Background to the establishment of the new academic journal

Within the ambit of ‘post-schooling’ which in the South African context is directed at all those beyond the age of compulsory formal and general education, are youth and adults in public and private vocational colleges, adult learning centres, and universities; those employed and unemployed (White Paper on Post-School Education and Training, 2013).

This broad and diverse set of institutions has been the target of sustained reform initiatives over the past 20 years in an attempt, inter alia to bring about systemic alignment, transformation and improved outcomes. The processes towards transformative goals have entailed a range of research and development interventions including those aimed at curricula; staff development; structures and systems; and student support, amongst others.

 In 2013 the IPSS brought together three specialist units in the university that had longstanding expertise in Adult Education studies, TVET, and Higher Education studies. Students within institutions in these domains, and potential students outside of them in workplaces, or unemployed, face particular barriers in traversing across disparate institutional systems, hence the IPSS’ concern too with cross-cutting post-school issues and synergies.

Adult education, higher education and vocational education studies are recognised conceptual domains of knowledge and research. Of the three, in South Africa at least, higher education studies has historically been more prominent, and has generated the most scholarship. Despite its critical importance to the development of human resource capacity across the African continent, research in vocational and continuing education and training remains under-developed and marginalisedhence a substantial need exists for a platform from which new knowledge in the field can be disseminated, and ideas about practice can be debated and interrogated.  This recognition gave impetus to the desire to establish a new journal for vocational and continuing education and training in the South African context, but also on the African continent.

The focus of the new journal

The Journal for Vocational, Adult and Continuing Education and Training recognises the need for critical engagement through studies in TVET and Adult/Continuing education and training, and for encouraging critical scrutiny of this expansive knowledge area on the African continent.

The voices and experiences of practitioners, reflecting on all aspects of teaching and learning within vocational education and adult education settings, should be heard through publication of empirical and robust research. While the journal clearly wishes to take forward academic scholarship, it also seeks to strengthen opportunities for reflective practice that makes a scholarly contribution to the field. New knowledge emerging out of complex developmental contexts has significant value and needs to be show-cased beyond existing geographical and political boundaries.  The journal is therefore committed to also supporting the development of emerging researchers by providing them a space to present and defend their research amongst a network of global scholars. Within the field of vocational and continuing education there is substantive ‘grey literature’ that remains in project report form. The journal is potentially a vehicle for the translation of this important work into an academic contribution to a wider community of practice and thereby enhancing its value.

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