Ed­u­ca­tion to thor­oughly pre­pare stu­dents for the work­place

DUT’S Sha­keel Ori mak­ing great strides as head of co-op­er­a­tive ed­u­ca­tion department

Mail & Guardian - - Careers -

Sha­keel Ori, di­rec­tor of the Dur­ban Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy’s co-op­er­a­tive ed­u­ca­tion department, is no stranger to re­ceiv­ing ac­co­lades. He was re­cently ap­pointed as the new­est mem­ber of the World As­so­ci­a­tion for Co­op­er­a­tive Ed­u­ca­tion (Wace) ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee. The as­so­ci­a­tion founded in 1983 to foster co-op­er­a­tive ed­u­ca­tion and other work in­te­grated learn­ing pro­grammes world­wide. Its main goals are to build a mem­ber­ship of ed­u­ca­tors and em­ploy­ers around the world, pro­duce bi­en­nial world con­fer­ences on co-op­er­a­tive ed­u­ca­tion and de­velop a news­let­ter with world­wide dis­tri­bu­tion, de­voted to is­sues in­volved in work in­te­grated learn­ing (WIL) and co-op­er­a­tive ed­u­ca­tion.

Ori works hard to forge close work­ing re­la­tion­ships be­tween stu­dents and in­dus­try, and the dy­namic and pas­sion­ate di­rec­tor has now been given the op­por­tu­nity to join 14 other highly re­spected col­leagues, who will meet once a year to set up pol­icy and plans for the global or­gan­i­sa­tion. They will also col­lab­o­rate with pro­gramme com­mit­tees to en­sure that Wace events (re­search sym­po­siums and world con­fer­ences) have a strong re­search stream.

Speak­ing on his achieve­ment on be­ing se­lected to rep­re­sent Dur­ban Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (DUT) on Wace’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, Ori said he is ex­cited to be part of the ex­ec­u­tive of such a global body.

“I have been on the Wace board of di­rec­tors for seven years and we have par­tic­i­pated in their world events, in­clud­ing host­ing the Wace World Con­fer­ence here in Dur­ban. And given that there has been a lot of fo­cus on the change of the WIL body, it was de­cided that I would be a suit­able can­di­date for the Wace ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee. The other rea­son that I am happy to be on board is that there are many more coun­tries that are adopt­ing WIL for their na­tional strat­egy for em­ploy­a­bil­ity, and that is some­thing I am keen to help pro­mote,” he said.

Ori added that the co-op­er­a­tive ed­u­ca­tion department’s ob­jec­tive is to fa­cil­i­tate co-op­er­a­tion be­tween DUT, ex­ter­nal stake­hold­ers, com­mu­nity and gov­ern­men­tal de­part­ments. The department has two main di­vi­sions, one be­ing for ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing place­ments (WIL) and the other for grad­u­ate place­ment.

Through Ori’s suc­cess­ful net­work­ing and through his role as a South African Busi­ness Events am­bas­sador, past-pres­i­dent of the South­ern African So­ci­ety for Co­op­er­a­tive Ed­u­ca­tion as well as di­rec­tor of the World As­so­ci­a­tion for Co­op­er­a­tive Ed­u­ca­tion, he has been at the fore­front of en­gage­ment with many in­dus­tries. He per­suades these in­dus­tries to take DUT stu­dents on for ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing. One of the pos­i­tive out­comes of this unit is that it has brought in fund­ing for re­search stu­dents and bur­saries by link­ing up with the right peo­ple and Skills Ed­u­ca­tion Train­ing Author­i­ties.

Ori said his suc­cess, as well as that of his unit, is as a re­sult of “good re­la­tion­ships that we build and nur­ture with ex­ter­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions and com­pa­nies as well as peo­ple across the univer­sity” who have sup­ported the work of his department.

“Go­ing for­ward, we need to pre­pare stu­dents to be work ready. That is, they must have work ethics and re­alise that the world of work is dif­fer­ent from an aca­demic class­room. Lec­tur­ers should also play a more ac­tive role in pre­par­ing the stu­dents for the work­place in the fu­ture. Ed­u­ca­tion is a part­ner­ship, which, through co-op­er­a­tive and work-in­te­grated ed­u­ca­tion, al­lows the de­vel­op­ment of grad­u­ate at­tributes, em­ploy­a­bil­ity, in­clud­ing self-em­ploy­a­bil­ity and en­trepreneur­ship, and im­proved aca­demic per­for­mance — it’s not just [about] giv­ing out aca­demic cer­tifi­cates.”

Sha­keel Ori, di­rec­tor of the Dur­ban Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy’s co-op­er­a­tive ed­u­ca­tion department. Photo: Sup­plied

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