The importance of shepherd leadership in easing the text book burden for South African university students
Keywords:Text book burden, Book publishers, Shepherd leaders, South African university students
Herein the argument advanced is that excellent shepherd leadership practices serve as a condition necessary for affording South African university students easy access to the required book chapters instead of enduring the burden of having to buy the full books. In order to embellish this viewpoint, relevant data were collected through focus group interview discussion sessions (FGIDs) with a sample of 40 purposefully sampled participants from a target population of university students, lecturers and local text books sales personnel. These participants were first categorised into 4 focus groups of 10 members each and were interviewed for a duration of between 40 minutes and one hour per focus group. By adopting an interpretivist paradigm, utilising a qualitative research approach and descriptive phenomenology as strategy of enquiry (design genre) the study was able to explore the lived experiences of the participants. The two key research questions guiding the study were; how can the key university lecturers as curriculum leaders and shepherd leaders easy the text book burden on South African university students? And what role can text book publishing companies play towards easing the text book burdens on university students? Deploying shepherd leadership as the theoretical framework or lenses for viewing and analysing the data through inductive and or thematic approach, the study’s main finding was that since the biggest cost that university students have is books and given that most of the books are only used for one semester, their exorbitant prices more often than not, lead students to resort to photocopying while publishers lose out. The study concluded that using such new platforms as E-llumin 8, can help students alleviate their text book burden since it allows them access to specifically prescribed book chapters at a time instead of buying the full books. The chief recommendation from the study was that university lecturers need to work in liaison with the key book publishing companies to embrace any new and innovative ways to ease the text book burden on students whilst also ensuring that publishers do not lose out.
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