School of Education

Education Staffer Graduates with PhD for Research on Community Colleges as a New Adult Education Model

Dr Lulama Mbatha.
Dr Lulama Mbatha.

To fulfil her late father’s wish, Dr Lulama Mbatha, a lecturer in the School of Education, recently graduated with a PhD in Education.

Her research examines how various stakeholders understand the interdependence of the different parts of Community Education and Training (CET) college leadership in organisational change, how change is managed, and how effective the organisational change is.

Findings reveal varying understandings of the interdependence of the different parts of the community colleges’ leadership and the management of organisational change management; suggesting that leaders do not view the CET college holistically.

The study also found that CET college leadership lacks an understanding of what needs to be changed. Mbatha argues that ‘there is an enabling environment for the change management process to occur effectively. That is, there is a clear mandate, vision, resources, political commitment, governance structures, and implementation framework to drive change management processes. However, there is inadequately knowledgeable, qualified, and competent leadership and stakeholders to support the planning and implementation of change management processes.’

She noted that monitoring and evaluation of the desired change and contribution by leadership and various stakeholders does not reflect the standardised criteria for CET colleges’ effectiveness.

Mbatha suggests a review of governance and leadership structures, the adoption of shared organisational change by all stakeholder levels of leadership and further training on policy systems by policy experts.

‘The findings of my study may inform future policy and practice. They could help recommend a preferred leadership style and change management framework that may inform initiatives for the successful implementation of CET colleges. This will ensure that CET Colleges are meeting their intended objectives as set out in the national policy and are deemed fit for purpose,’ said Mbatha.

She found it challenging to meet the demands of work and studying. ‘I was fortunate that my research project was connected to my work. I am also a perfectionist and tend to put pressure on myself. This nearly left me burnt out because I neglected myself and constantly felt guilty when I was not working on my research. I realised that I needed to find that balance and manage the pace and my time effectively. I started caring for myself and set out time to do other things like walking and watching movies without guilt. I also took an interest in gardening.’

She advised other students to find balance as it is critical. ‘This journey can be lonely and exhausting. One has to balance study and their wellbeing. Consistently take stock of your energies and manage your own time and other people’s expectations of you. Don’t feel guilty about saying “no”,’ she said.

Mbatha thanked her family, friends and supervisor for being her support system.

She plans to contribute to the education sector through further research and publications, and to support postgraduate students with their studies.

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