(Re)thinking (trans)formation in South African (higher) education

  • L Le Grange


In this article I outline two broad sets of changes characterising the South African higher education landscape. The first relates to, among other things, structural changes (such as mergers and incorporations), the reorganisation of teaching programmes (influenced by the mode 2 knowledge), and the introduction of performativity regimes, most notably a quality assurance body for higher education, the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC). These changes might be understood as outcomes of forces associated with the ascendancy of neoliberal politics and forces linked to a rapidly changing and globally interconnected world. The second relates to the need to transform higher education in South Africa so as to overcome legacies of apartheid as captured in policies that have been developed to redress past inequalities, including discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation and so on. It is in this area in particular that challenges remain, as reflected in the Soudien Report. I suggest in this article that both sets of changes relate to a broader crisis – a crisis of humanism. Moreover, education might be implicated in this crisis. And so I suggest that we might need to (re)think (trans)formation in (higher) education by replacing the term ‘education’ with the term pedagogy, where pedagogy is understood as a transformative event concerned with the person becoming present in context (Todd 2010).

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0258-2236