The dilemma of Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) in South African higher education – the case of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Johannesburg
The South African Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF) gazetted in 2007 sets a revised qualifications framework that necessitates the re-evaluation and redesign of programmes to align with the new framework. For the first time the HEQF introduced the term ‘Work-Integrated Learning’ (WIL) into a Department of Education document with possible legal consequences for institutions of higher education, as the framework document provides that higher education institutions offering qualifications with a WIL component must place the students. This has led to a dilemma as placements are not always readily available. In addition, there is ‘pressure’ within institutions and from certain faculty members to eliminate the WIL component from curricula.
This article aims to answer the following questions:
- Is it worth retaining WIL in the Town and Regional Planning academic programme?
- If it is found that WIL should remain part of the qualification, when should the students engage with this component?
- If it is found that WIL should remain part of the qualification, for how long should this component be offered?
This article presents the findings of the qualitative study aimed at finding a solution to the dilemma relating to WIL, with students and partners from industry being surveyed for their input. It, therefore, forms part of what is an ongoing dialogue concerning all aspects relating to appropriate education.
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