Research Sleeping Dogs in Fashion Design Departments of South African Universities: A Decolonisation Obstacle?

Conference: 

Discipline: 

Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design

Keywords: 

  • fashion design curriculum, decolonisation, NDP Vision 2030, doctorate shortage, South African higher education.

South African universities are exploring strategies to decolonise higher education in response to student’s calls. This manuscript investigates research sleeping dogs in fashion design departments of South African universities.  Research sleeping dogs are defined as academic staff who do not have a doctorate qualification, resulting in their inability to fully perform research related activities. Through 2015 data sets sourced from CHET (2017) and Mbatha & Mastamet-Mason (n/d), a benchmark was done of the academic qualifications of staff in fashion design departments of South African universities against national academic qualifications of staff. Using the NDP Vision 2030’s functions for universities, this study determines if research sleeping dogs found in the manuscript will be an obstacle in decolonising higher education.

The study found 54% of staff are research sleeping dogs at national level, while fashion design departments of South African universities have a 93% rate of staff who are considered research sleeping dogs. Using the above findings and NDP Vision 2030’s functions for universities, this study argues that academic staff in fashion design departments of South African universities have inadequate manpower to: (i) produce new knowledge; (ii) identify existing knowledge and find new applications for it and; (iii) validate new knowledge through curricula.   

The manuscript concludes that fashion design departments of South African universities have inadequate research skills and an under-qualified staff complement to decolonise the fashion design discipline. The manuscript makes a strategic and policy contribution by linking decolonisation and NDP Vision 2030, in an effort to awaken research sleeping dogs in fashion design departments of South African universities.

 

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