Developing curricula for english for Occupational Purposes: A case study at a South African University of Technology

  • E. Rautenbach Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria
  • C.C. Mann Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria
  • L. van Ryneveld University of Pretoria, Pretoria


The demand for English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) is growing proportionally to the universal demand for employees, who can function in the lingua franca, English, in their fields of specialisation. Therefore, the training of students at universities of technology, which aim to produce graduates who can perform successfully upon entry into the occupational world, should include the teaching and learning of EOP.  This study set out to determine how best to develop EOP curricula, using wants and needs analyses, including all stakeholders at a university of technology, and adopting a case study approach. There was particular focus on: the students, since EOP is learner-centred; the authenticity of learning materials per field of specialisation; and, collaboration between language services-rendering and language services-requesting departments. The main conclusions drawn were that English proficiency plays a central role in the success of learning EOP, and direct feedback from industry on student wants and needs emerged as essential in curriculum planning.  


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

E. Rautenbach, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria

Department of Applied Languages


C.C. Mann, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria

Department of Applied Languages

Research Professor

L. van Ryneveld, University of Pretoria, Pretoria

Faculty of Veterinary Science


Associate Professor


Ahmadi, A., and M.R. Bajelnai. 2012. Barriers to English for Specific Purposes learning among Iranian university students. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 47: 792-796. (accessed 27 August 2012)

Anthony, L. 1997. English for specific purposes: what does it mean? Why is it different? (accessed 10 February 2012).

Belcher, D. 2004. Trends in teaching English for Specific Purposes. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24: 165-186.

Benesch, S. 1996. Needs Analysis and Curriculum Development in EAP: an example of a Critical Approach. TESOL Quarterly, 30, 4: 723-738. (accessed 5 March 2012).

British Council. 2012. English for specific purposes: introduction. (accessed 20 February 2012).

Brunton, M. 2009. An account of ESP – with possible future directions. English for Specific Purposes, 8(3): 1-15. (20 February 2012).

Carver, D. 1983. Some propositions about ESP. The ESP Journal, 2: 131-137. (10 January 2012).

Creswell, J.W. 1994. Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. 2nd ed. (accessed 4 October 2013).

Díaz, C.A. 2011. EOP vocabulary to improve communication between Tourism professionals and international tourists visiting Nayarit. Memorias de las jornadas de lenguas en contacto, May: 1-8. (accessed 25 November 2014).

Dovey, T. 2006. What purposes specifically? Rethinking purposes and specifically in the context of the ‘new vocationalism’. English for Specific Purposes, 25: 387-402. (accessed 25 November 2014)

Dudley-Evans, T., and M. St John. 1998. Developments in ESP: a multi-disciplinary approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Edwards, N. 2000. Language for business: effective needs assessment, syllabus design and materials preparation in a practical ESP case study. English for Specific Purposes, 19, 3, Sept: 291-296. http// (accessed 5 March 2012).

Esimaje, A.U. 2012. A corpus-based lexical study of sermons in Nigeria. English Language Teaching, 5(9): 24-32. (accessed 28 August 2012).

Esteban, A.A., and M.C. Vallejos Martos. 2002. A case study of collaboration among the ESP practitioner, the content teacher, and the students. Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses,15(7): 7-21. (accessed 8 December 2011).

Fatihi, A.R. 2003. The role of Needs Analysis in ESL program design. South Asian Language Review, XIII, 1&2, January-June: 39-59. (accessed 25 November 2014).

Gatehouse, K. 2001. Key issues in English for Specific Purposes (ESP) curriculum development. The Internet TESL Journal, vii (10). (accessed 8 December 2011).

Hutchinson, T., and A. Waters. 1987. English for Special Purposes: a learning-centred approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kennedy, C. 2012. ESP projects, English as a global language, and the challenge of change. Ibérica, 24: 43-54. (accessed 16 October 2012).

Kim, D. 2008. English for Occupational Purposes. London: Continuum.

Le Ha, P. 2005. Munby’s ‘needs analysis’ model and ESP. Asian EFL Journal, 6: 1-8. (accessed 5 March 2012).

Naya, S., L.A. Shafie, L., and S. Nayan. 2012. A preliminary study on team effectiveness among undergraduates. 2012 International conference on humanity, history and society IPEDR, vol. 34. Singapore: IACSIT Press.

Ngoepe, L.J. 2012. To what extent do science ESP materials fit the purpose for which they have been devised? An evaluation in terms of Cronje’s (1993) criteria. Journal for Language Teaching, 46(1): 60-73.

Nunan, D. 1987. The teacher as curriculum developer: an investigation of curriculum processes within the adult migration education program. South Australia: National Curriculum Resource Centre.

Pérez-Llantada, C. 2004. An interview with John M. Swales: an overview of genre analytical studies in English for Academic Purposes. IBÉRICA 8: 139-148. (accessed 23 March 2012).

Popescu, A-V. 2012. Teaching ESP 1st year students of electronics and telecommunications. Procedia – Social and Behaviourial Sciences, 46: 4181-4185. (accessed 10 September 2012).

Prince, R., and N. Yeld. 2012. A bridge too far for school leavers. Mail & Guardian, Oct. 12. (accessed 13 November 2012).

Rajaee Nia, M., E. Abbaspour, E., and J. Zare. 2012. A critical review of recent trends in second language syllabus design and curriculum development. International Journal of Research Studies in Language Learning : 1-20. (accessed 21 August 2012).

Salmani-Nodoushan, M.A. 2002. Text familiarity, reading tasks, and ESP test performance: a study on Iranian LEP and non-LEP university students. Language in India 6(1), Jan: 1-236. (4 December 2014).

Sifakis, N.C. 2003. Applying the adult education framework to ESP curriculum development: an integrative model. English for Specific Purposes, 22: 195-211. (accessed 5 March 2012).

Songhori, M.H. 2008. Instruction to Needs Analysis. English for Specific Purposes, 4: 2-25. (accessed 6 March 2012).

Smythe, M-J. and L.A. Nikolai. 2001. A thematic analysis of oral communication concerns with impications for curriculum design. Journal of Accounting Education, 20: 163-181. (accessed 20 February 2012).

Sujana, I.M. 2012. Integrating a mind mapping technique and information gap activities in teaching academic reading in English. English for Specific Purposes World, 36(12): 1-19. (accessed 8 October 2012).

Swales, J.M. 1990. Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge:

University Press.

Trochim, W.M.K. 2001. The research methods knowledge base. 2nd ed. Cincinnati: Atomic Dog.

West, R. 1994. Needs analysis in language teaching. Language Teaching, 27:1-19.

How to Cite
Rautenbach, E., C.C. Mann, and L. van Ryneveld. 2018. “Developing Curricula for English for Occupational Purposes: A Case Study at a South African University of Technology”. South African Journal of Higher Education 32 (2), 237-57.
General Articles