The Impact of Academic Empowerment Training Programmes in Improving Teaching and Learning: A Case of Academic Staff at The University of Technology
South African higher education landscape has been subjected to transformation since post-apartheid. Academic staff are required to change and adopt new teaching approaches to meet the requirements and expectations set by higher education institutions. This means that there is a drastic need for academic staff to be trained in order to strengthen their teaching competencies, knowledge and skills, and be encouraged to upgrade their qualifications. Without continuous properly coordinated empowerment programmes, training and skills development, academics will find it increasingly difficult to carry out their core activities which include research, teaching and learning, continuous professional development and community engagement. This study intends to identify academic staff perceptions of empowerment programmes initiated by the selected university of technology and the challenges involved in empowering academic staff to improve their teaching and learning. A quantitative research approach was therefore used, with open-ended and closed questionnaire as data collection instrument. Using a nonprobability purposive sampling technique, a sample size of 132 was selected.
The findings of the study revealed that the university provided academic staff with empowerment programmes, however, the university failed to consult with staff on programmes that they needed in order to improve their teaching and learning. The study findings further revealed that the university lacked a proper system to evaluate the impact of these empowerment programmes and training towards the development of academics and the improvement of teaching and learning at the university. The recommendations were made on different aspects in line with the findings of the objectives of the study.
Keywords - Training, Development, Teaching, University of Technology