Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0041-475120100002&lang=en vol. 50 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>The diminishing attractiveness of the academic profession in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-47512010000200001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Die doel van dié artikel is om met behulp van die data van die CAP (Changing Academic Profession) internasionale ondersoek na die akademiese professie te bepaal hoe aantreklik die Suid-Afrikaanse akademiese professie, vanuit hulle belewenis, die akademiese professie as loopbaan bevind. Uit die ondersoek blyk dit dat akademiese personeel in Suid-Afrika onder groot werkdruk verkeer. In vergelyking met ander professionele lui word hulle onderbesoldig. Boonop het hulle, onder 'n groeiende bestuurskultuur, baie van die vryheid en outonomie wat histories aan die akademiese professie gekoppel is, prysgegee. Dan het hulle ook nog ander frustrasies, byvoorbeeld die instroming van akademies swak voorbereide studente, en 'n gebrek aan toereikende navorsingsbefondsing. Volgens beskikbare getuienis is die aantreklikheid van die akademiese professie as 'n loopbaan in Suid-Afrika besig om te taan, en 'n aansienlike persentasie van akademici oorweeg dit om die professie te verlaat. In die lig van die kardinale belang van die hoër onderwyssektor in die ontplooiende kennissamelewing van die een-en-twintigste eeu, behoort die aangeleentheid as 'n saak van dringende prioriteit aandag te geniet.<hr/>As the twenty-first century's knowledge society - that is societies/economies which have evolved from industrial production and services to the production of knowledge as driving axis - takes form, an ever-increasing value is attached to the higher education sector. Any higher education project stands or falls by the quality of its academic staff complement, which in turn depends on how attractive the academic profession is as a career. The aim of this article is to investigate the attractiveness of the South African academic profession, by means of the data of the CAP (Changing Academic Profession) international survey of the academic profession. Internationally the following factors are impacting on higher education and on the academic profession: globalisation; information-, the communication- and knowledge revolution, the neoliberal economic revolution and democratisation. On top of these world-wide trends, higher education in South Africa is both the scene of a radical make-over of the entire education system (change to outcomes-based education, introduction of a National Qualifications Framework, desegregation, equalisation of opportunities, multiculturalism, democratisation) and it is regarded as a major instrument to effect an ambitious series of societal goals: economic goals, cultural goals, social goals and political goals. The above have radical implications for all aspects of the professional lives of academics: their tuition activities, research, community service, administrative activities, relations with institutional governance, entrepreneurship, and physical facilities and remuneration. From the investigation it appears as if the South African academic profession is under big work pressure. They work longer hours than what South African labour legislation sets as norm. In comparison with other professions they are under remunerated. Moreover, they have been dispossessed of much of their freedom and autonomy that have historically been regarded as an essential part of the professional environment of the academic profession. On top of that they are experiencing other frustrations, such as the influx of academically inadequately prepared students, and a lack of sufficient research funds. Amidst these circumstances a substantial percentage of the academic profession consider leaving the profession. According to available evidence, the attraction of the South African academic profession is diminishing. As the higher education sector (and by implication the academic profession) is pivotal for the nascent knowledge society, the diminishing attractiveness of the academic profession in South Africa should, as a matter of urgent priority, receive attention. <![CDATA[<b>Innovative public sector education and training in a developing South Africa</b>: <b>the impact of and responses to globalisation</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-47512010000200002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Aan die begin van die 21ste eeu is globalisering waarskynlik een van die mees opmerkbare wêreldwye tendense. Dit reflekteer 'n interafhanklike toestand in die wêreld en dui aan hoe gebeurtenisse, geskilpunte en uitdagings in een deel van die wêreld 'n effek op ander dele het. Baie ontwikkelende lande word in hierdie proses agtergelaat en bly arm, met steeds stygende ongelykhede - beide in en tussen verskillende lande. Suid-Afrika was en is in die gelukkige posisie dat die wêreld sy deure oopgemaak het en daar dus uit wêreldwye ervarings geleer kan word. Alhoewel aanvanklik gedink is dat globalisering net met die ekonomie vereenselwig kan word, het dit ook 'nimpak op die politieke, maatskaplike en kulturele aspekte binne 'n samelewing en verg derhalwe nuwe innoverende openbare sektoronderrig en opleiding. Die vinnig toenemende globalisering het verder belangstelling in transnasionale regeringsmodelle gesti muleer, asook belangstelling in burgerskapdefinisies aangewakker. Vir hierdie doeleindes is dit belangrik om te verseker dat doeltreffende openbare sektoronderrig en opleiding relevant tot globalisering aangebied word.<hr/>The end of the twentieth century witnessed significant changes in governmental administration with increasing reliance on, for example, the application of market mechanisms, and the carrying out of privatisation and deregulation initiatives to be in line with globalisation challenges. The significance of these changes was accelerated by the social transformation which took place during this time. Countries moved from undemocratic to participative/democratic states and from planned to free market economies. The constitutional change that paved the way for a democratic dispensation in South Africa directly impacted upon the public sector which was and still is undergoing major structural changes to undo and unlearn the aberrations of the past. These changes are sometimes characterized by terms such as modernisation, reform, transformation, restructuring and rationalisation. This focus on modernisation of the public services reflects a commitment of the government to improve public services but also a declaration that the core public services are not performing as well as government believes that they should. The new challenges of governing therefore seem increasingly complex, placing governments and public administrations in situations