Integrating Technological and Educational Collaborations: Enhancing Leadership and Participation in STEM Fields


  • Lineo Toolo UNISA



STEM Leadership Advancement, Underrepresented Groups, Collaborative Efforts, Convergent Sequential Mixed Method, Afrocentric Approach


This study investigates the advancement of underrepresented groups in leadership roles within the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), areas traditionally dominated by their male counterparts. Through a convergent sequential mixed method, data was collected using 105 questionnaires and six semi-structured interviews involving students, lecturers, government officials, and university admissions administrators in the STEM disciplines. A concurrent triangulation strategy was applied for simultaneous quantitative and qualitative data analysis, utilizing MS Excel for the numerical data and thematic analysis for the narrative information. The research also examined statistical documents to assess the enrollment disparity among underrepresented groups and the presence of specific development programs in universities aimed at addressing this imbalance. Findings suggest that targeted and culturally informed collaborative efforts can effectively encourage the ascent of underrepresented demographics into STEM leadership roles in South African universities. The implications of the study are broad, given that the research spanned two distinct universities, implying that the strategies identified could inform actions across different educational institutions to foster inclusivity and equality in STEM leadership.


Accenture. 2014. “Accenture Technology Vision 2014 Identifies Six IT Trends Driving Digital Power Shift as Large Enterprises Assume Role of Digital Disrupters.” Newsroom. 2014.

Powering economic growth: Attracting more young women into science and technology. Silicon Republic.

Akinsowon, O.A. & Osisanwo, F.Y. (2014). Enhancing interest in sciences, technology and mathematics (STEM) for the Nigerian female folk. International Journal of Information Science, 4(1):8–12.

Allen, P.J., Lewis-Warner, K. & Noam, G.G. (2020). Partnerships to transform STEM learning. [Accessed 13 July 2022].

Botha, J., Kiley, J., Truman, K. & Tshilongamulenzhe, M.C. (2013). Practising training and development in South African organisations. (2nd edition). CapeTown: Juta.

Corporate Planning and Policy Directorate Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Women in Science and Engineering in Canada. [Accessed 28 November 2017].

Creswell, J.W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Creswell, J.W. & Plano-Clark, V.L. (2007). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Crosby, B.C. & Bryson, J.M. (2004). A leadership framework for cross-sector collaboration. [Accessed 13 July 2022].

Cummings, L.M. (2015). USAID from the American people, gender equality in science, technology, engineering agricultural sciences and mathematics (STEAM) academic pipeline: challenges transferring knowledge to practice. 30 September. [Accessed 30 September 2017].

Desjardins, L.M. (2019). The Present State of Things: Class Struggle in the 21st Century. University of South Florida, St. Petersburg.

Ferguson, K.E. (2017). The Annual Review of Political Science. University of Hawaii Honolulu.

Freeman, B., Marginson, S. & Tytler, R. (2015). The age of STEM: Educational policy and practice across the world in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. New York: Routledge. world-in-cience/Freeman-Marginson-Tytler/p/book/9781138696068

Gutsell, J.N. & Remedios, J.D. (2016). When men lean out: Subtle reminders of child- raising intentions and men and women's career interests. Brandeis University, USA, Tufts University. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology; 28-33. USA.

Jakes, P.J. (2013). Dual enrolment as a factor from women transitioning into STEM majors in Montana two-year colleges. University of Montana.

Kenneth, A. (2022). Gaps in STEM Education: Why is there a decline in Women Participation. International Journal on Research in STEM Education. Volume 4. No 1. 55 – 63. May 2022.

Kivunja, C. & Kuyini, A.B. (2017). Understanding and Applying Research Paradigms in Educational Contexts. University of New England. Australia. Online Published: September 5, 2017.

Kusmawan, U. (2018). Online Microteaching: a Multifaceted Approach to Teacher Professional Development. Journal of Interactive Online Learning.

Kusmawan, U. (2022). A Virtual Lab As A Vehicle For Active Learning Through Distance Education. International Journal of Research in STEM Education (IJRSE), 4(2), 18–38.

Muchie, M. (2015). STEM for African development’. DST/NRF research professor on Innovation and Development, TUT, Human Sciences Research Council Seminar. 7 May 2015.

O’Dea, A. & Corcoran, M. (2014). Powering economic growth: Attracting more young women into science and technology. Silicon Republic: Women Invent Tomorrow.

Research Council of Canada. (2010). Women in Science and Engineering in Canada. Canada. Ottawa, Ontario. November 2012.

Shin, Y. & Lee, J. (2017). Predictors of career decision self-efficacy: Sex, socioeconomic status (SES), classism, modern sexism and locus of control. Journal of Career Assessment, 1–16. doi:10.1177/1069072716658649.

Sociology 250. (1999). Marx’s Theory of Social Class and Class Structure. [Accessed 10 August 2022].

South Africa. Department of Higher Education and Training. (2015). Staffing South Africa’s universities framework: A comprehensive, transformative approach to developing future generations of academics and building staff capacity. Pretoria. Government Printer.

South Africa. Department of Women. (2015). The status of women in the South African economy. Pretoria: Government Printer.

South Africa. National Planning Committee. (2011). National Development Plan: A vision for 2030. Brand South Africa.

South Africa. The Presidency. (2011). National Development Plan 2030: Executive Summary. Pretoria: Government Printer.

Taylor, G.R. (2005). Integrating quantitative and qualitative methods in research. US: University Press of America.

Terre Blanche, M., Durrheim, K. & Painter, D. (2006). Research in practice: Applied methods for the social sciences. (2nd edition). Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press.

Toolo, L.L. (2018). An Awareness Programme to Improve the Participation of Young Women in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fields in South African Universities. Pretoria. University of South Africa.

UNESCO. (2016). Closing the gap in STEM: Drawing more girls and women into science, technology and engineering. Education Thematic Brief. August. (Asia Pacific, UNESCO).

UWESO Consulting. (2015). Techno-Girl: 2015. Alumni Milestone Report. Johannesburg. South Africa.




How to Cite

Toolo, L. (2023). Integrating Technological and Educational Collaborations: Enhancing Leadership and Participation in STEM Fields. International Journal of Research in STEM Education, 5(2), 19–33.



Research Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.