Higher education mergers in South Africa : a means towards an end

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    The purpose of the study is to investigate the extent to which the 2004 higher education mergers contributed to the post-1994 democratic government’s broader transformation policy agenda of South African society in general. Accordingly, the mergers are then viewed as a mere quantitative reduction of apartheid-engineered higher education institutions from 36 to 21. Rather, a transcendent qualitative perspective is adopted, according to which “mergers” are conceptually nuanced as introducing a different academic nomenclature to advance access, redress, and equity; with the curriculum occupying a pivotal role. The study therefore, posits the higher education institutional mergers as a transition (means) towards the advancement of transformation (end), with access, redress, and equity as foremost policy variables. The qualitative-descriptive model by Blumberg et al., (2005) provided the methodological approach according to which The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) was viewed as a relevant research setting and case study. Since the conceptual novelty of the higher education mergers did not have the benefit of theoretically supported antecedence in SA, the case study approach facilitated the systematisation of a range of complexities induced by the erstwhile configuration based on race, geographic location, funding, missions, and institutional typology. It is anticipated that the expected outcome of the study is the development of a policy framework to advance transformation beyond higher education.