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Investigating the effectiveness of academic boards in academic governance: a case study of TVET Colleges in Mpumalanga.

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ABSTRACT The Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) colleges are public institutions that abide by the policies of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The DHET legislation requires that the colleges should establish the Academic Boards. Their responsibility is to plan and manage the academic activities in the colleges and ultimately meeting its targets for students’ academic performance and, the production of skilled graduates who could participate in the labour market. The poor academic performance of students in the college signals that amongst others, the Academic Boards as the driving force behind academic performance in Mpumalanga have not met their targets and therefore, are not delivering on their mandate, in terms of the certification rates in the National Certificate (Vocational) and the Report 191 learning programmes, hence the investigation into the effectiveness of the Academic Boards in the academic governance of the colleges as the main aim of the research study. The conceptual framework that informed this research is on academic governance, focusing on leadership, policies and implementation, college industry partnerships and collaborations with other stakeholders. The population from which the respondents were drawn is 18 and 26 members from the two colleges respectively. A sample of 10 respondents, 5 from each college was selected using purposive sampling. They were investigated to ascertain how effective they were in their role as board members. A pragmatic paradigm, a mixed method approach and a case study was used as it could give in-depth understanding of the effectiveness of the board members in their roles. Data from the respondents was collected using the questionnaire, interviews and documents analysis. The thematic approach was used to analyse data. The findings indicate that amongst others, the management role of the Academic Boards is not clear to some members, policies are not abided by, and the boards do not approach matters of concerns as a collective, only senior management serving on the boards that engage stakeholders to form partnerships, not the entire boards. The conclusions made are that the Academic Boards are not effective in their functions. Recommendations based on the research findings, aiming at improving the academic performance of the college, have been made. Page | vi Keywords: Academic Boards, academic performance, colleges, academic governance, partnerships.


Master’s Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.