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Making sense of professionalism and being a professional in a Kenyan higher education context

Calvert, Mike and Muchira-Tirima, Koi (2013) Making sense of professionalism and being a professional in a Kenyan higher education context. Journal of Education for Teaching, 39 (4). pp. 370-382.

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Abstract

The concept of the professional in the context of a rapidly expanding higher education sector in a developing country offers interesting insights into the values, attitudes and motivations of lecturers. The article charts the expansion of higher education and summarises the challenges that it faces. It goes on to examine through interviews with faculty (staff) in one private university in Kenya what they understand by professionalism, what constitutes professional (and less than professional) behaviour and whether they feel that the institution supports or militates against professionalism amongst the academic workforce. The findings suggest that their view is unproblematic and resides in their specialist knowledge and accompanying values and behaviours and is less concerned with status, autonomy or agency. Faculty are clear what a professional is and what constitutes professional behaviour, but appear to recognise and accept that this is a low-status profession where colleagues struggle to survive materially, often prioritise extra teaching for research and enjoy limited opportunities for professional development. The research suggests that Kenya, and other countries in a similar position, may well struggle to provide an environment where professionalism will flourish as staff face a range of challenges to grow and improve their higher education system.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: 10.1080/02607476.2013.802159
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
School/Department: School of Education
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/476

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