n South African Journal of Higher Education - Durban Institute of Technology's (DIT) response to the challenges of multiculturalism and diversity : perspectives on higher education

Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



The notion of diversity as is currently applied in South Africa is clearly one that includes race, culture, language, gender, class, and the physically challenged. However, these issues need to be given far more importance than is currently the case. This article argues that unless enhanced opportunities for access to the higher education workplace are complemented by openness to embrace multiple forms of knowledge and representation, any institutional success will not be sustained over a period of time. Given a multicultural context there are pragmatic reasons for valuing diversity. Drawing on the work of thinkers like Nakata (2000), Lo Bianco (2000) and Cazden (2000), I argue that as educators we can construct a moral rather than just a pragmatic argument for valuing diversity; an argument which is underpinned by the paradigm that people's identities are constructed through dialogue and thus a failure to respect and recognise diversity in our students can be a form of oppression (Cope & Kalantzis 2000).

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