n South African Journal of Higher Education - The National Qualifications Framework and the unconstitutional limitation of academic freedom

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In the rush to generate and register standards and qualifications in terms of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and establish bodies to assure the quality of education and training programs, little attention is being paid to the concept of academic freedom. Although access to higher education institutions sporadically feature in the public discourse, the absence of any significant reflection on the impact of the NQF on academic freedom is cause for serious concern. In this contribution we explore academic freedom as guaranteed by the Constitution and argue that academic freedom is a central feature of a university in a democratic society which should be respected by all stakeholders. After ananalysis of theNQFand SAQA directives, we conclude that these initiatives limit academic freedom unconstitutionally. We conclude with some suggestions as to the principles on which the relationship between the state and the university should be founded in order to uphold academic freedom without paralysing the state's efforts to transform education for the benefit of all.

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