Authors: K. Barac & L. du Plessis

Keyword: relevant skills, skills development, South Africa


Agenda 2063: A6

Professional accountants need to retain and maintain a broad skills set. In response to this need, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) emphasises the mastering of pervasive skills in its competency framework and expects South African universities offering its accredited programmes to produce graduates able to demonstrate such skills at acceptable levels of competence upon entry into the workplace. This study investigates the manner in which SAICA-accredited South African universities offer and teach pervasive skills, and attempts to determine whether heads of departments have identified the teaching of these skills as being the responsibility of the university, or not. These views were solicited through an e-mailed questionnaire. The study found that although the development of pervasive skills is an outcome largely included in these accredited undergraduate programmes, their presentation and integration into the courses vary considerably, and more integration of pervasive skills into course majors should be considered. Teaching methods and practices followed by the universities show significant diversity, and this result corresponds with those reported elsewhere in the literature. It is a concern that there is only limited use of research-based projects in these undergraduate programmes. An interesting finding of the study was that heads of departments perceive the acquisition of some pervasive skills to be best achieved in the real-world, practical workplace, rather than in the theoretical confines of the universities' lectures and tutorials.