The relevance of town and regional planning education in South Africa.
Faling, Cornelia Wilhelmina.
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Town and regional planning in South Africa is challenged by global-and local-economic, social and political changes; the weight of its history in the apartheid past; a poor image; and ultimately, a functional change in the traditional role of planners. South African planning schools have to more and more deal with under-prepared students and cope with competition from other disciplines. The crucial question is: does planning education prepare graduates adequately to make a contribution to the profession within this context? This thesis examines the relevance of planning education at South African universities. This is done firstly by comparing South African trends in planning to international trends, and secondly, by assessing practitioners' views on the relevance of planning programmes, and whether their skill requirements match the skills seen as important by planning educators and those offered by graduates. The empirical research was done by assessing four universities' planning programmes, interviewing senior staff at these universities, and surveying 40 planning practitioners in the corresponding four metropolitan areas. The main issues under enquiry were: the relevance of planning curricula; students' practical experience during training; specialist versus generalist education; undergraduate and/or postgraduate education; life-long learning, and the core skills and competency requirements upon entering the planning profession. The world needs planning, and planning education is the key to the survival of the profession. With certain reservations, it is concluded that planning education, through the teaching of appropriate skills, is relevant for planning practice. To a large extent, planning education at South African universities follows international trends.