that are probably quite different from those we knew before. Today, developing countries need to find answers geared towards today's needs in order to clear up ambiguities concerning some of the basic principles by which they are governed. One of the major consequences of modernisation is a lessening of administrative disparities and less divergence in models due to the development of the principle of standardisation and uniformity of management rules. This takes a number of inevitable routes that can be summed up by the term New Public Management (NPM). The term challenges the classical administrative considerations about the structure and function of public services. The new environment has aimed at producing a more responsible and efficient customer-focused service. These reforms, largely influenced by the market model, are founded on the following two postulates: that management methods originating in the private sector are superior to those traditionally used in the public sector, and that the management of the economy must gradually give way to market forces. The demand for NPM therefore aimed not only to improve administrative output technically, but also to develop public relations techniques based on communication skills, simplified administrative formalities and procedures, cooperation in public affairs, safeguarding of the public interest, developing partnership practices, transparency, fighting corruption, promoting a code of ethics, citizen participation in public affairs and consultation. The changes associated with modernisation also went hand-in-hand with the introduction of an array of public policy documents which were introduced to address these challenges and changes. It confirmed global experiences that it is a complicated process which requires not just the generation of creative ideas and their formulation in policy documents, but also the implementation of these ideas into practice. The changing milieu of the public sector furthermore became increasingly complex over the years by influencing factors such as inter alia globalisation. While globalisation means different things to different people, the debate between its advocates and detractors about its significance continues to be emotionally charged and intellectually vigorous. Governments globally, in order to achieve their social objectives by improving the general welfare of inhabitants, demand new visions from political leaders and public officials. In this respect training can play a meaningful role. In the Republic of South Africa, however, the systems and practices of public administration education and training do not appropriately address the increasing demand for high-level, up-to-date knowledge and skills to prepare politicians and public servants for the changes that had been brought about by globalisation. A paradigm shift is therefore needed in respect of the purpose of public sector education and training practices. In this article attention will therefore be focused on globalisation, the demands thereof on the education and training needs of current public servants in South Africa, the provision of training for public servants in South Africa to adhere to global challenges and quality assurance provision in the public sector to ensure quality in the training of public servants. <![CDATA[<b>Remuneration trends in the public sector during sustained inflation</b>: <b>an economic perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-47512010000200003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Hierdie artikel vergelyk die vergoeding van twee poste in die Suid-Afrikaanse openbare sektor in 1984 en in 2008. Drie wyses van vergelyking, naamlik 'n bruto grondslag; na die berekening van belasting; en in vergelyking met prysveranderings van 'n geselekteerde mandjie verbruikersgoedere, word gebruik om 'n hipotese te toets dat lewenskoste-aanpassings in die Suid-Afrikaanse openbare sektor tussen 1984 en 2008 met inflasie en prysstygings oor hierdie tydperk tred gehou het. Die vergelyking bevestig die hipotese vir een pos, maar verwerp dit in die ander geval. As vergoeding nie periodiek vir inflasie aangepas word nie, is eenmalige strukturele vergoedingsaanpassings die enigste wyse waardeur relatiewe vergoedingsvlakke tot hul vorige vlakke herstel kan word. Die metodologie wat in hierdie artikel verduidelik word, kan gebruik word om billike vergoedingsaanpassings te bereken en om vas te stel of strukturele aanpassings nodig is. Die toepassingsvelde van hierdie metodologie wat uit die ekonomiese wetenskap ontwikkel is, is dus te vinde in algemene bestuur, die bestuur van menslike hulpbronne en georganiseerde arbeid.<hr/>This paper compares the movement in the nominal and real remuneration of two selected positions in the South African public sector over the period 1984 to 2008. Over this period a divergent trend is discernible in the nominal and real remuneration of these two positions. The choice of positions in the public sector was determined by the availability of historic and current remuneration information and by the fact that the designations and responsibilities of these positions seemingly remained homogeneous over the period of comparison. South Africa has suffered considerable "job title" inflation over this period, thereby rendering numerous positions unsuitable for comparative purposes. In comparing the remuneration of these two positions in real terms; on a gross and after tax basis; and in terms of increases in prices of selected goods, this paper tests a hypothesis that cost-of-living adjustments in remuneration kept abreast of inflation and of general price increases over the period 1984 to 2008. The comparison confirms the hypothesis in one instance, but refutes it in another instance. This comparison confirms that periodic remuneration adjustments are necessary under conditions of sustained inflation to take account of cost-of-living increases. Without such adjustments incumbents would increasingly experience declines in their standards of living and would be tempted to leave the public sector for better paying positions in the private sector. Oneoff structural adjustments are required to re-align relative remuneration of positions once adjustments have not kept abreast of inflation. In as much as the remuneration of one of the groups used for comparative purposes declined in real terms (i.e. did not keep pace with inflation), it is obvious that the remuneration adjustments of this group did not take any cognisance of possible improvements in productivity. Any compensation for productivity improvements during a period of sustained inflation (albeit more moderate towards the second half of the period of comparison) as was the case in South Africa between 1984 and 2008, would have been reflected in a real improvement in remuneration over this period. Compensation