n Education as Change - Karl Popper's views on an open society and their implications for the democratic transformation of South African education

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Key questions in this study are (a) whether the philosopher Karl Popper's views of an 'open society' can still, after sixty years, have an impact on school education and (b) whether school education in South Africa can play a meaningful role in establishing a democratic and 'open society' culture. The specific aims of this article are (a) to identify and understand some essential features of Critical Rationalism and an 'open society'; (b) to investigate whether these characteristics are reconcilable with democracy; (c) to identify some implications of these features for school education and (d) to link all of this to the democratic transformation of education in South Africa. Typical Critical Rationalism and 'open society' features include the notion of falsifiability and falsification, freedom of thought and the free exchange of ideas and rationality. This article explores the relationship between these features and democracy and concludes that it is compatible with and supportive of democracy. The Popper school clearly demonstrates that it is possible to apply Popperian principles to school education, but it is our contention that these are also applicable in developing countries. The focus of this research is on democratic education and therefore Popper's views on an 'open society' are linked to the democratic transformation of education in South Africa. The enemies of an 'open society' should be identified, even at school level, and if we are serious about the democratic transformation of education in South Africa the school should play an important role in establishing a more 'open society'.


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