Relevance of selected Social Science Degree programs on skills development and graduate employability in Zambia
A pragmatic approach was used to explore the extent to which four selected social science degree programs were relevant for the skill needs of the job market in Zambia. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected from 162 participants using interviews and questionnaires. The SPSS version 24 and Atlas. Ti Version 8 were used to analyse and interpret data within the framework of the Capability Approach. The findings reveal that the relevance of each of the four social science degree programs depend on how key stakeholders in higher education and the labour market perceive them and that graduate employability was affected by factors such as the need and importance of social sciences to the labour market; employer and student perceptions of employability skills in the degree programs; demand for the programs; graduate work readiness, and the availability of graduate job prospects. It could be concluded that although all four social science degree programs were important, their relevance to the needs of Zambia’s labour market varied from program to program.
Akinyemi, S. (2013). The economics of education. Houston: Strategic Publishing and Rights Co.
Anwaruddin, R.M. (2013). Neoliberal universities and the education of arts, humanities and social sciences in Bangladesh. Policy Futures in Education, 11(4), 364–374
Axelrod, P. (2017). Is there too much emphasis on STEM fields at universities? Canada: York University. Available at: https://theconversation.com/is-there-too-much-emphasis-on-stem-fields-at-universities-86526
Bhorat, H., Cassin, A., Masumba, G., Naidoo, K., & Steenkamp, F. (2015). Youth unemployment challenges in Zambia: A statistical profile, current policy frameworks, and existing interventions. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre.
Bless, C., Higson-Smith, C., & Sithole, S.L. (2013). Fundamentals of social research methods: An African perspective, 5th Edition. Cape Town: Juta and Company.
Bryman, A. (2008). Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Clarke, M. (2018a). Rethinking graduate employability: The role of capital, individual attributes and context. Studies in Higher Education, 43(11), 1923-1937. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.1294152
Clarke, M. (2018b). Understanding and managing employability to changing career contexts. Journal of European Industrial Training, 32(4), 258-284.
Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2010). Research methods in education. New York: Routledge.
Creswell, J.W. (2014). Research designs: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches, (4thEd.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Creswell, J.W., & Plano Clark, V.L. (2007). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Cunningham, W.V., & Villaseñor, P. (2016). Employer voices, employer demands, and implications for public skills development policy connecting the labour and education sectors. The World Bank Research Observer, 31(1), 102–134.
Damoah, O.O., Peprah, A.A., & Brefo, K.O. (2021). Does higher education equip graduates with skills employers require? The perceptions of employers in Ghana. Journal of Further and Higher Education. DOI: 10. 1080/0309877x.2020.1860204.
ElKhayat, R.S. (2018). The capabilities approach: A future alternative to neoliberal higher education in the Mena Region. International Journal of Higher Education, 7(3), 36–44.
Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics, (4thed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Finch, D.F., Hamilton, L.K., Riley, B., & Zehner, M. (2013). An explanation of factors affecting undergraduate employability. Education and Training, 55(7), 670–681.
Flash Eurobarometer (Eu). 2010. Employer’s perception of graduate employability: Analytical Report. Available at: https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/198872b7-1dff-47a7-954c-f27e0115fd5b
Gao, L., Wang, X., & Cui, Y-P. (2014). Courses and employability skills: The voice of students. Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on Management Science and Management Innovation, Atlantis Press. P.43-49. https://dx.doi.org/10.2991/msmi-14.2014.8
Goma, L.K.H. (1975). The African university and the human understanding: Vice-Chancellors speech at the seventh graduation ceremony of the University of Zambia. http://saipar.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Goma-Speech.pdf
Gonzalez-Roma, V., Gamboa, J.P., & Peiro, J.M. (2016). University graduates’ employability, employment status, and job quality. Journal of Career Development, 45(2), 132–149.
Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ). (2006). Zambia Vision 2030. Lusaka: Ministry of Finance and National Planning. Available at: https://www.mndp.gov.zm/wp-content/uploads/filebase/vision_2030/Vision-2030.pdf
Government of the Republic of Zambia. (GRZ). (2015). National Youth Policy: Towards a Skilled Enlightened, Empowered and Patriotic Youth impacting positively on National Development. Lusaka: Ministry of Youth and Sport. Available at: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_emp/---ed_emp_msu/documents/projectdocumentation/wcms_427020.pdf
Hartman, J.L. (2014). Internships. In J.S. Albanese (Ed.). The encyclopaedia of criminology and criminal justice (pp.1–4), Fifth Edition. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Igwe, P.A; Lock, D & Rugara, D.G. (2020). What factors determine the Development of Employability Skills in Nigerian Higher Education? Innovations in Education and Teaching International. DOI: 10.10.80/14703297.2020.1850319
Jackson, D. (2015). Employability skills development in work-integrated learning: Barriers and best practices. Journal of Studies in Higher Education, 40(2), 350–367.
Jackson, D. (2016). Skill mastery and the formulation of graduate identity in bachelor graduates: Evidence from Australia. Journal of Studies in Higher Education, 41(7), 1313–1332.
