South African Journal of Higher Education

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Historical legacies hold us captive - an analysis of curriculum changes at Vista University, South Africa

GJ van der Westhuizen, MG Mahlomaholo


This case study focuses on recent changes in teacher education curricula at Vista University, a multi-campus institution in South Africa. The University's responses to changes in the policy environment, with specific reference to programme structure and delivery, are documented. The data used in the study includes specific higher education and teacher education policy documents, programme proposals and university policies. In addition, interviews were conducted with members of staff on all Vista University campuses on how curriculum changes are experienced and how issues of teaching and learning are being addressed. Specific emphasis is placed on mathematics education programmes.

Findings indicate that the pace of, and progress in curriculum change are more a function of beliefs and practices in teaching and learning, than of the space created by policy changes. Individual staff members related narratives of frustration about the technical discourse and requirements of the new teacher education policies. Data also shows the limited space allowed for a critical language of transformation.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol.15(1) 2001: 68-76
AJOL African Journals Online