Contemporary tertiary institutions and workplace organisations face a raft of challenges in coping with competing demands and rapidly changing environments. Today’s challenging economic situation indicates that it is no longer sufficient for a new graduate to have knowledge of an academic subject; increasingly it is necessary for students to gain those language competencies and literacies which will enhance their productivity and prospects of employment after completing an ESP course. With such demands and changes come the need for tertiary education to skill young graduates adequately to meet these challenges both now and in the future. There is a growing concern in Namibia that tertiary education is not meeting the needs of employers and the workplace, such as occupation specific knowledge, generic skills and competencies, as well as language specific competencies.
This study investigated the role of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in enhancing workplace literacies for graduate employees in the Namibian commercial sector in Windhoek. The study mainly looked at the language literacies and competencies that new graduates in the commercial sector in Windhoek had in their repositories which could enable them to operate effectively in that sector. The sample was purposively selected, and the investigation was conducted in ten public and private sector institutions that employ graduates from three tertiary institutions, namely the University of Namibia, the Namibia University of Science and Technology and the International University of Management, in Windhoek. A mixed-methods design was adopted where survey questionnaire and interview protocols were employed. The questionnaire instrument was a rating scale that required participants (young graduates) to rate their level of agreement to a specific issue. The data from the survey were computer analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Information was then coded according to the survey questions and cross tabulations and frequency information were determined. An interview protocol was administered to employers and representatives of tertiary institutions. The recorded interviews were transcribed and subjected to a preliminary analysis shortly after completion of the interviews. After several close readings of the transcribed texts, an open coding
process was conducted. The employers and lecturers’ responses in the transcripts were highlighted according to the different units of meaning that could be discerned, and then grouped together in categories.
The findings of this study reveal that graduate employees were lacking in the language competencies of oral, reading, written and non-verbal language communication, as well as non-technical skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, which are valuable in any workplace. Furthermore, it appears that tertiary institutions were not providing courses related to English for Specific Purposes for this particular commercial sector; but appeared to be content with the current offerings of language courses by centres and units. The study reconceptualised the meaning of workplace literacy in the Namibian context, and found that workplace literacy could not be regarded as a skill, but rather as what is done or performed in a given context, such as the workplace. Based on the findings, the recommendation is to formulate clear policies to guide curriculum development in courses, such as ESP, in tertiary institutions to ensure that these curricula are aligned to the language literacies typical of various workplaces. Due to the identified shortcomings in the tertiary education offerings of English language ESP courses, a ‘narrow-angled’ ESP and ‘competency’ models for tertiary institutions in Namibia are proposed.
SSA, R (2021). The Role Of English For Specific Purposes In Enhancing Workplace Literacies For Graduates Employed In The Commercial Sector In Windhoe. Afribary.com: Retrieved May 13, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/the-role-of-english-for-specific-purposes-in-enhancing-workplace-literacies-for-graduates-employed-in-the-commercial-sector-in-windhoe
Research, SSA. "The Role Of English For Specific Purposes In Enhancing Workplace Literacies For Graduates Employed In The Commercial Sector In Windhoe" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 27 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/the-role-of-english-for-specific-purposes-in-enhancing-workplace-literacies-for-graduates-employed-in-the-commercial-sector-in-windhoe . Accessed 13 May. 2021.
Research, SSA. "The Role Of English For Specific Purposes In Enhancing Workplace Literacies For Graduates Employed In The Commercial Sector In Windhoe". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 27 Apr. 2021. Web. 13 May. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/the-role-of-english-for-specific-purposes-in-enhancing-workplace-literacies-for-graduates-employed-in-the-commercial-sector-in-windhoe >.
Research, SSA. "The Role Of English For Specific Purposes In Enhancing Workplace Literacies For Graduates Employed In The Commercial Sector In Windhoe" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed May 13, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/the-role-of-english-for-specific-purposes-in-enhancing-workplace-literacies-for-graduates-employed-in-the-commercial-sector-in-windhoe