The Ruptures, Alterations and Innovations in the Social Sciences: Literature, Participatory Learning and Action, and Outcomes-Based Education in South Africa

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Inclusivity in literature curriculum design in tertiary institutions of learning South Africa is now needed to ensure degree programmes that are locally rooted, but have a global impact. For this reason, the discussion proposes synergy between the classical overly “top-down” approach with a “bottom-up” one in order to bring on board all stakeholders such as administrators, educators as well as the (in)visible (in)significant learners of literature in curriculum design. In this way, this discussion is premised on the relevance of an admixture of the tenets of theories of “grassroots assessment for development needs” such as “Participatory Learning and Action” (PLA) and the principles of Outcomes-Based Education (OBE). Such a synthesis of diverse perspectives, the discussion argues, allows for innovation in literary studies, for new directions in literature, for a fresh dynamic in curriculum design in the education system in South Africa – a complex, but, nevertheless, transforming society – using a multidisciplinary approach. This method, the discussion maintains, opens up ways in which the voices and perspectives of learners are privileged in the designing and implementation of programmes that affect their own lives. In this way, this discussion proposes “openness” in curriculum design so as to engage learners themselves in providing their own perceptions of literature in relation to their roles in South African civil society, to provide information about literature, which is useful to them as the basis for their own education that is likely to foster development and strengthening of civil society. The discussion further proposes that, because OBE imperatives emphasize the notion of an applied competence, there is, therefore, a commensurate need for community- needs-based progammes in literature in South Africa. To achieve this goal, the discussion concludes, it is instructive that tentative steps should instituted to ensure a dialogic process of curriculum design.


Keywords: Multidisciplinarity, Applied Competence, Relevance, Literature, Societal Needs-Based, Module/ Curriculum Design, Participatory and Learning Action, Development, Community-Oriented, Civil Society, "Top-Down"/"Bottom-Up"
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. George Samiselo

Senior Lecturer in English Literature, University of the Free State
Harrismith, Free State, South Africa

A Cecil Joh Rhodes Scholar, Dr George Samiselo holds three degrees in English: B. A. Ed. (Zambia), M. A. (Liverpool) and Ph. D. (Cape Town). His chief research interests are Narratology in Postcolonial African Fiction, Reception, Gender in African Literature and teaching literature in the context of Outcomes-Based Education.

Ref: I08P0765