By Dr Roelien Brink

Welcome all Cooperative and work-integrated learning partners to this blog. I believe we will have fruitful and productive discussions, resulting in sharing and building collaborative partnerships to the benefit of all based on the principle of learning from one another.

I have been juggling this question in my mind since I joined the Southern African Society for Cooperative Education (SASCE). Is it possible to address the graduate unemployment using, Cooperative and Work-integrated learning (CWIL)? During my PhD journey I realised CWIL can contribute and impact on the work-readiness of our graduates.

This view was supported based on results of formal interviews and informal discussions with CWIL partners and students that are not involved in the CWIL process. It was found students don’t have the choice of doing CWIL as part of their curriculum. CWIL can play a role in the unemployment rate in South-Africa (SA). Students that don’t have the opportunity to enroll for a module, where they can become part of the CWIL process and learn during this process. Students consider the students who are doing CWIL as part of their curriculum are more prepared and more ready for the work place. The rationale of this perspective of students is students feel this way because the students doing CWIL as part of their curriculum already have some working experience.

Therefore the question that I want to pose to all partners is as follows: Is it not time for the Higher Education Institutions to start thinking of implementing CWIL as a voluntary subject for all students?

Looking forward to hear from you all.