for productivity improvements are outside the scope of this paper. The comparison of the prices of selected goods purchased by a typical household shows considerable changes in relative prices. During a period of sustained inflation, as South Africa suffered from 1984 to 2008 (albeit more moderate from the middle of the 1990s), price movements reflecting relative price changes are often confused with general price inflation. This impedes the ability of consumers to adjust their spending patterns to reflect changes in relative prices. Over time this inability could contribute to a misallocation of resources in an economy. The methodology developed in this paper can be used for similar comparisons of nominal and real remuneration outside the public sector. The only conditions for such comparisons are the availability of current and historic remuneration information, positions that remained relatively homogeneous in terms of job title and responsibility over the period of comparison, and inflation figures reflected in some or another price index. Likewise, the only conditions for price comparisons are historic and current price data and a relevant price index. The final conclusion is that some restructuring of remuneration in the public sector could be required to ensure the retention of suitably qualified staff. The methodology applied in this paper can be used to calculate the magnitude of structural adjustments required in the public sector to eradicate real declines in remuneration. This methodology can also be used by negotiators to calculate fair and reasonable remuneration adjustments. The fields of application of this methodology developed from the perspective of the economic science are therefore in general management, the management of human resources and organised labour. <![CDATA[<b>Who are the good Samaritans? Characteristics of volunteers in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-47512010000200004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Mense wat vrywillig en sonder betaling hul arbeid aanbied vir die produksie van goedere en dienste waaruit ander voordeel trek, speel 'n belangrike rol in die ekonomie en gemeenskap. As vrywilligers beter verstaan word, kan hul kragte dalk beter gemobiliseer word. Die vraag is dus: Wie is die goeie Samaritane? Hierdie studie ondersoek die eienskappe van vrywilligers in Suid-Afrika met behulp van data uit die Arbeidsmagopname van September 2007. Die resultate toon dat vrywilligers in Suid-Afrika meestal vroulik en meestal blankes is. Dié persone is van werkende ouderdom met 'n beduidende persentasie wat ouer as 55 jaar is. Die meeste vrywilligers is goed opgelei en het kwalifikasies behaal na graad 12. Die meeste vrywilligers is in diens geneem, maar 'n groot persentasie is nie ekonomies aktief nie. Dié wat wel werk, is meestal permanent aangestel en kan baiekeer self oor hul werksure besluit. 'n Beduidende persentasie van mense wat hul eie besighede besit, werk ook as vrywilligers. Wanneer daar na vrywilligers se inkomste per maand gekyk word, is dit duidelik dat 'n groot gedeelte individue in die hoë-inkomste groepe as vrywilligers werk.<hr/>Volunteers are people who supply labour for the production of goods and services for the benefit of others. They play an important role in the economy and community. One in four Americans work as volunteers and in Sweden 59 per cent of people who are employed also work as volunteers. Volunteer work is of significance in a time when social safety nets are thinning and there are ever increasing demands on welfare organisations. If volunteers are understood better, it may be possible to harness their power for the greater good. The question is, who are these good Samaritans? The consumption model of volunteer work states that individuals choose to spend time on paid work, leisure and volunteer work. It is then an empirical question whether volunteers are high-income or low-income individuals. If the substitution effect dominates, an increase in the wage rate will lead to a decrease in volunteer work as the opportunity cost of an hour of volunteering increases as the remuneration of paid work increases. If the income effect dominates, a higher wage rate means that an individual can work fewer hours to earn the same income as before and this will lead to an increase in volunteer work. By contrast, the investment model of volunteer work states that individuals volunteer as an investment in human capital. Future earnings may be increased if the skills and contacts that are developed in volunteer work can also contribute in the field of paid employment. This study examines the characteristics of volunteers in South Africa through the use of data from the labour force survey of September 2007. The focus is on formal volunteers. They work for organisations in the fields of social and health services, education, emergency services, the environment, politics and religion. The results show that volunteers in South Africa are mostly female and white. They are of working age with an important share of them being older than 55 years. Most volunteers are well educated and have obtained qualifications after Grade 12. Most volunteers are employed, but a substantial portion is not economically active. Of those that are working, most are in permanent positions and often they can determine their working hours themselves. A significant percentage of people who own businesses also do volunteer work. When the monthly income of volunteers is examined, it is clear that greater proportions of people from high-income groups work as volunteers. This is, however, only a first effort to learn more about volunteers in South Africa. A rich international literature exists about the hours that volunteers work, the types of volunteer work and factors that motivate volunteers. The management of volunteer work in non-governmental organisations is another field of study. In South Africa there is a clear need for further research. The HIV/Aids pandemic is putting significant pressure on social safety nets and provides volunteers with a key health care role. Similarly, the organisation of the 2010 Soccer World Cup will depend on the work of volunteers. Official data sources are, however, limited and further research will require good surveys. <![CDATA[<b>The use of body maps by educators in fulfilling their pastoral role</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-47512010000200005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Hierdie artikel fokus op die bevindinge van 'n kwalitatiewe studie na die moontlike gebruik van liggaamsportrette deur opvoeders tydens vervulling van hulle pastorale rol. Die studie is vanuit die konstruktivisties-interpretivistiese paradigma onderneem en het op 'n instrumentele gevallestudie as navorsingsontwerp gesteun, waartydens aksie-navorsingsbeginsels