Original Research

Foundation for transdisciplinary education at Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Masilonyane Mokhele, Nicholas Pinfold
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 16, No 1 | a749 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v16i1.749 | © 2020 Masilonyane Mokhele, Nicholas Pinfold | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 August 2019 | Published: 08 June 2020

About the author(s)

Masilonyane Mokhele, Department of Town and Regional Planning, Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Nicholas Pinfold, Department of Town and Regional Planning, Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

South Africa faces a multitude of social, economic and environmental challenges, which require well-considered planning efforts. However, the efficacy of the built environment professions to adequately plan for the current and future populations can to some extent be questioned. Factors that are arguably responsible for the failure of the professions to achieve the desired outcomes include the following: (1) the inability of professionals to comprehensively analyse community problems and (2) although the various professions might work on the same issues, they largely fail to transcend disciplinary boundaries. This state of affairs can in part be linked to the role of higher education, which is in a good position to equip future professionals with the skills required for the analysis of diverse societal problems. In spite of the importance of education and training, there is a paucity of literature that explore ways in which the South African higher education sector instils transdisciplinary thinking and, accordingly, imparts the requisite soft skills to students. Using the case study of Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, the aim of this article was to present efforts that are pursued towards instilling transdisciplinarity in students. The efforts revolve around community service-learning pedagogy, which grants students a platform to work in close collaboration with communities. In the process, students and community members develop an in-depth understanding of the community’s problems and how they could be collectively resolved.

Keywords

built environment; Cape Peninsula University of Technology; community service-learning; transdisciplinarity; planning education; qualitative GIS.

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