Delegates and presenters pose for a photo

The School of Human and Social Sciences held its first progress review workshop for their post-graduate students, supervisors and promoters. The workshop took place over three days commencing Tuesday, 10 until Thursday, 12 December 2019 at 2Ten Hotel. A total of 50 participants consisting of staff members and Post-Graduate students, attended the Workshop. 

Advocate Dr Pfarelo Matshidze, Vice-Dean of the School of Human and Social Sciences

When officially opening the workshop, Advocate Dr Pfarelo Matshidze, Vice-Dean of the School of Human and Social Sciences, highlighted that through the workshop, the School aims at encouraging a progressive attitude through learning of good habits and unlearning some of the bad habits generally committed by students in their research pursuit. 

School of Human and Social Sciences Research Professor Mashudu Mashige

Sharing the purpose of the workshop, the School of Human and Social Sciences Research Professor Mashudu Mashige, expressed that the workshop aims at instilling a change in attitude in both supervisors and supervisees. “By deciding to attend the workshop, it shows you have an intention to complete your study and that the study will make an impact in someone’s life or at least a community implicated in the research”, said Prof Mashige. “Candidates should not be begged to complete their studies by supervisors and promoters; it should come out of their own intentionality”, continued Prof Mashige. 

A three-day workshop provided both supervisors and post-graduate students an opportunity to share their experiences in the course of preparing proposals and conducting research. On the first day, students were divided into four groups in terms of the stages they are, providing them an opportunity to share experiences and challenges. Students and supervisors also engaged in a robust discussion relating to issues that should be considered to make post-graduate study effective and avoid annoying each other which leads to accusations and conter-accusations, both of which are unnecessary. 

Some of the challenges identified in the groups relate to, amongst others: 

▪ Supervisor/Promoter relations (including male supervisors versus female supervisors) 

▪ Frustrations with changing topics that lead to de-motivating students 

▪ Need for the development of interest group platforms to enhance peer relations and sharing of ideas 

▪ Need for frequently conducting workshops of this nature in the future 

▪ In order to enhance quality, frequent article publishing workshops should be conducted. 

Feedback reports by groups to the plenary 

One of the concerns raised over post-graduate studies was the lack of a sense of commitment. It was emphasized that there should be a programme agreed and committed to, by both the supervisor/promoter and the student. A call was made for bridges to be mended where relations are almost at an advanced aggravated state. As part of enhancing these relations, the School of Human and Social Sciences is finalizing a booklet which will soon be published, amongst others, post-graduate students will be required to sign an agreement with their supervisors and promoters. 

During the workshop, the challenge of technology was discussed in the view of the effects of the 4th Industrial Revolution. It was agreed that opportunities should be taken to better research development through the use of technology in the 4th Industrial Revolution. 

The workshop involved several presenters sharing skills in the writing of proposals as well as writing up dissertations and theses. The bane of plagiarism and wanton disregard for ethics in research were also discussed. 

The workshop was also attended by the Traditional Healers’ chairperson, Mr Masia who presented on the importance of Indigenous Knowledge systems. 

Chairperson of the Traditional Healers Association, Mr Masia

Post-graduate students benefitted a lot from the workshop and in their feedback, it was expressed that the student ownership of the process becomes important, and that supervisors’ comments should be taken into consideration and implemented in full if the study is to be successful. As portrayed by Nelisiwe Mondlane, a Masters of Arts student who believes that “the workshop was helpful to the students as it relates to our research projects and provided guidance. It will be important to hold such workshops in the future as it helps to improve student progress in their research projects” 

Issued by: 

Department of Communications & Marketing 

University of Venda 

Tel: (015) 962 8525 

Date: 07January 2020