geïmplementeer is. Intervensie, fokusgroepbesprekings, reflektiewe joernale, visuele tegnieke, observasie en veldnotas is aangewend as data-insamelings- en -vasleggingstegnieke. Die studie het deel uitgemaak van die breër STAR -navorsingsprojek en parallel verloop met 'n studie wat die verband tussen herinneringswerk ("memory work") en beradingsvaardighede ondersoek het. Tien opvoeders aan 'n primêre skool in 'n informele nedersetting het deelgeneem aan die studie. Basislyninligting, wat gegenereer is tydens die eerste veldbesoek, het daarop gedui dat opvoeders oor insig beskik het in terme van die teoretiese aard van die pastorale rol tydens die aanvang van die studie, maar dat hulle die praktiese toepassing van dié rol as uitdagend beleef het. Na afloop van die tweede veldbesoek en voltooiing van 'n navorsingsopdrag deur die deelnemers, is twee hooftemas geïdentifiseer. Eerstens het deelnemers aangedui dat hulle die liggaamsportrettegniek op geslaagde wyse kon gebruik binne klasverband en dat hulle die tegniek as bruikbaar beleef het vir vervulling van hulle pastorale rol binne die skoolkonteks. Die tweede tema dui daarop dat bepaalde praktiese oorwegings geld wanneer die tegniek gebruik word en dat die liggaamsportrettegniek - benewens die tradisionele wyse van toepassing - ook op alternatiewe wyses toegepas kan word deur opvoeders wanneer hulle hul pastorale rolverantwoordelikhede nakom.<hr/>This article reports on the findings of a qualitative study that investigated the potential use of the body map technique by educators in fulfilling their pastoral role. The study formed part of a broad research project - the STAR intervention. As part of the broader project, the study we report on was undertaken in parallel with another study in the same community, focusing on the relationship between memory work and counselling skills. The study reported on in this article was anchored in the constructivist-interpretivist paradigm and underpinned by action research principles. It rested on an instrumental case study research design. It was conducted at a primary school located in an informal settlement community in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Ten female educators of the school participated in the project. After acquiring baseline information during the first field visit, an intervention was deployed during which the techniques of body mapping and memory box making were introduced to the participants. The participants were requested to apply the two techniques as part of a research assignment, between the first and a second, follow-up field visit. During the second field visit, the participants' experiences in applying the two techniques were investigated. Focus group discussions, observation, field notes, research journals and visual techniques (photographs and maps) were utilized as data collection and documentation techniques. Baseline information indicated that the educators were fairly clear about the theoretical nature of the pastoral role, but that they did not know how to practically fulfil the role during daily classroom activities, at the onset of the study. After the second field visit, based on the research assignment that had been completed by the educators, two main themes emerged. Firstly, the participants indicated that they would be able to implement the body map technique in the classroom successfully, and that they regarded the technique as useful for fulfilling their pastoral role within the school context. This theme was refined into sub-themes dealing with potential modes of implementation, suitable contexts for application and possible outcomes following the application of the body map technique in the classroom. The second main theme indicated practical considerations when using the body map technique in the classroom context, as part of the pastoral role of educators. The sub-themes of this theme relate to using the body map technique as part of the general school curricula, to alternative uses and application modes of the technique within a classroom context, and to pastoral responsibilities that could be facilitated (or not) when using the technique. Based on the findings we obtained we can conclude that educators can utilize the body map technique in fulfilling their pastoral role. Even though the participants in our study possessed some basic knowledge on the tasks and skills required of educators in fulfilling their pastoral role, they initially indicated the challenge of not knowing how to apply their knowledge in a practical manner in the classroom. The use of the body map technique reportedly exposed them to one possible way of fulfilling their pastoral role, as the manner in which they employed the technique during the research assignment enabled them to get to know the learners on a deeper level. In addition, they were encouraged to communicate their willingness to listen to the needs of the learners in their classrooms. They perceived themselves to be in a better position to integrate their pastoral role with the other roles of educators, when implementing the body map technique in support of children in need of assistance. Finally, after applying the body map technique the educators who participated in our study experienced their relationships with learners as being more positive. They were seemingly motivated to support the learners in their classrooms emotionally when the need arose to do so. This motivation to fulfil the pastoral role confirms the educators' willingness to strive towards obtaining the objectives as stipulated in policy documents, such as the requirement to fulfil a pastoral role. <![CDATA[<b>The causes of loneliness and the factors that contribute towards it</b>: <b>a literature review</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-47512010000200006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en 'n Groot deel van die bevolking ervaar gereeld eensaamheid en dit word as 'n algemene verskynsel in die menslike bestaan beskou. Verskeie studies dui daarop dat jong mense veral vatbaar is vir eensaamheid. Eensaamheid word ook beskou as 'n risiko-faktor vir 'n wye verskeidenheid probleme wat 'n potensiële gevaar vir die mens se gesondheid inhou. Verskeie faktore wat 'n invloed op die mate van eensaamheid het, is ook kenmerkend van die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks. Rokach se model van eensaamheidsvoorspellers dien in hierdie studie as basis vir die ondersoek na oorsaaklike/bydraende faktore tot eensaamheid. Vryetydsbesteding soos televisiekyk en internetgebruik speel ook 'n rol in eensaamheid. Hoewel dit nie moontlik is om die ervaring van eensaamheid te ontkom nie, kan dit verlig en minder pynlik gemaak word. Aanbevelings rakende die ondersoek na bydraende faktore tot eensaamheid word gemaak. Kennis van die faktore wat 'n rol in eensaamheid speel, kan die impak van eensaamheid op mense se geestesgesondheid aansienlik verminder.