(Mis)framing higher education in South Africa

14 Dec 2012

The question of how to make higher education more inclusive has been a central concern in South Africa and elsewhere over the past two decades. However, in South Africa there remains a disjuncture between policy aimed at promoting inclusivity and the experiences of students and staff in the higher education sector. In this article, the relationship between equity of access and equity of outcomes and the expectations that follow from these policy imperatives are examined from the perspective of Nancy Fraser’s normative framework of social justice. In particular, her notion of misframing is used to analyze the current situation in the higher education sector in South Africa. The article concludes that a focus on individual higher education institutions is not sufficient to gain a perspective on the social arrangements required for participatory parity in higher education, and in fact, such a focus is an instance of misframing and thus a form of injustice.