Academic’s Paper Lauded Internationally

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Academic’s Paper Lauded Internationally

Academic’s Paper Lauded Internationally

A University of Zululand (UNIZULU) academic’s probe into the current experiences of lecturers in South African technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges post-apartheid has recently earned her recognition in a reputable international journal.

Dr Zanele Buthelezi, a lecturer in the Department of African Languages and Culture, was named Runner-up for the Paper of the Year award by the Journal of Vocational Education and Training (JVET). The recognition was based on the relevance of her paper, titled Lecturer experiences of TVET College challenges in the post-apartheid era: a case of unintended consequences of educational reform in South Africa, which was published in JVET in 2018. Her award includes a 250-euro prize. The paper will also be made open access, free to download, until the end of 2019.

An ecstatic Dr Buthelezi said: “I feel honoured that my academic work is getting recognition internationally. Most academics struggle to have an article accepted by journals for review. Being published by a renowned journal was on its own a huge achievement. Being nominated for the article of the year award was a bonus and the runner-up position is the cherry on top.”

JVET confers the Paper of the Year award annually, with two runner-up commended papers. The award is for work that is believed to stand out in the way it addresses the journal’s interests and helps to advance knowledge and understanding in the education field.

According to Ann-Marie Bathmaker, JVET Associate Editor, Dr Buthelezi’s paper was highly commended. “We are delighted to have published her paper in the journal. The editors and all members of the Editorial Management Committee of the journal offer warm congratulations to Zanele,” she said.

The article was harvested from Dr Buthelezi’s PhD work which she completed in 2015. After the TVET sector had undergone a barrage of major institutional, structural and curricular reforms in 2000, the academic developed an interest to learn about the lived experiences of lecturers working in these colleges. She believes the revitalisation of the TVET sector was a necessity in South Africa given the mandate for skills development but it brought about unintended consequences which should serve as a lesson to the education sector, including policymakers and politicians.

Using figuration sociology by Norbert Elias, findings of the study emphasised that no matter how well educational reforms are conceived in principle, they will only be fortuitous if teachers, who are implementers of those reforms, are not a pivotal plank.


Dr Zanele Buthelezi, recipient of the Runner-up prize for the Paper of the Year award which is awarded annually by the Journal of Vocational Education and Training (JVET).

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