Stakeholders’ community-engaged teaching and learning experiences at three universities in South Africa

F Muzeya, H Julie


Background. Transformation forces in South African (SA) higher education and beyond have called for incorporation of community engagement into higher education. Specifically, the SA white paper 3 that informed the Higher Education Act No. 101 of 1997 mandated higher education institutions, including those involved in the training of nurses, to move towards community-engaged teaching and learning (CETL). An array of interventions has been implemented that aim at magnifying community-engaged pedagogical practices in SA universities, including nursing departments. However, this has not been without challenges.

Objective. To describe stakeholders’ CETL experiences at three SA universities.

Methods. A phenomenological descriptive qualitative study using focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews was conducted with academics, students and community members at the health sciences departments of three universities that applied CETL approaches. Data were analysed through an inductive thematic approach and the outcomes are presented as themes.

Results. Four themes emerged from the data: empowerment; forms of CETL; principles of CETL; and awareness.

Conclusion. Stakeholders in CETL at the health sciences and nursing departments at three universities in SA indicated a rich array of experiences that can be used to leverage a transformative effect in nursing education. Appropriate integration of CETL into programme design and development of curricula, and use of explicit CETL methods with intentional outcomes for the students and communities, will go a long way toward achieving transformation in nursing education.

Authors' affiliations

F Muzeya, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Community Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

H Julie, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Community Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

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African Journal of Health Professions Education 2020;12(4):206-210. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.2020.v12i4.1393

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-12-01
Date published: 2020-12-01

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