n South African Journal of Higher Education - University education and critical pedagogy : review essay

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Worldwide higher education seems to be biased towards the achievement of techno-rationalist aims of education such as to produce students capable of serving the economic interests of societies. Such a view of education is limited in the sense that primarily attending to economic interests would ignore the concomitant political and social concerns to which higher education ought to be attentive as well. Monica McLean's book entitled (London and New York: Continuum, 187 pp.) is a much needed theoretical and pragmatic contribution which poignantly illustrates how critical pedagogy can potentially contribute towards undermining the techno-rational pursuit of university education with its over-emphasis on economic purposes. In this essay I shall firstly explore some of the conceptual spaces McLean's book offers to subvert an unchallenged techno-rational pursuit of higher education. Secondly, I shall briefly highlight some of the obstacles higher education needs to overcome to cultivate a critical pedagogy. I conclude my review essay with a discussion of the role of democratic justice in building on and sustaining McLean's 'critical pedagogy'.

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