School of Education - Centre for Researching Education and Labour (Other publications)

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    Linking knowledge, education and work: exploring occupations
    (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022) Centre for Researching Education & Labour (REAL); University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
    To have an occupational identity is to occupy a social and moral as well as economic position, to have mastered bodies of knowledge (both theoretical and practical), and earned a jurisdiction over practice.
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    Connecting skills planning to provision
    (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2023) Centre for Researching Education & Labour (REAL); University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
    Skills planning and development for the public sector are intrinsically linked to the state’s capacity to deliver on its social service and development mandates.
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    Where do competency and competency frameworks fit into building a capable and competent state that delivers?
    (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2023) Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL); University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
    In the wake of Cabinet approving the 2022 National Framework for the Professionalisation of the Public Service, the debate has intensified around transforming the Public Service Sector (PSS) to contribute to a professional, ethical and capable developmental state. Therefore, a renewed focus has been on professionalising the PSS with competent and skilled employees. The first question to answer is how the sector assesses whether public servants are competent and performing in line with specific behaviours linked to their roles and functions.
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    The futures of work: what education can and can’t do
    (2020) Buchanan, John; Allais, Stephanie; Anderson, Michael; Calvo,Rafael A.; Peter, Sandra; Pietsch, Tamson
    It is commonly assumed today that education is crucial for meeting the challenges concerning the futures of work. But education cannot make up for inadequacies in other policy domains that have caused and continue to cause declining job quality as well as mass unemployment and under-employment. We suggest that preoccupation with aspirational curriculum reforms like ‘21st century skills’ and ‘micro-credentials’ promoted to achieve employment growth can be a distraction from what successful education systems can achieve. At their worst, they compromise the capacity for education to play what constructive role it can play in meeting the challenges surrounding the futures of work. We present the argument in four parts: • Section One considers the context in which education will be operating for the foreseeable future. Climate change will be fundamental. The other key issues will be changing life courses (especially changing gender relations); technological change (especially automation and data-ification) and inequality. • Section Two highlights the significance of two currently neglected but crucial guiding concepts: labour demand and education as a distinctive domain. These concepts enable us to understand what education can and cannot do concerning the futures of work. • Section Three argues that at its best, education helps people master bodies of conceptual knowledge as well as relationships between bodies of knowledge, nurtures learning dispositions, and equips people with skills and capacities that support the common good. These qualities enable people to handle changing life courses and challenges arising from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a world drowning in information. Education can also support new configurations of expertise made possible by new technologies and new configurations of power. Section Four considers policy implications. It highlights the importance of building effective institutions: agile stability in education systems and new organisational forms for occupational citizenship in labour markets. Finally, in the conclusion we argue that while education cannot solve most problems concerning the futures of work, there can be no solution to these problems without quality, enduring institutions supporting education and occupational coherence in the labour market.
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    Why management is not an occupation: implications for professionalising the public service sector
    (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2023) Centre for Researching Education & Labour (REAL); University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
    The government’s aim to create a professional, ethical and capable developmental state rests on competent public sector employees driving service delivery. The National Framework for the Professionalisation of the Public Service includes an approach to appointing managers. The approach includes how managers will be assessed for competencies, trained, and upskilled. The critical question is how the public service sector understands and defines management.
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    Debunking the myth of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
    (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022) Moll, Ian
    The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is all the rage these days.1 In ideological terms, it appears to be hegemonic in its construal of our contemporary socioeconomic context, from our day-to-day interpersonal exchanges to the machinations of the global economic order. We often hear appeals to the supposed “magic”2 of the technology that goes with it, to resolve the economic, political and educational crises and problems of the world (and latterly, its health crises – WEF, 2020). Appeals to a 4IR usually go with a listing of a whole lot of ‘new’, ‘unprecedented’ technologies that sound smart, make us feel outdated, and leave us in awe of the future. Technologies like cyber systems, artificial intelligence, delivery drones, the internet of things, and fully autonomous killer robots.3 But it is around this misleading sense of awe – which I shall later refer to as an ideology – that my argument turns in this paper. None of these technologies necessarily warrants the claim that we are in a technological revolution, let alone a “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. I shall examine these and similar technologies, to establish my claim. The argument also runs deeper than that. An industrial revolution, properly conceived, encompasses a complex range of economic, social and cultural transformations, and there is very little evidence to suggest that we are living through a fourth one of these. A careful, deep analysis of the First, Second and Third Industrial Revolutions will make this quite clear. What we discover in these three revolutions, by way of fundamental social transformation, is not taking place in the current context of the digital, networked, information society.