An analysis of perceptions of academics regarding the reward for excellence in teaching versus the reward for excellence in research approached through the lens of critical theory

23 Nov 2016

Under the pretext of enhancing a knowledge society, educational transformation promotes a polarization between excellence in teaching and learning and excellence in research through a system that favours research. Academics who may be good teachers but who are not research active may be seen as incompetent. Through the lens of critical theory, this paper argues that this polarization has created an oppressive hegemonic working environment for academics. Self-administered questionnaires were applied with academics as the target group. Face-to-face interviews were conducted among middle and senior management. Respondents indicated that they were still committed to pursuing excellence in teaching despite the unbalanced reward system towards research. This sense of ?calling? could make respondents vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation. When, for the purpose of pursuing excellence, they take on an increasingly heavy workload in the absence of adequate resources and rewards, they are contributing to their own oppression and self-destruction.