The South African Universities Post – Merger Mess: Problems and Challenges of Transformation

Anis Mahomed Karodia, Ahmed Shaikh, Dhiru Soni (D.Phil)


The paper attempts to address the rather complex and many issues raised in the title of the paper. This is important on the basis that an evaluation of these fundamental issues after twenty years of South African democracy is important to the people of South Africa. In attempting to do this, the paper does not pretend to capture the salient and subtle nuances that straddle the issues raised in the title of the paper because higher education in South Africa, is in a state of flux and has not really delivered to the needs and real development of the country post democracy in 1994. In this regard issues concerning transformation, Africanization of the curriculum for higher education, enlightened leadership, and do neoliberal policies destroy human potential for the emergence of education in a democratic South are discussed, in order to deal with the post – merger mess. The issues raised in this paper must therefore be given serious attention by policy makers within higher education and more importantly by government, in order to realize the goals of higher education through a sustained and inclusive transformation strategy. The starting point is to project on the post 1994 merger mess of universities in South Africa, using the example of the newly constructed and amalgamated university of KwaZulu - Natal. This example can be extrapolated to project on the merger mess throughout all universities in the country that were affected by an ill – conceived plan by the democratic government post 1994. A host of issues pertinent to this paper in terms of transformation of higher education will be elaborated upon. The importance of all of these issues cannot be underestimated in respect to higher education discourse in South Africa. The abstract therefore, does not discuss the areas captured within the ambit of the title of the paper because, these issues will be raised within the body of the paper, amidst a host of issues including transformation, the Africanization of the South African education curriculum, the necessity of engineering the concept of enlightened leadership, and asks the question, do neoliberal policies in South Africa destroy human potential for the emergence of higher education in the Republic of South Africa. The writers are woefully aware that they raise very sensitive issues and that they will court criticism from education quarters in South Africa but seek solace in the embracing reality that, open debate and criticism is necessary from the perspective of academic freedom and, more importantly to enhance the education discourse.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n3s1p326

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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