Ideology and the good society in South Africa: The education policies of the Democratic Alliance04 Sep 2018
Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has been transforming in the economic, political and social spheres. This largely peaceful democratic transition sought to dismantle the apartheid system of institutionalised racial segregation and extend the status of a common citizenship and equal enjoyment of rights to all South Africans, regardless of race, gender or religion. Despite the establishment of democratic institutions and the inclusion of social and economic rights for all citizens in a complex map of policy frameworks, South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world. The education system, characterised by a crisis in quality, persistent inequality of access and fragmentation in achievement levels, further reflects this trend (Badat & Sayed 2014; Van Rooyen & le Grange 2003; Deegan 1999). In the post-apartheid period, public debate has arisen around the socioeconomic rights of citizens in the allocation of resources and access to basic services such as education. Crucial to the democratic transition in South Africa have been the political parties ? articulating and aggregating the interests of the populace as well as developing and promoting policies for change (Matlosa 2007). Notwithstanding this, there has been very little engagement with political parties and their positions on social policy. This article seeks to address this gap by providing a detailed analysis of the education policy of the opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. To this end, it scrutinises the ideological underpinnings of their education policy framework and the policy ideas and strategies proposed. The article begins by contextualising the research in relation to the literature related to education policy and political parties. A description of the educational context in South Africa and of the Democratic Alliance (DA) follows. The emergent education priorities and approaches of the DA, with reference to citizenship and in effecting redress and equity in relation to the role of the state, are then discussed. The article concludes by reflecting on the significance of its findings for education research and policy.