WCSA Research


The Research Function of the Workers College plays a number of key organisational roles. These roles are:

  • To develop the new knowledge for use in debate and academic learning in the College itself and the organisations serviced by the College. 
  • To monitor and evaluate education programmes to ensure quality and up to date information.
  • To serve as a platform to teach and practice research skills.

The Research Mission Statement

The Workers’ College is committed to the upliftment of the working class in south Africa and internationally through the application of quality, values based and ethically sound research in support of knowledge development and dissemination and evidenced based worker education practice.

Research values and ethics are fully defined in the Workers’ College research policy and Academic and research code of ethics. This strategy conforms to these policies.

Research Strategy

This research strategy forms part of the research policy and identifies various strategic goals and the necessary resources and activities necessary to reach these goals.


Strategic Research Priorities

The Workers’ College shall prioritise research that:

  • Relates to trade union and community development education and Training,
  • Community development and trade union functioning,
  • The documentation and exposure of labour community and human rights abuses and exploitation and the development of recommendations and actions to end such abuses,
  • Policy engagement and support on matters relating to the betterment of the working class
  • Human resource development in general and worker’s education within human resource development in particular
  • The promotion of adult literacy and adult education in general, the betterment of working class lives in general and the practice and development of socialist alternatives
  • The general upliftment and betterment of working class lives
  • The competitiveness of South African academia and industries within a framework of improving working and living standards
  • The development and practice of participatory and action orientated research

Implementation Plan

To action these priorities the Workers’ College research and legal unit shall annually develop an implementation plan identifying focus areas of research for that year.


Increasing Available Support

To increase available support, funds and allocations for research the Workers’ College shall:

  • Identify Potential sponsors of funding for the research agenda inform same of the research agenda along with a list of proposed project areas through a biannually updated research profile bulletin
  • Strategic areas of policy engagement such as worker’s education and human resource development will be research priorities and furthered through active policy engagement with different policy forums
  • Support national, regional and industry-specific research and development policies and strategies
  • The Workers’ College shall actively seek partnership in research endeavours through its MOU with the University of Kwa Zulu Natal to establish a multidisciplinary research chair between the institutions and seek funding for same as part of its priority programmes
  • Actively engage SETAs at the instance of the development of skills plans and scarce skills priorities to promote the notion of competent worker representation from amongst the ranks of traditionally less skilled workers as a scarce skill in itself.

Enhance Quality of Research

The Workers’ College shall maintain and enhance the quality of research undertaken through:

  • Attract and retain quality research and academic staff
  • The implementation of a peer review (internal and external) system
  • Encourage and reward excellence in research by establishing a student and staff award system
  • Provide an incentive bonus for published research in approved academic journals especially DHET approved ones
  • Identification of research niche areas in the broader research priorities for specialist research development and training in these areas
  • develop and teach on a research specific learning programme. The participants of this programme shall be invited to participate in a research project/s that make up part of the current Workers’ College research agenda to better equip learners with practical exposure to research processes
  • Identify at least one project in the implementation plan shall also provide a basis for action reflection and the surfacing of good practice lessons explicitly in the design of the project
  • The integration of research with the materials development process for all academic and practical programmes
  • Promote the exchange of researchers locally and internationally

Building the Research Profile of the Institution

To build the research profile of the institution, the Workers’ College shall:

  • Actively promote its research capacity with member and user organisations with a view to encouraging the commissioning of research activities. Where needed external consulting support may be engaged to keep pace where demand may outpace available in-house capacity for research and to facilitate knowledge transfer around certain research competencies
  • Actively cultivate networks of research with government, labour service and community organisations with overlapping interest areas as both repositories of knowledge developed and potential partners and financial supporters of collaborative research areas
  • Publicize research achievements and research initiatives widely or actively disseminate research results and achievements nationally and internationally
  • Develop and use its website as the initial and primary mechanism for the dissemination of research information and depending on funding availability research outputs along with invited research submissions will be compiled into a peer reviewed journal. Such journal shall be available for electronic and print distribution on a marginal cost plus basis
  • Actively engage SETAs at the instance of the development of skills plans and scarce skills priorities to promote the notion of competent worker representation from amongst the ranks of traditionally less skilled workers as a scarce skill in itself.