The higher education sector in South Africa is experiencing an existential crisis. For all of its diverse elements and activities and values as a system, its historic mission and the role that it plays in society were defined for it in the previous era - this not withstanding the progressive roles played by some of the constituent elements of the sector or the major policy processes that have attempted to shape it since 1994. However, it is an existential crisis which stems only partially from its history in our Apartheid past. Its intellectual and organisational shape stems also from its place on the edge of the global academic metropole from which it attempts to draw its academic legitimacy. That metropole itself is currently shaken by large transformatory processes heralded by the burgeoning role of knowledge and information in the production processes of modern societies. This new epoch is characterised by a tremendous distribution of knowledge generation and dissemination activities in society thus undermining the hegemony of the 'modern university' in these enterprises. In this paper, some of the pressures that have helped to shape the existential crisis are examined.
October 1, 2000
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
A Social Contract Between The Public Higher Education Sector And The People Of South Africa. Ahmed C Bawa. CSHE.3.00. (October 2000)