A food qualification at Technikon Natal : influential factors : an attitudinal survey of standard nine pupils' perception of the status of studying at Technikon Natal for a diploma in the food field
James, Irene Hildegarde
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To date, the hospitality industry, and in particular the food service industry, has a notoriously high turnover of staff, as well as a general shortage of qualified personnel. This factor, as well as the announcement in 1989 by the South African Government to privatise certain of its catering services over a period of three years caused the authorities to express concern over the lack of trained food staff for the future. Believing that technikons have the infrastructure to qualify culinarians, but that distorted images, prejudices and misconceptions surround technikon education as well as a cUlinary career, this study was undertaken to identify the factors that influence school leavers' choices of study institutions and attitudes towards studying for a food career at Technikon Natal. A theoretical substructure lays the foundation for the study. The literature review in chapter two outlines the historical development of technikons, as well as culinary careers in South Africa, placing special emphasis on the status and image of technikons and food careers. The methodology in chapter three explains the structuring and administration of the questionnaire used to capture data from six randomly selected high schools in the greater Durban area. The processed data results are discussed in chapter four. Table are presented at the conclusion of each group of major issues. These issues include pupils' anticipated study plans, choices of careers and study institutions, and the influence that individuals and other sources may have had on the formation of their attitudes and resultant choices of careers and study institutions. The pupils' attitudes towards studying for a career in the food service industry is thereafter reported on in detail. The results indicated that parents have the greatest influence on career and institution choice although it was found that they provide relatively little information on educational institutions. On the other hand, school teacher-counsellors are found to provide the most information on educational institutions but have far less influence regarding the choice of the educational institution than parents do. Technikon Natal and careers in food are generally positively perceived, but ignorance concerning the academic nature of the Technikon as well as the food diplomas is still evident and needs to be addressed. The study revealed information that could be used to combat ignorance and misconceptions thereby increasing the quantity of applications and subsequent quality of students for both Technikon Natal and the food service industry.