South African higher education in the first decade of democracy: from cooperative governance to conditional autonomy

Hall, M and Symes, A 2005, 'South African higher education in the first decade of democracy: from cooperative governance to conditional autonomy' , Studies in Higher Education, 30 (2) , pp. 199-212.

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This paper tracks policies in the governance of higher education over the first decade of South Africa's democracy. The first democratically elected government of 1994 was faced with the formidable task of dismantling the structures of apartheid education. The foundations for a new policy were laid by a National Commission that reported in 1996, and advocated a philosophy of 'cooperative governance' by a wide range of stakeholders. However, the government's formal policy, articulated in a White Paper and legislation the following year, established a more directive role for the state. Successive amendments to the legislation culminated in a National Plan for Higher Education in which the state plays a strongly directive role, and seeks to recast the higher education landscape through extensive incorporations and mergers. While there is a strong case for state steering of public education in a country such as South Africa, where urgent attention to key issues of economic development and social justice is essential, the concept of cooperative governance is now a hindrance in finding the appropriate balance between the government's responsibility to the electorate and institutions' rights to academic freedom. 'Conditional autonomy', in contrast, allows both for the procedural role of the state in ensuring the effective use of public money and the substantive rights of higher education institutions to academic freedom in teaching and research.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Subjects / Themes > L Education > L Education (General)
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > No Research Centre
Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Journal or Publication Title: Studies in Higher Education
Publisher: Routledge
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0307-5079
Depositing User: AL Sherwin
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2009 11:43
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 22:12

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