Towards the development of an oral selection procedure for acceptance into the fashion programme at the Durban University of Technology
The selection criteria common to all Fashion schools/departments/programmes both in South Africa and internationally, is the requirement for the applicants to pass an interview. Research confirms that in institutions where student selection includes an interview, the dropout rate is low. The need for this study arose because of the lack of structure of the current oral protocol or interview selection procedure in Fashion at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), and the need to include a larger number of previously disadvantaged applicants into the Fashion programme. The aim of this study therefore was to investigate the career life histories of the Fashion degree students at the DUT to identify a set of biographical variables that can be used for student selection. Underpinned by the Systems Theory Framework, this study adapted Tinto’s Longitudinal Model of Institutional Departure to investigate pre-entry attributes and interactions within family backgrounds, skills and abilities, and prior schooling that impact the goals and commitments of students. Narrative enquiry using semi-structured in-depth interviews provided data which were processed using the three-dimensional narrative analysis approach. Findings of this study indicate the importance of pre-entry attributes and personality type that is best suited to a career in fashion, and emphasised that intrinsic interests and talents are of primary importance. The results have important implications for student interview selection as it identifies suitable and prepared applicants who will complete and graduate in the minimum time, thereby potentially increasing throughput and output rates in Fashion. Based on the results, the researcher proposed a framework for a standardised and structured interview selection procedure in Fashion at the DUT which enables access to candidates who have the potential for a career in Fashion regardless of their socio-economic or cultural background.