<hr/>Loneliness has been defined as a condition that is characterised by subjective feelings of social pain and/or isolation. It may also involve the longing for more social interaction than being experienced at a certain time. Loneliness is thus a social construct. Although loneliness affects such a large part of the population that it is regarded as a universal phenomenon and as part and parcel of the human condition, the pain associated with loneliness may have serious consequences. Various studies indicate that young people (particularly those between 18 and 25 years of age) are especially prone to loneliness and that they should accordingly be the focus of new studies on the condition. At the root of their isolation lie the uncertain political situation, the lack of leadership in the country, a high incidence of child abuse, rape, sexual abuse, incest and violence. A hazard of social isolation is that it has been found to be a risk factor for a wide variety of problems, such as high levels of psychological stress, negative affect and consequent poor psychological well-being which lead to depression, suicide, animosity, alcoholism and psychosomatic illnesses. In other words, loneliness has both physical and psychological implications, many of which could be long term. Although it is impossible to prevent loneliness, the condition may be alleviated by cultivating social awareness on the prevalence and consequences of loneliness and doing research on the effect and influence of culture and the community on the prevalence and alleviation of loneliness. (Most current research focuses on the individual and does not consider the complexity of the South African context.) A range of factors influence the extent of people's loneliness in South African society where many cultures and races may deal with the phenomenon of loneliness in different ways. Rokach's (1988) model of the predictors of loneliness is the basis for the identification of factors that cause and contribute to loneliness. This model is subdivided into three broad categories that influence the feeling of loneliness: problems with relationships, traumatic experiences and personal and developmental variables. These categories may be subdivided into eight factors that increase loneliness. Although this is a holistic model, other factors that were not mentioned by Rokach were included in order to make the study more complete. In this study the following predictors of loneliness are discussed: • Personality: The following factors that contribute to loneliness are mentioned in this article: anxiety, an inability to assert oneself and hyper-sensitivity. A poor self concept, an external locus of control and shyness are other aspects of the personality that contribute to loneliness. Additional characteristics have been found to be common among lonely people: isolated people are generally suspicious, imaginative, radical, self-sufficient, tense and dominating. They are also more emotionally mature, are inclined to feel guilty and are less sociable than others. • Affect: Loneliness is linked to negative affect and is typified in conditions such as depression, boredom, hopelessness, aggression, stress, anger, restlessness and tension. • Depression: A complicated vicious circle makes diagnosis tricky: people with poor social skills are more inclined to become depressed and yet depressed people are inclined to be lonely. The differences between loneliness and depression are explained. • Problems in relationships: A lack of feelings of belonging, support and intimacy caused by poor communication promote loneliness. Social estrangement and separation and rejection also contribute to loneliness. • Marital status: Married people usually feel less lonely - but this is not the case when marriages are unfulfilling. Loneliness in marriage is linked to a lack of intimacy. • Major changes that promote social isolation consist of events such as leaving home, a new career, separation from loved ones, breaking off a major relationship and moving house. • Illness or physical disability may lead to limited contact with other people. Research indicates that HIV/AIDS and eating disorders isolate the sufferers from social contact. • Religious faith correlates negatively with loneliness. However, religions with strict behavioural prescriptions are likely to isolate individuals from free social interaction. This could result in loneliness. • Academic achievement: Research indicates that students whose academic performance is poor are more likely to be lonely. • Leisure activities that alienate people from each other are watching television and surfing the Internet. While it is impossible to avoid loneliness completely, it may be alleviated. The recommendation is made that contributory factors towards loneliness should be investigated because knowledge of these may substantially lessen the impact of loneliness on people's mental health status.Such knowledge should be available to therapists and psychologists so that preventative programmes may be designed and implemented, particularly to assist in the prevention of suicide, substance abuse and stress. This will contribute to an improved quality of life, productivity and health for those afflicted and particularly for South African youth. <![CDATA[<b>Ubuntu values</b>: <b>societal and educational expectations</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-47512010000200007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Volgens amptelike onderwysdokumentasie in Suid-Afrika is Ubuntu 'n "vital sentiment" wat na vore gekom het uit die politieke en onderwysstryd voor 1994. 'n Ontleding toon dat hierdie kernsentiment tot dusver nie gelei het tot enige betekenisvolle verbetering in die Suid-Afrikaners se lewensgehalte nie. Dit blyk onder meer uit die toename in misdaad en geweld, ook in skole. Hoewel Ubuntu inderdaad 'n aantal hoë morele beginsels beliggaam en ook 'n vorm van spiritualiteit omvat wat potensieel kan lei tot verbetering in Suid-Afrikaners se lewensgehalte, kon dit tot dusver nie omgesit word tot praktyk in die breë gemeenskap in die algemeen en in die skole/onderwys in die besonder nie. Daar word aan die hand gedoen dat die Ubuntulewensfilosofie in verskillende opsigte "opdateer" moet word sodat dit beter kan voldoen aan die morele en geestelike behoeftes van 21ste eeuse Suider-Afrikane.