The context we live in today as global citizens differs drastically from the context that was borne a decade ago. With this in mind countries, institutions and its people are challenged to keep revisiting the quintessence of their offerings and whether these match the demands of the current era. In the hope of making sense of their fit in their respective markets, higher education institutions are initiating methods of engagement with their internal staff to assess the content they are delivering to their students in attempt to embrace the wave of transformation in academic curriculum.
On Thursday, 4 June 2015, Monash South Africa (MSA) hosted a seminar for its academics to address matters of curriculum transformation and reflect on what this phenomenon embodies in today’s social, political and educational environment. The opening address of the seminar was given by Professor Alwyn Louw, MSA’s Academic President; and in attendance were 50 MSA academics and 3 external speakers. Speakers for the day were Professor Rolf Stumpf, Dr Kirti Menon and Dr Frans Ramusi. Each speaker presented a case on key issues relating to curriculum transformation, and the variant opportunities and challenges posed by the need to update curricula and the way it is being packaged for MSA students; in order to ensure that it meets South African, African and global requirements.
Professor Louw expressed that “the transformation environment in South Africa and on the continent is asking from higher education institutions to continuously reflect on the appropriateness of their qualifications in terms of relevance and quality of education that they offer. For this reason, institutions must continuously ask themselves whether the graduates they deliver are ready for the world of work, context we live in today and international environment. Therefore, curriculum transformation is fundamental and primarily driven by the commitment to deliver quality education and quality learning experiences to MSA students, that in turn impact their lives and the communities they come from.”
To produce graduates who are equipped for the world of work, that will perform well in their industries or outperform their counterparts, MSA considers it significant to take on practical and engaging forms of learning, in hope of increasing a learning experience that stimulates critical thinking and develops graduates that excel in their places of work. Furthermore, MSA believes that it is essential to provide opportunities for its students to gain access to industry while they are studying, and that as a new generation institution, it recognises the need for both theory and practice to work hand-in-hand in developing students into effective professionals.
MSA seeks to provide quality education to every student that enters its gates by preparing them for this new information era. There has been a paradigm shift from the former industrial era, which required students to merely consume information and replicate it as it is. However, establishing a new approach to learning, the information era expects institutions to teach their students how to extract meaning from the content they are taught and thereby guide them to function in this new era.
“At MSA, we are committed to preparing our students for the world of work as knowledge workers in the information era. By using information and communication technology effectively we open up learning opportunities for students and develop an excellent command of the use of technology”, said Professor Louw.
As a growing higher education institution, MSA continues to reimagine its curriculum through best practices in order to be relevant to its students and provide them with quality education. In essence, the road leading to curriculum transformation challenges MSA to redefine its teaching landscape as we know it, into a way that improves unit objectives and contributes to overall student learning experience.