Investigation of the Collaborative Relationship between Industry and Academic Education in Open and Distance Learning: A South African Context

Patrick Nkhangweleni Mafenya


Despite growing importance of collaboration in research there has been very few investigations of the relationship that exists between industry, commerce and academic education in an open and distance learning (ODL) environment. The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore and describe the collaborative relationship that exists between industry, commerce and academic education in ODL. Triggering the call for the integration of industry, commerce and academic education are increasing employers’ criticisms that schools are delivering workers who lack problem-solving abilities and employability skills-all crucial for global economy. A shortage of skilled workers, combined with renewed interest in how to make education relevant to students has put the spotlight on technical vocational education and training. Furthermore, academic and vocational educators have been criticised for (1) providing curriculum that lacks participatory forms of learning, (2) promoting specific training and (3) encouraging a dual structure that segregates academic and vocational education. The research question: What collaborative relationship exists between industry and academic vocational education and training? provided the focus for the study. In-depth interviews were conducted to collect data. The collected data were digitally recorded, transcribed and analysed using Collaizi’s data analysis framework. The findings revealed that integrating academic and vocational education not only provides students with the necessary transferrable skills that employers want, but it also provides a mechanism for engaging those who have not thus far been engaged by academic learning.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n13p43

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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