• Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development
    International academics present Higher Education Research Seminar
    Prof Richard Tabulawa (University of Botswana) and Dr Tristan McCowan (UCL Institute of Education, UK) presented an engaging seminar in the Botswana policy context.
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  • Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development
    Professor Ann-Marie Bathmaker (University of Birmingham) presents seminar at CRHED
    Prof Bathmaker presented an engaging seminar entitled ‘Pathways to social mobility – investing in the future? Moving through HE and into employment’.
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  • Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development
    ESRC-DfID ‘Miratho’ Project off to an exciting start
    The Miratho Project team spent three weeks working together in March 2017, including two weeks of fieldwork in rural areas across South Africa.
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  • Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development
    Enabling Success Project celebration and book launch
    Students participating in Prof Merridy Wilson-Strydom’s NRF Thuthuka-funded project were excited to launch their book entitled ‘In Our Own Words’ on 18 March 2017.
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  • Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development
    CRHED staff publish two new books
    Two new books edited/written by CRHED staff and published by Palgrave MacMillan came out in early 2017.
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  • Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development
    Women in Sciences and Technology
    Dr Mikateko Höppener hosted a science communication and engagement workshop sponsored by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

Universities, Employability and Human Development (2013-2016)

Melanie Walker, with Tristan McCowan (UK, project co-ordinator), Eric Ananga in Ghana, Ebrahim Oanada in Kenya, and Segun Adedeji and Stephen Oyebade in Nigeria.  

Funding: British Council

The research project was proposed by the British Council to help identify what universities were already doing and what else they could do to enhance the employability of their graduates. The project involved five countries: the UK, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya and ran for three years from 2013 to 2016, with a focus on undergraduate education and case studies of universities in each country, 14 universities in total. A comprehensive final report including chapters on each participating country, was prepared by the research team and recommendations drawn out to contribute to discussions about the direction and practices of higher education in sub-Saharan Africa. The South Africa study was especially concerned with understanding employability as a matter of justice inside universities – what universities could do to reduce injustice – even while recognising the real constraints imposed on universities by the broader economy and labour market. It produced case studies of four South African universities – the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) and the University of the Free State (UFS), the historically disadvantaged comprehensive University of Venda (Univen), and a comprehensive university, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). The research methods included a desktop review of literature and an empirical quantitative and qualitative fieldwork phase in the case study at universities during the second and third year. Secondary data was also collected: policy documents, strategic plans, relevant faculty and departmental reports, as well as other important documents such as from the graduate and student placement office. The quantitative data was collected through an online survey of all final-year students in the four case-study universities.  A total of 1 618 (17.5 per cent) students responded to the survey. In all 165 people were also interviewed – final-year students and staff in the universities, focusing on general degrees in Science and/or Engineering, Arts, Social Science, and Commerce.   The numbers at each university varied in relation to how many students were willing to volunteer.  Not all were interviewed individually, some were interviewed in focus groups where there were larger numbers of volunteers. A sample of 25 of the students were later tracked – about one year after graduation – for a telephone interview.  In addition, 17 employers were interviewed in order to understand how they view graduates produced by the universities.

Employability book

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