Coakes and Steed (2010:140) stated that there are a number of different reliability coefficients. One of the most commonly used is the Cronbach’s alpha, which is based on the average correlation of items within a test if the items are standardized. If the items are not standardized, it is based on the average covariance among the items. The Cronbach’s alpha can range from 0 to 1. Cronbach’s alpha was also calculated as part of the reliability test to assess how consistent the results were and similar results could be obtained for generalisability if the sample size were to be increased. A value of 0.7 or higher represents a good value that can lead to the researcher getting the same results if the investigation is carried out with a larger sample of respondents. The Cronbach’s alpha was calculated for all the questions, which have the same scales in each section, which was question 2, 4, and 8. The Cronbach’s alpha was calculated to be 0.67.
Table 6.14: Reliability: Cronbach’s Alpha
Question Cronbach’s Alpha
In the current student context, student leadership development at UKZN has been found to be vitally important in the holistic development of a student. Hence, there must be some inclination in leadership development for a student registered at UKZN. One of the most salient findings of the research is the need to develop students into leaders by using different tools and resources.
The respondents showed a clear and deliberate understanding of student leadership where students must lead by example and by virtue of their morality and character. Students leadership was viewed as very important by the respondents involved in the study and some of the key reasons as to why it is important for students, included developing them as key contributors in society and to the economy of South Africa. Furthermore, student leadership prepares a student for the working world and for his/her future as well as growing themselves into leaders of industry. Therefore, developing student’s leadership skills is extremely important in tertiary education.
The role of training students as leaders warrants the need of student development activities such as workshops, seminars and classes just to name a few, so as to foster a culture or an environment of developing leaders in tertiary education. Leadership activities will aid the student by helping them with their self-image, confidence, the ability to communicate, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills and empowering them for conflict resolution. The most important activities for developing leadership skills included mentoring, class representatives and coaching whilst the characteristics most needed that can relate to student leadership are those of being responsible, emotionally intelligent, and trustworthy. The results show that leadership qualities that affect one’s behaviour included self-esteem, confidence, communication and morality.
Majority of the respondents are not taking a formal course or module in leadership neither are the majority of them part of any activity to develop their leadership skills. However, respondents agreed that these leadership activities and courses would definitely help in developing the students into better leaders. It was found that some of the challenges that respondents faced when taking on leadership roles as students included:
o Communication and language barriers o Conflict resolution
o Student issues such as being undermined, personality conflicts, volumes of students to address and time permitted to speak to groups of students
In order to overcome some of these challenges the respondents agreed, that they need to change their leadership style, improve their communication, and attend more leadership training courses. The crucial finding of the research is that UKZN needs to offer more courses, modules, and even seminars on leadership that can be offered to students. There is a gap that needs to be bridged and it must be done to produce graduates with leadership skill and ability, as students and employees’ desire this development.
The chapter that follows is Chapter 7. This chapter provides for the discussion of the research findings.
110 CHAPTER 7
DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH FINDINGS
The purpose of this chapter is to interpret and discuss the significant findings found from this research in relation to both the research questions and existing literature. Furthermore, this chapter examines the perceptions of the study’s respondents on their views to the importance of student leadership.
This investigation was explicitly carried out to explore the importance of leadership development for students and to contribute to the growth of literature in this discipline of study. Together with the existing literature and the contributions made by this study, found in this discussion chapter, a deeper understanding of the need for student leadership development is achieved.
No discussion to part one (demographics of respondents) of the questionnaire has been made, as there is no association with the primary variables of the study. The discussion of this investigation focuses primarily on the responses, from the respondents to questions in part two (Section B) of the questionnaire. This discussion on the findings is addressed according to the specific aims of this study.
The main objective of the study was to understand student leadership development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with the specific aims of the research being:
o To understand the importance of leadership development for students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal
o To determine the need for leadership development activities for students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal
o To identify interventions that foster leadership development for students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal
o To identify the challenges that the University of KwaZulu-Natal students face when adopting a leadership role during their studies