<hr/>According to the South African Ministry of Education's Manifesto on Values, Education and Democracy (2001), Ubuntu can be seen as a vital sentiment that emerged from the pre-1994 struggle period. In 2008, President Mbeki gave an illustration of this by referring to the recipients of national awards as "the guardians of Ubuntu". Ubuntu indeed has a special place in the hearts and minds of the people of sub-Saharan Africa, as can be observed in debates about human rights, education, spirituality and quality of life. Those currently in power in South Africa obviously wish to employ it as an instrument for nation-building. In their opinion, adherence to the precepts of Ubuntu could help individuals and their communities to overcome cultural and racial differences in their quest for national unity. Although Ubuntu has traditionally been regarded by the inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa as a source of traditional moral values, those values seem not to have been converted into morally justifiable (political) behaviour. How else could one explain the extent of criminal behaviour and the perpetrations of moral injustice (wars, violence, murders, genocide, xenophobia, discrimination against minorities, etc.) across the length and breadth of southern Africa? This article consists of a report on two investigations into the question of why the lofty moral values embodied in Ubuntu have not (yet) been transformed into morally acceptable behaviour. The first involved an analysis of Ubuntu to see what exactly it entailed as a traditional southern-African philosophy of life, as well as to determine why it has so far failed to have the expected favourable impact on community life in the region. The second focused on an analysis of Ubuntuspirituality because of its potential benefits for communal life in general and for education in particular. The problem was approached from two methodological angles. The first was an interpretivistic-hermeneutic approach to Ubuntu as such and to the spirituality embodied in it. This was followed by transcendental-pragmatic reflection on the possibility of "thickening" the as yet "thin" Ubuntu values for the purpose of discovering what could possibly be of advantage to 21st century sub-Saharan Africans (transcendental) as we understand the concept at this particular point in time (pragmatic). The above-mentioned investigations revealed several reasons why Ubuntu might have failed to meet the societal and pedagogical expectations of, for example, the South African government and educational authorities. One of them is the fact that some of its proponents have romanticized a return to Ubuntu as well as to Ubuntugogy, i.e. education based on Ubuntu tenets. It would be unrealistic to expect 21st century Africans to return to Ubuntu in its traditional tribal form, namely an essentially communal life view shrouded in a haze of mystic antiquity. Another reason for its failure to have a benevolent effect on behaviour can be found in the fact that Ubuntu values tend to be "thin", in other words, in need of being "thickened" or strengthened by specific religious and/or life view moral content. Because Ubuntu values have not yet been life-conceptually "thickened", they could not be converted into morally justifiable actions and behaviour. As a result, the term "Ubuntu" began to be used as a relatively meaningless slogan. Despite all these negatives, however, Ubuntu will always have a special place in the hearts, minds and lives of sub-Saharan Africans. It is the typical life view of Africa and as such, it will always signify the embodiment of the shared humanity of the people of Africa. The transformation of Ubuntu into a national life view that could serve as a guide for improving the quality of the lives and education of (South) Africans will depend on the effectiveness of its "updating" or "modernizing". Unless this is done, Ubuntu will be doomed to remain a "vital sentiment" and/or a protean term. It will continue in failing to serve as a guiding light for acceptable moral behaviour and as an instrument for procuring national cohesion. One of the ways in which Ubuntu could be modernized is by filling the as yet "empty" or "thin" Ubuntu values (such as "respect for human dignity") with "thickened" content from other life views. The traditional horizontal spirituality of Ubuntu could also be updated. Instead of seeing a person's worth in terms of the practices and rituals of his or her group, a person should also be recognized as worthy in his or her own right. The same applies for the traditional vertical spirituality of Ubuntu. This could be updated by toning down the view of an individual being as a vital link in the cosmic chain, connected to gods, ancestors and descendants. Modern Africans tend not to conceptualize a person's duties, privileges and responsibilities as injunctions from gods or ancestors. Both individuals and groups should instead be made more aware of social contracts that they might have entered into as individuals and in groups, such as those contained in a Manifesto on Human Rights. In addition, they should feel themselves bound to the moral imperatives flowing from their personal religious convictions and life views which, in modern times, tend to be something other than the Ubuntu life view. This approach gives new meaning to individual and group duties and responsibilities. Ubuntu-based education (that is, Ubuntugogy) as well the Western-style education and training that Africa inherited from its colonial past also need transformation to make them more compliant with the requirements of 21st century life. Their respective views of humanity should be "updated", for instance. The dominant cerebral-analytical bias of Western education should be relinquished in favour of taking into account all the aspects of being human (such as emotion and conation). Western-style education should learn from the "adapted version" of Ubuntu and Ubuntugogy mentioned above that educators need to unfold all the facets and potentials of learners as human beings. Conversely, Ubuntugogy should learn from Western-style education that education entails more than the preparation of an individual for a place and role in communal life. In sum, the "new" education for (southern) Africa should become an existential, holistic and integrated process of equipping children with the knowledge, attitudes and responsibilities required for meaningful existence in modern, globalized, industrialized and urbanized communities. Only in this adapted form will Ubuntu values and Ubuntugogy be able to meet the societal and educational expectations of life in 21st century southern Africa. <![CDATA[<b>A principal's perspective on professional development</b>: <b>a single case study</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-47512010000200008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Skole word tans met groot uitdagings gekonfronteer as gevolg van sosiale, ekonomiese en tegnologiese veranderinge. Volgehoue ontwikkeling en verbetering van skole ter wille van doeltreffendheid word verlang, en skoolhoofde en professionele ontwikkeling speel 'n belangrike rol hierin. In hierdie artikel word die volgende navorsingsprobleme aangespreek: Op watter wyse beïnvloed die skoolhoof se professionele ontwikkeling (PO) die skool? Wat is die skoolhoof se gesindheid teenoor PO? Watter rol speel die skoolhoof in sy eie ontwikkeling, die skool se ontwikkeling en die PO van personeel? Watter riglyne vir PO stel die skoolhoof voor? 