n South African Journal of Higher Education - The idea of a South African university and implications for knowledge production

Special Edition 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article looks at knowledge production in South African higher education (HE) from the point of view of how a given HE institution sees itself within the broader context of `the idea of a university'. Within the context of the transformation agenda of HE in South Africa, three institutional types have emerged: the `unqualified' university; the comprehensive university; and the university of technology. However, at this point, it appears as if each of these institutional types seeks to do what every other one is trying to do. It is against the apparent absence of clarity in the philosophical underpinnings of these institutional types that this article reflects on what could conceptually be the academic and professional focus of each - and whether or not this is, in fact, possible. In this regard, it is hoped and envisaged that this article will contribute towards clarifying the singular and collective contributions, in knowledge production, of the HE institutions in the country. Accordingly, the article posits that each institutional type should determine the kind of knowledge production that society can expect from it.

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