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Investigating the perception of the students and community organisations involved in service learning in a certificate programme in the African context.

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Date

2019

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Abstract

Over the years, there has been an increase in the implementation of service learning around the globe. This increase has largely been attributed to the presumed benefit it affords students, universities and community organisations. Service learning is a widely used pedagogy which has been proposed as a strategy through which universities can be responsive to societal problems and produce students who are civic minded and cognisant of issues that affect wider society, becoming active agents of change in their communities. Although service learning has become widely popular, there are challenges associated with this form of pedagogy. Advocates of service learning have argued that the challenges within the field of service learning ought to be addressed if service learning is to reach its full potential. The field of service learning has been criticised for neglecting to provide evidence of the benefits of service learning from the perspectives of community organisations. Furthermore, African scholars within this field have argued for an indigenous perspective of service learning, one which takes into consideration the diverse nature of the African context. The current study sought to investigate the perceptions of the benefits of service learning from the perspectives of students and community organisations in the African context. A total of 121 participants , 70 students and 51 community organisation representatives from Kenya, Lesotho and Zimbabwe were sampled for the study. An independent sample t-test analysis indicated that student and community organisations’ perceptions of the benefits of service learning were similar. However, there was a significant difference in the perception of extra human capacity as a benefit for community organisations. Furthermore, the independent sample t-test indicated that students were not as open as they thought they were during the service learning experience. An ANOVA analysis in the student sample indicated that there was a statistically significant difference in students’ perceptions of the expectations of service learning.

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Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

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