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Dissecting the Research Productivity of South African Universities Situated in the Western Cape, Prior to COVID-19: An Online Desktop Study

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Document pages: 21 pages

Abstract: In South Africa, universities offer qualifications to eligible students for them to graduate. For universities to operate, academic staff are appointed to instruct and or to conduct research. Considering the non-conducive South African economic landscape, it is not surprising that South African universities have started to place focus on second stream income generation and third stream income generation, which includes the generation of government subsidy income for published Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) accredited research outputs. Notwithstanding the above, research suggests that South African universities have tasked academic staff with excessive teaching and learning workloads which makes it difficult for them to contribute to the overall research productivity of these institutions. This online desktop study ascertained whether the research productivity of South African universities (operating in the Western Cape) are adversely affected by excessive student enrollments, prior to COVID-19. The foregoing may cause stringent teaching and learning workloads on academic staff. From the research conducted, it appears that at least two South African universities made use of a balanced approach to appoint academic staff that are solely responsible for conducting research; appoint academic staff that are solely responsible for instructing; appointing academic staff that are responsible for conducting research and to instruct. Where such a balanced approach was followed, it yielded reasonably calculated student to academic staff ratios and calculated accredited output per academic staff member ratios.

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