: the literature; fieldwork at five universities in Britain; and documentation provided by these five universities. From these data, in particular that from interviews with academic staff in Britain with personal experiences of the process of modularisation, a plurality of interpretations, values, perceptions, opinions, and approaches is revealed. The study does not attempt to propose a single model for modularisation for universal application. The common themes to emerge as findings in this study illuminate the many complex and interrelated issues pertinent to modularisation that the respondents across the five universities identified. From these themes a series of critical questions to be posed by an institution in making decisions about modularisation is suggested. The implications of the themes and questions are explored, and a possible model for their integration is suggested. The model draws together the perspective of two contrasting orientations to curriculum and the dialectic between a managerial and an educational rationale for 'going modular'. This model forms the basis for an exploration of the implications for developing a credit-based modular system in the context of M L Sultan Technikon. The following important broader issues to emerge related to modularisation are briefly discussed: assessment; credit; awards; student counselling and guidance; management; administration; semesterisation; and change.