n South African Journal of Higher Education - The effects of higher education mergers on the resultant curricula of the combined institutions : perspectives on higher education

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Since the dawn of democracy in South Africa (from 1994), the education sector has been haunted by the spirit of change and transformation from the apartheidinfluenced education system to the one that will represent the demographic makeup of this country. As a result of this line of thinking, there has been a policy for all sectors of education ± from early childhood development to higher education. Discussion documents have been followed by Green Papers, White Papers and Acts. The higher education sector has been no exception in the situation whereby a flurry of policies have been made, amended and re-amended in order to change the landscape. The latest landmark has been the `merging' of higher educational institutions and reducing their number from 36 to 21. This state of affairs has raised many concerns, questions, arguments and debates from the institutions involved, their staff (both academic and non-academic), the entire academic regime, politicians and society in general. When institutions merge, numerous aspects such as the curriculum, efficiency, equity, staffing, students, organisational integration and physical integration effects can be either negatively or positively affected.1 This article will focus only on what happens to the curricula of the merged institutions? And what are the effects (either positive or negative) of these mergers on the resultant curricula of the combined institutions?2 There are various scenarios whereby the curriculum of one or both institutions could remain unchanged, or the curriculum could be a partial compromise of the new curriculum to reflect both institutions; and a complete integration whereby the curriculum of one of the institutions is completely discarded.

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