Student teamwork in professional programmes in higher education: a comparative study of Spain and South Africa


  • Gabrielle Nudelman University of Cape Town
  • Claudia Kalil
  • Elena Navarro-Astor
  • Jane English



Teamwork is a fundamental employability skill and, as such, is fostered in professional programmes. This study presents a comparative analysis of higher education students' perceptions, development, and experiences of teamwork at two universities: one in South Africa and the other in Spain. These study sites provided a fruitful opportunity for comparison, given their contextual similarities. Through a survey of 395 3rd and 4th-year students of professional degrees, the authors explored how these students developed the teamwork skills required within their curricula. The findings showed that respondents from both institutions perceive teamwork similarly, but there are significant differences in how these skills are developed. While most South African respondents had participated in courses focused on team functioning, the Spanish had learnt to function in teams during project work. Furthermore, the South African sample was more aware of the impact of socio-cultural factors on team functioning than the Spanish one. The former reported feeling marginalised due to their race, gender and language to a greater extent than the Spanish. The paper outlines the potential benefits of successful teamwork, such as improving social cohesion. The results could be useful to policymakers and lecturers designing context-specific interventions to develop students' teamwork skills.


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How to Cite

Nudelman, G., Kalil, C., Navarro-Astor, E., & English, J. (2022). Student teamwork in professional programmes in higher education: a comparative study of Spain and South Africa. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 13(1), 94–108.