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Thursday, July 4 • 1:30pm - 2:10pm
Namibian Educational Leadership and Management Masters curricula

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Tertiary education curricula should strive to provide relevant knowledge required by human capital to propel the economy (Maton, 2014). This is because the effectiveness of the graduates depends on the relevance and quality of the curriculum they are exposed to. Hence, tertiary education curriculum on which basis economic growth depends, should seek to produce knowledgeable graduates. However, literature reveals that studies on the curricula of tertiary education specifically master’s degree in ELM, which forms focus of this study, are very minimal (Hallinger 2017). I agree with Webbstock (2016) who contends that curriculum is a neglected area of discourse and what counts as knowledge is in ‘rapid flux and this has major implications for how higher education is organised, for curriculum, for research and teaching and learning’ (p. 15). Therefore, this study will investigate the coursework master’s curricula in Educational Leadership and Management (ELM) in Namibian higher education institutions. Maton (2014) emphasises that we live in knowledge societies and work in knowledge economies. He further adds that knowledge is ‘the basis of education as a social field of practice- it is the creation, curricularization and teaching and learning of knowledge which make education a distinctive field’ (ibid, p. 3). Like South Africa, who has experienced a speedily shifting higher education landscape (le grange, 2011), Namibia also has shared a similar tendency. As a result, the questions surrounding knowledge in the curriculum becomes a key issue.

Against this backdrop, this paper argues for the need for a doctoral study focusing on knowledge and knowers in Namibian, MEd (ELM) curricula. One of the goals of this doctoral study is to establish the type of content knowledge valued in the ELM curriculum for masters’ degree in Namibian tertiary institutions. A final goal will be to ensure that ELM curricula provide graduates with relevant and contemporary knowledge for economic growth through a collaborative change laboratory process with the academics involved in Masters (ELM) curricula.

The study will be guided by the following overarching question:
What content knowledge is privileged in these curricula?
Sub- questions:
What is the basis of legitimation of the M Ed ELM programmes in Namibia?
Whose knowledge is valued in these programmes and why might this be the case?
How do students experience the knowledge practices and teaching practices in these programmes?
How can the Change Laboratory workshops contribute to the development of these programmes?

In addressing the above research questions, this study will use Legitimation Code Theory as an explanatory framework to surface the bases of legitimation across the two institutions’ curricula.

My rationale for using LCT is further strengthened by its ability to focus on codes which provide a means to conceptualise the structuring principles of intellectual and educational fields. This is of importance as the focus of my study is at the level of recontextualization (curriculum) which is a part of an educational field. The tool of specialisation will be very useful in this regard. Specialisation refers to the notion that human practices are about or positioned towards something and are concerned with the relations to subjects. Specialisation will enable knowledge practice to be seen, their organisation principles knowledge to be conceptualised and their effects to be investigated (Maton, 2014). Furthermore, the tool of semantics will also be relevant to this study which referred to the structuring relations to context and the condensation of meaning.

This study intends to generate data through document analysis, observation, questionnaires, semi-structured face to face interviews and change laboratory workshops underpinned by Cultural Historical Activity Theory’s (CHAT) third generation. The relevance of CHAT to this study is its belief of its ‘central role of contradictions/tensions as a source of change and development’ (Engestrom, 2001, p. 137). Another reason for using CHAT in this study is that it provides the ‘possibility of expansive transformation in activity systems’ (Engestrom, 2001, p. 137) in the Change Laboratory.

This study is therefore significant as its findings will help to inform policy makers on contemporary insights regarding curriculum development, which may result in restructuring current master’s degree programmes to address current socio-economic needs. The study will also make available literature pertaining to the studies of curricula for ELM in Namibia, at master’s levels, which is currently proved to be minimal. Such availability will provide solid database for future scholars to use as foundation for their research studies in ELM within the Namibian context. Hence this study is significant in filling the literature gap that is currently existing, as far as curricula studies for ELM at master’s level is concerned in Namibia.

Thursday July 4, 2019 1:30pm - 2:10pm SAST
Room B45