James, S., Warhurst, C., Tholen, G., & Commander, J. (2013). What we know and what we need to know about graduate skills. Work, Employment and Society, 27(6), 952–963.
Kinash, S., Crane, l., & Judd, M.M. (2016). Good Practice Report: Nurturing Graduate Employability in Higher Education. Sydney: Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.
Legg, C., & Christopher, H. (2021). ‘Pragmatism’. In Edward N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer, 2021 Edition), forthcoming URL: https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2021/entries/pragmatism/
Masaiti, G., Mwelwa, K., & Mwale, N. (2015). Shifting from government bursaries to a loan scheme in higher education: Exploring the Zambian experience in student financial Aid. International Journal of African Higher Education, 2, 69–99.
Menashy, F. (2014). Theorising privatization in education: Comparing conceptual frameworks and the value of the capability approach. Current Issues in Comparative Education, 16(1), 13–25.
Ministry of General Education [Zambia]. (2017). 2016 Educational Statistical Bulletin. Lusaka: Ministry of General Education.
Ministry of Higher Education. (2019). National Higher Education Policy. Lusaka: Ministry of Higher Education.
Ministry of Higher Education. (2019). National Higher Education. MOHE, Lusaka.
Moono, H., & Rankin, N. (2013). Education and employment in Zambia: Evidence from a scoping exercise. International Growth Centre, Stellenbosch University.
Morgan, D. l. (2007). Paradigms lost and paradigms regained. Journal of Mixed-methods Research, 1(1), 48–76.
Mulenga, I.M. (2015). English language teacher education curriculum designing: A mixed-methods analysis of the degree program at the University of Zambia. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, University of Zambia, Lusaka.
Mwelwa, K. (2014). Implementation of the student loans scheme policy as a viable cost-sharing measure in promoting equitable access to higher education in Zambia. Perspectives of Selected Stakeholders in Education. Unpublished Masters Dissertation, University of Zambia, Lusaka.
Mwila, K. (2017). Education and skills development: Examining the effectiveness of technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training in Solwezi District of Zambia. Unpublished Masters Dissertation, University of Zambia, Lusaka.
Onwuegbuzie, A.J., & Combs, J.P. (2011). Data analysis in mixed research: A primer. International Journal of Education, 3(1), 1-25.
Oppong, S., & Sachs, P.R. (2015). Managing graduate employability in emerging economies: Critical analysis of the skills mismatch and oversupply theses. Business Excellence, 9(1), 125–137.
Osmani, M., Weerakody, V., Hindi, N., & Eldabi, T. (2019). Graduate employability skills: A review of literature against market demand. Journal of Education and Business, 94(7), 423–432.
Page, M.E. (2010). Signaling in the labour market. In D.J. Brewer & P.J. McEwan, (Eds.). Economics of Education, (pp.33-36). New York: Elsevier.
Pandolfini, V. & Poli, S. (2015). Education as a capability for young adults’ life trajectories: Some evidence from an Italian case study. Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 7(2), 43–69.
Rastrick, C. (2018). Meaningful employment for humanities and social sciences graduates. Ontario: Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation.
Riebe, L., & Jackson, D. (2014). The use of rubrics in benchmarking and assessing employability skills. Journal of Management Education. 38(3), 319–344.
Robeyns, I. (2005). The capability approach: A theoretical survey. Journal of Human Development, 6(1), 93–114.
Rowe, A.D., & Zegwaard, K.N. (2017). Developing graduate employability skills and attributes: Curriculum enhancement through work integrated learning. Asia Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, Special Issue, 18(2), 87–99.
Shenton, A.K. (2004). Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative research projects. Journal of Education for Information, 22(2), 63–75.
Simukanga, S., Chifwepa, V; Mfune, O., Nsokolo, D., & Chanda, D. (2020). The State of Higher Education in Zambia 2019: 5 Decades of University Education. Lusaka: Higher Education Authority. Available at: https://hea.org.zm/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/The-State-of-Higher-Education-in-Zambia-2019.pdf
Simukungwe-Moono, M. (2010). Program development and employability in higher education institutions in Zambia. Unpublished Masters Dissertation, Oslo University, Norway.
Singh, P., Themusamy, R.X., & Ramly, A. (2014). Assessing graduate’s generic skills: An indicator of employability. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 22(3), 845–860.
Tavakol, M., & Dennick, R. (2011). Making sense of Cronbach’s Alpha. International Journal of Medical Education, 2, 53–55.
Teddlie, C. & Tashakkori, A. (2009). Foundations of Mixed Methods Research: Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches in the Social and Behavioural Sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP). (2016). Zambia Human Development Report 2016: Industrialisation and Human Development. Lusaka: UNDP.
University of South Africa (UNISA). (2016). Policy on Research Ethics. www.unisa.ac.za
Yonezawa, A. (2017). The Humanities and Social Sciences in the Age of STEM: The Struggle of Japanese as a Linguistic Minority. International Higher Education. 88, 31–33.
Zambia Statistical Agency. (2019). Zambia 2019 Labour Force Survey. Lusaka: Zambia Statistical Office.