n South African Journal of Higher Education - Can universities meet their mandate to be socially critical as well as constructive? : Part 1 : exploration of the critical relationship between higher education and the development of democracy in South Africa

Volume 28, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article defends the claim that two conditions facilitate sustainable development, namely, a democratic citizenry, and social justice, and that in establishing these, the university is indispensable and ideally placed. With the use of an experiential, interpretive approach the article examines the social critique function of the university, as well as the role of the university in reinforcing a culture of democratic citizenry and thereby of promoting social justice. The last part of the article delineates the current global higher education revolution, and identifies the opportunities and threats posed by that revolution regarding the university's discharge of these two functions. The article concludes with a warning to scholars to be aware of both the opportunities for consolidating their scholarship and the concomitant threats to their academic autonomy.

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