'n Doelgerigte steekproef is in hierdie studie gebruik. In die steekproef word gefokus op 'n laerskool in Gauteng. Voorts is 'n kwalitatiewe navorsingsontwerp gekies omdat dit die navorser in staat sou stel om die skoolhoof se perspektief op PO te verstaan. 'n Triangulasie van navorsingsmetodes sluit in foto's wat deur die skoolhoof geneem is (alhoewel dit nie by die studie ingesluit is nie), skriftelike bydraes, onderhoude met die hoof, veldnotas wat die navorser tydens onderhoude geneem het, 'n DVD oor die skool en deelnemerkontrole. Tesch se beskrywende metode vir oopkodering is gevolg om die data-analise te doen. Die volgende temas het na vore gekom: die skoolhoof se klem op eie professionele ontwikkeling, "don't be good, be the best, B+"; die vestiging van 'n waardestelsel; die kweek van wenners in die skool; "wat doen ons anders?"; en riglyne vir doeltreffende professionele ontwikkeling. Die studie maak dit duidelik dat die skoolhoof se voorbeeld van selfontwikkeling die vertrekpunt vir doeltreffende PO in die skool is. Met sy entoesiastiese leiding en die "vuur" in sy hart slaag hy daarin om personeel en leerders te motiveer om betrokke te raak by hulle eie ontwikkeling.<hr/>Schools are currently confronted with enormous challenges emanating from social, economic and technological changes. Ongoing development and the improvement of schools for the sake of greater efficiency are required. Various studies confirm the important role that leadership plays in the development of schools. The role of principals has undergone many rapid changes and principals need to display certain leadership qualities to sustain high-quality schools in complex social environments. Principals have to realise that leadership is a process; they need to develop the necessary skills to promote collaborative action and to ensure an improvement in school effectiveness. Houle (2006:145) writes that the "tension created in shifting views on the principals requires attention to the professional development needs of principals in the light of their new roles". The emphasis on the professional development of principals is also crucial to the delivery of highquality education in schools. The professional development of principals may help them to influence the effectiveness of their schools and to encourage a culture of renewal and change. South African principals face the task of creating an effective teaching and learning environment in schools. Bloch (2008:19) refers to the crisis in South African schools and says that schools are in a "state of disaster". In this article the following research problem is addressed: What are the principal's perceptions of the impact of professional development in the school? The study focuses on the social contructivist theory in an attempt to understand how the principal deals with the challenges in his school in the light of his belief system. Constructivist approaches are taken to operationalise professional development and the following is recognised: (1) The constructed meaning of knowledge and beliefs that is used when an individual discovers new knowledge, skills and approaches, and then personally interprets their significance and meaning; (2) The situated nature of cognition which acknowledges that professional development has to be strongly linked to the actual contexts and situations of the individual school; and (3) The importance of ample time for new developments and change to be implemented. Previous studies have indicated that the primary school principal in this study is an exceptionally information-rich participant, therefore he forms the unit of analysis of this article. Since the researcher's involvement in the school in 1992, the school has shown extraordinary development in various areas. The particular primary school was an inviting school of the International Alliance for Invitational Education and received a prestigious award from the Alliance in 1993. It has since developed and improved even further. The school in the study is an Afrikaans-medium, suburban school. A qualitative research design was selected for the study because it would enable the researcher to understand the principal's perceptions of the impact of professional development. The researcher attempted to grasp the principal's views on his own professional development and the effect of his views on staff and school development. To ensure trustworthiness data were collected through written contributions by the principal, interviews, the researcher's field notes and a DVD of the school. All interviews were transcribed. Tesch's descriptive method of open coding was used to analyse the various sources of evidence. A literature control was done to determine the contribution of the current study to existing literature on the role of the principal and professional development, and to look at the impact of professional development on the school. The following themes emerged from the data analysis: the principal's focus on his own professional development; "don't be good, be the best, B+" the inculcation of a value system; nurturing of winners in the school (the blue and orange card reward system; "Hennops iron badge"; other forms of rewards); "what do we do differently"; and guidelines for effective professional development. It is evident that the example of professional development set by the principal is the point of departure of effective professional development in the school. His enthusiastic leadership and the "fire" in his heart allow the principal to grow professionally and to motivate staff and learners to become involved in their own professional development. <![CDATA[<b>The constitution, education authorities and the road ahead for single medium Afrikaans schools</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-47512010000200009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Hierdie artikel behandel die posisie van (Afrikaanse) enkelmediumskole met verwysing na die Grondwet, wetgewing en tersaaklike regspraak in geskille tussen provinsiale onderwysowerhede en die beheerliggame van Afrikaanse skole. Die regsposisie word beskryf en die uitsprake weergegee. Die bedoeling is egter nie 'n gedetailleerde regstegniese kritiek op die uitsprake nie. Veel eerder is die klem daarop om aan te toon dat selfs waar die uitsprake in die guns van die skole was, die regshulp wat die howe verleen het ontoereikend was aangesien dit nie die onregmatige optrede van die owerhede ongedaan kon maak nie. Dit, in samehang met ander faktore bring aan die lig dat te veel vertroue op die reg en die howe geplaas is om die posisie van Afrikaanse enkelmediumonderwys te beskerm en dat alternatiewe weë om hierdie beskerming te verskaf, ondersoek moet word. Van hierdie alternatiewe word kortliks aan die orde gestel. Die artikel sluit af met 'n bondige oorsig van verskeie staatsbeskouings waarvolgens die hantering van voertale in die onderwys ingerig kan word.