Can Humanities Social Science faculties (HSF) give utility value (economic) to the South African development state? : a case study of HSF of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the eThekwini region.
This research paper seeks to explore whether the University of KwaZulu-Natal (U.K.Z.N) Humanities Social Science Faculty (HSF) can provide utility (economic) value to the eThekwini region and the South African developmental state. Utility value within this paper is defined as being, „The welfare a given investor assigns to an investment with a particular expected return and risk.‟ (duke.edu). A developmental state according to Professor Ziya Onis is a “…state where the government is intimately involved in the macro and micro-economic planning in order to grow the economy.” (Onis 1991). Each existing developmental state has approached its development in a unique and contextually relevant manner. Yet all developmental states have one key variable prominent: Human Capital Development through investment in the Science Engineering and Management streams of study. This research project uses a qualitative research approach comprising of semi-structured interviews with selected personnel from the University‟s Humanities Social Science Faculty, private sector organisations, the local municipality, a representative from the Minister of Higher Education and Training and the Reference group set up by the Ministry to investigate the state of the HSF in South Africa. Six key questions will inform this research. Firstly, what is the content and curriculum make-up of a Humanities Social Science of the University of KwaZulu-Natal degree and what factors inform its make-up? Secondly, what is utility value expressed in employment terms does an HS degree provide? Thirdly, how are HSF Degrees structured to offer both knowledge and utility value to their students - and in turn - the South African job market? Fourthly, where do HSF graduates get employed i.e. in which Government Departments or industries do they find employment? Fifthly, what meaningful role does an HSF degree offer in the context of the developmental State in South Africa? And finally, does the UKZN HSF and its degrees need an overhaul? And if it is concluded that it does not need it, why does it not? This research project found that the Humanities Social Science Faculty and its products, the graduates , do provide utility value - needed for leading people and organisations - in the form of management skills, deductive reasoning, critical and lateral thinking. However, if the current state of the HS-Faculty continues, namely; the large number of students enrolled, the non-enterprising curriculum, the non-collaborative relationship between the faculty and local business and governmental structures, the HSF will have no “active role” in the developmental state and will in “fact” become a problem. And subsequently, a problem that contributes to the phenomena of unemployable graduates in a major way.
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