South African Journal of Higher Education

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Academic administration as the puppet masters (Sicelankobe). The consequences)

A Amory


This article investigates the notions of race, gender and learning technology as a consequence of the commodification of educational administrative systems (part of new managerialism – neo-liberalism), in order to foster debate. It also asks if new
managerialism is an appropriate model within an African arena. New managerialism
can be defined as the re-masculinisation of management using business and private
sector practices (devolution, staff appraisal, employee performance measurement,
self- and peer-regulation, quality and bureaucratic control and creation of internal
markets) at public-funded institutions to provide services to students (clients). It is
argued that neo-liberal attitudes perpetuate ‘whiteness' that is neither overt nor
accidental and that past race inequalities are still very much part of the educational
system. Also, neo-liberalisation of an educational system is about neo-conservative,
positivist, hegemonic, white masculinities and gendered power relations that perpetuate into the future a romanticised pastoral fundamentalist past. In addition the design, development, integration and use of technology in the classroom is driven by individual and institutional ideologies that support current hegemonic constructions maintained through observation and control systems to prepare a future labour force. The exploitation of race, gender and technology is a direct consequence of the commodification of educational administrative systems and there is a need to explore other avenues, such as communities of practice, to renew democracy in education.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 22 (3) 2008: pp. 498-514
AJOL African Journals Online