<hr/>In this article the legal-political position of single medium public schools, more particularly Afrikaans schools in the Republic of South Africa, is discussed. The discussion is conducted with reference to applicable provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, statutory provisions that regulate the governance of public schools and relevant judgments of the High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and the Constitutional Court. Section 29(2) of the Constitution states that: Everyone has the right to receive education in the official language or languages of their choice in public educational institutions where that education is reasonably practicable. In order to ensure the effective access to, and implementation of, this right, the state must consider all reasonable educational alternatives, including single medium institutions, taking into account (a) equity; (b) practicability; and (c) the need to redress the results of past racially discriminatory laws and practices On its part section 6(2) of the South African Schools Act, 84 of 1996 assigns the power to determine the policy regarding the language/s of instruction in public schools to the governing body of each school. It makes provision for the governing body of a public school to determine the language policy of the school subject to the Constitution, applicable provision of the Schools Act itself and any applicable provincial law. English is the dominant language of instruction in South Africa's public schools, including schools attended by black learners whose mother tongue is not English but one of the African languages. A handful of schools are Afrikaans single medium, whilst a number of schools also provide tuition in English as well as Afrikaans on a dual or (mostly) parallel medium basis. On several occasions provincial education authorities and individual governing bodies of Afrikaans schools have clashed about the decisions of the governing bodies to pursue a single medium Afrikaans policy as opposed to the insistence of the provincial authorities on parallel or dual medium instruction in Afrikaans and English. This gave rise to repeated litigation between governing bodies of Afrikaans schools and provincial education authorities. Most important in the present context are the judgments of the High Court in Laerskool Middelburg v Departementshoof Mpumalanga Departement van Onderwys (Middelburg Primary School v Head of the Department, Mpumalanga Department), of the SCA in Minister of Education, Western Cape v Governing Body, Mikro Primary School and of both the SCA and the Constitutional Court in the case involving Ermelo Hoërskool. (Ermelo High School). The article begins by describing the constitutional and statutory framework for determining the language policy of public schools. Thereafter follows a discussion of the afore-mentioned judgments involving disputes between provincial education authorities and governing bodies. The article does not involve a detailed legal critique of each judgment. Rather, the focus is on three other dimensions emanating from the judgments: Firstly, the judgments reveal an appalling animosity on the part of some provincial authorities towards Afrikaans single medium schools. These schools have on various occasions been compelled by provincial authorities to enrol non-Afrikaans speaking learners and to provide tuition to them in English. This was occasionally in clear defiance of the law applicable to the question and with blatant disrespect for the governing bodies of these schools as well as for the learners involved. The root cause of the animosity appears to be the fact that the learners of single medium Afrikaans schools are often mostly white, which seem to be experienced as offending the political agenda of transformation driven by some of the provincial education authorities. However, these authorities do not show the same animosity towards the very large number of schools with an exclusive black enrolment. Secondly, in some occasions governing bodies that resisted unlawful conduct of provincial education authorities were successful in their litigation. The remedies granted in their favour nevertheless proved inadequate. At the time of the judgments (in favour of the governing bodies) the learners that provincial authorities had imposed upon the Afrikaans schools had already established themselves in these schools. Consequently, it would be inappropriate to disrupt the education of these learners by ordering them to be enrolled elsewhere. The unlawful imposition of the learners on the Afrikaans schools therefore created a fait accompli that could not be turned around by an appropriate court order. The remedies granted in favour of the single medium schools therefore proved to be inadequate in spite of the (theoretical) victories of the favourable judgments. Thirdly, the judgments show that the trust that has been invested in the ability of the law and the courts to protect the position of single medium schools have been proven to be over-excessive. Of particular importance is the fact that it is very difficult for these schools to remain single medium in the face of a diminished demand for Afrikaans education in the feeding area of such schools. All three dimensions emanating from these judgments underline the fact that litigation is often not the appropriate course to pursue and that single medium schools should be pursuing alternative strategies to protect their interests and the interests of the cultural and linguistic communities they serve. Two alternatives should be considered. Firstly, single medium schools should preferably reach a political settlement with the relevant provincial and national education authorities. Secondly, single medium schools should co-operate in order to stabilise their own position even though this might lead to some of these schools forfeiting their single medium status in order for others to safeguard their position. Both these alternatives require schools to co-operate amongst themselves instead of each one individually - and often unsuccessfully - trying to defend their single medium position. The article concludes with a succinct exposition of three theories of the state - Jacobinian, Classical-liberal and pluralist - that could form the theoretical background for dealing with language policy in educational institutions. http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-47512010000200010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en