Teacher educators' perceptions about possibilities and challenges of the merger between Namibian Higher Education institutions for improving teacher education
Vatuva gwaa-Uugwanga, Paulina Ndahambelela
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The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of the teacher educators about the merger between the University of Namibia and Namibia’s former Colleges of Education with regards to the merger's capacity to improve quality teacher education. The focus of the study differed from the various merger studies in that theirs has mainly been on technical issues of mergers to interpret merger capacity to improve change. Of importance about this focus is that the views of teacher educators were deemed important because of their 'agency' in the merger and its capacity to improve teacher education quality. The grounded theory of Strauss and Corbin of 1998 framed the study. The key question of the study was: "what are the perceptions of teacher educators about the merger of the former colleges of education with the University of Namibia's and the capacity to improve teacher education quality in the country?" A case study methodology was employed in which semi-structured questions were used to collect data. In addition, the study also employed observations and document analysis as sources of data.The key finding of the study was that all the participants' perceptions were that the merger has the capacity to improve the quality of teacher education in Namibia. The core of this finding serves as evidence of the complexities of mergers, particularly in terms of how participants perceive the merger's capability of improving quality. Firstly, the perceptions related to the contexts in which the participant teacher educators found themselves. Furthermore, the perceptions appeared to be associated with various contextual needs experienced by participants in the various institutions. The study analysis further suggested that the needs related to issues associated with input, process and output. These findings laid the ground for an emergent theory for understanding of teacher educators’ perceptions about the mergers. A conclusion drawn from the above findings were that the Maslow Hierarchy of Need Theory (with its biological/physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love, esteem needs, and self-actualization) provide better understanding of perceptions about mergers.