The IPSS offers research and development in Adult Education studies; Higher Education studies; and TVET studies. Each of these components have rich histories in their own right. Adult Education research and the training of adult educators existed in the former Centre for Adult and Continuing Education (CACE) for over two decades before CACE became part of the IPSS. The Education Policy Unit at UWC was among three Education Policy Units in the country that wrote the new education policies for a democratic South Africa. As these policies rolled out the Education Policy Unit shifted focus to becoming a Centre for the Study of Higher Education, and this then became the Higher Education studies arm of the IPSS. The TVET unit of the IPSS had its roots in the FET Institute which joined UWC as a self-funded vocational research and development entity in 2005, after having been active in the vocational field since 1997. The formation of the IPSS in 2013 was therefore built on strong foundations and proud traditions, with academics who are experts in their respective domains.
The broad mandate of the IPSS is to conduct research, teaching and outreach on the post-school sector within South Africa, Africa and beyond in ways that ensure UWC becomes a centre of excellence for post-school studies.
The aims and objectives are as follows:
- To generate new knowledge on post-schooling within South Africa, Africa and beyond through research programmes and the development of Master's and PhD qualifications in the different areas in post-school studies that will provide further research and teaching capacity for post-school education and training;
- To contribute to policy development for the post-school sector in South Africa, Africa and beyond;
- To develop professional capacity for the post-school sector through the development and provision of relevant undergraduate and post-graduate qualifications.
- To implement projects aimed at systemic coherence of the post-school sector in South Africa and Africa, for example, projects that span educational institutions and academic levels and provide pathways to, adult, further and higher education and training and the world of work.
- To implement projects aimed at the promotion of critical citizenship.