Centre for International Education Research (CIER)

Quality of Lecturing Staff at TVET colleges (South Africa) 


Primary Investigator

Professor Volker Wedekind

 Project researchers

  • Dr Jo-Anna Russon
  • Zihao Liu

Project dates

December 2021 to July 2023 


Department for Higher Education (DHET)
South Africa


Project summary

Project 6.1 ‘Quality of lecturing staff at TVET colleges’ is part of the Department of Higher Education’s (DHET) research programme on TVET, funded by the South African government. At the heart of TVET lecturing within TVET colleges is an educational process that includes teaching, learning, a curriculum, the learning relationship between students and teachers and daily decisions taken by TVET lecturers in response to contextual factors that affect student learning in local college settings. A TVET lecturer needs to face students as individuals, meet the needs of employers and the workplace, deal with the expectations of government and the local community, and hold all of these factors in balance when working through a learning task with students. Debates continue about the role of technical ability versus professional qualifications and the implications for supporting TVET lecturer quality. 

TVET lecturers exist and function as individual agentic actors within the internal educational and student learning processes of a TVET college and the wider socio-economic and institutional environment. In South Africa, different progression pathways exist for TVET lecturers, with the resultant possibility of differing dimensions of TVET lecturer quality. The project also recognises the complexity of the student base in South Africa. TVET students can range from young school leavers, older people seeking to re-skill, and individuals seeking to re-adjust in the face of extremely difficult socio-economic circumstances.

In response Project 6.1 aims to develop an evidence-based understanding of the quality related aspects of the TVET lecturer role and complementary tools that support the identification, development and measurement of the various dimensions of TVET lecturer quality. This requires a broader definition of ‘quality’ as it pertains to TVET lecturers and the complex internal and external contexts within which they exist. Consequently, Project 6.1 adopts a broader notion of TVET lecturer quality in relation to student learning, knowledge, pedagogy and the curriculum, recognising that institutional structures and varying degrees of autonomy and agency can enable or constrain a TVET lecturer’s ability and capacity to understand and manage these domains. This is conceptualised in Framing Quality TVET Lecturers: holistic competencies, TVET knowledge and mediation within the skills system.

Project Aim

  • Developing an evidence-based toolkit for TVET lecturers that aids the identification, development and measurement of quality related aspects of the TVET lecturer role
  • Produce a final report that synthesises the findings on the dimensions of TVET lecturer quality

Project Objectives

  • Produce a literature review of the key concepts and evidence base that supports a broader agentic and institutional understanding of TVET lecturer quality
  • Identify how key stakeholders understand and define TVET lecturer quality
  • Gather evidence of the institutional factors and agentic pedagogies, practices and skills that support TVET lecturer quality
  • Develop a Quality Vocational Lecturers (QVL) Framework that draws on theoretical approaches to identify, support and measure the quality of TVET lecturers
  • Produce a toolkit for TVET lecturers based on the QVL Framework

Surveying perceptions of TVET lecturer quality

Project 6.1 began by expanding our understanding on definitions of quality in the literature and the evidence base for the broad framing outlined above. Following a preliminary analysis of the literature we have designed a survey to understand perceptions of TVET lecturer quality. We recognise that key actors within the system (TVET institutions, the private sector and government) may hold differing expectations of quality as it pertains to TVET lecturers, therefore the survey seeks to understand how ‘quality’ is perceived and defined across a wide range of stakeholders. 

The survey uses a series of statements (derived from the literature), reflecting a broad framing of ‘quality’ as it pertains to quality in TVET lecturers, encapsulating aspects of TVET pedagogy, and issues such as policy, curriculum, infrastructure and resources that can all have a bearing on TVET lecturer quality. 


Do you have experience of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in South Africa?  If yes, please consider participating in this short anonymous survey on quality TVET lecturers.   

This survey is being conducted by the University of Nottingham (UK) as part of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) South Africa, TVET Research Programme.  Further details are provided in the survey introduction, but if you would like further information please email Dr Jo-Anna Russon.

Quality TVET Lecturers
(Survey DHET)

The survey closes on Thursday 19 January 2023.  Please feel free to forward the survey link to others who may be interested in participating, particularly TVET students, industry, TVET lecturers, and academics/policy writers and civil servants involved in TVET.  

With thanks
Jo-Anna Russon and Volker Wedekind
DHET Project 6.1
University of Nottingham, UK



Centre for International Education Research

School of Education
University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

+44 (0)115 951 4543