Academic staff's aparthy towards formal professional development programmes at North west University, Mafikeng campus
Makunye, atiase Matthews
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The purpose of this dissertation was to explore reasons for academics' apathy towards formal professional development programmes at North-West University, Mafikeng Campus. For this study, the research design used was essentially descriptive, employing both qualitative and quantitative research techniques to gather and analyse data. Three techniques, namely, questionnaire surveys, analysis of University documentary sources on professional development, and literature review, were utilised to obtain information pertinent to this study. The researcher established from the literature that the possible reasons for apathy towards professional development could be that people do not feel that their needs coincide with the mission/purpose statement of their organisation; people have conflicting commitments and, as a result, are often unable to expend the levels of time and energy called for by the organisation; and that people believe that they do not play a significant role in the processes that drive their organisation. The literature also highlighted the following major impediments to professional development: low priority and lack of support; lack of reward for or incentives to attend training sessions; existence of panels and committees in charge of professional development, but inactive; lack of time; existing perceptions of staff training; difficulties of timetabling; and lack of specific funding. The questionnaire was structured around the following broad areas identified in the purpose of the study; strategies and activities that may be used to conduct professional development programmes in the University, rationale for participating in professional development programmes, academic staff's perceptions of professional development programmes, outcomes or effectiveness of professional development programmes, factors that are likely to promote professional development initiatives, and factors that are likely to impede professional development initiatives. The last question provided the respondents with the opportunity for additional information that they deemed necessary for the study. Despite all the perceived impediments to professional development, the respondents felt positive that if things are done correctly, the future of professional development in Higher Education Institutions is bright. However, there is an urgent need to take stock of the effectiveness of the current professional development initiatives and the findings from this study would serve as a basis for professional development initiatives in Higher Education Institutions. To this end the University needs to institute periodic needs assessment for professional development for both academics and the Institution as a whole. This will surely go a long way towards achieving the overall objective of professional development, which is the development of the individual and the Institution.