n South African Journal of Higher Education - Democracy and higher education in South Africa : a dialogue in tension

Volume 20, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article is a critical overview of the symposium on the contribution of the quality assurance process to democracy recently held at the University of Stellenbosch. It argues that recent symposia and colloquia in which South Africans themselves have attempted to stake out their intellectual credentials are extremely important and that the Stellenbosch event must be seen in this light. The article makes an assessment of the self-consciousness of the participants in relation to the major historical and social fractures that characterize South African higher education. In assessing whether this particular meeting should not also have included those who have grievances against the quality assurance process and who have, specifically, been disadvantaged by it, the article suggests that meeting did take a deeply self-conscious line. One saw in it, therefore, the incipient marks of good academic citizenship. Privileged as this group was, it never lost sight of the contradictions which surrounded it.

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