Decolonisation of education in South Africa: Challenges to decolonise the university curriculum
Leadership matters in the engagement and achievement of students. There is a growing demand for research in the African context as much of the research in this area has emanated from the context of western influences. Through the use of narratives, this qualitative study examines the challenges of five university heads of departments in South African universities to gain deeper insights into the leadership challenges, practices and theorising within a post-colonial context such as that which exists in South Africa. Utilising a decolonised education and a social justice leadership discourse framework, the tensions, challenges and complexities inherent in the heads of department’s leadership practices are explored. Educational leaders in developing countries face problems that are different from their Western counterparts and as such, leadership practices and theorising must be contextualised. Findings support a decolonised approach to education, tensions exist in practice regarding the manifestation of social issues in universities, and the need for leadership development that is grounded in South African knowledge and experiences.
Abdi, A. A. 2012. Decolonising philosophies of education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Aloni, N. 2007. Enhancing humanities: The philosophical foundations of humanistic education. Dordrect, the Netherlands: Springer.
Badat, S. 2010. The challenges of transformation in higher education and training institutions in South Africa. Paper commissioned by the Development Bank of Southern Africa. April 2010.
Battiste, M. 2013. “Decolonizing education: Nourishing the learning spirit.” Journal of Education Research 60(3): 615‒618.
Biesta, G. J. J. 2016. Beyond learning: Democratic education for a human future. New York, NY: Routledge.
Block, D., and V. Corona. 2014. “Exploring class-based intersectionality.” Language, Culture and Curriculum 27(1): 27‒42.
Creswell, J. W. 2013. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. 3rd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Dastile, N. 2013a. “Beyond Euro-Western dominance: An African-centred decolonial paradigm.” Africanus 93.
Dastile, N. P. 2013b. “Power, knowledge and being: Decolonial combative discourse as a survival kit for Pan-Africanists in the 21st century.” Alternation 20(1): 105‒134.
Dei, G. 2000. “Rethinking the role of indigenous knowledge in the academy.” International Journal of Inclusive Education 4(2): 111–132.
Dimmock, C., and A. Walker. 2000. “Cross-cultural values and leadership.” Management in Education 14(3): 20‒27.
Drinkwater, M. 2014. “Decolonizing Education: A rule for the arts and cultural proxies: Lessons from primary schools in Maasailand, Southern Kenya.” Unpublished thesis.
Ferris, L. 2017. “Preparing SA for free, quality decolonial education.” News24 July 24, 2017.
Higgs, P. 2011. African philosophy and the decolonisation of education in Africa: Some critical reflections. Education Philosophy and Theory 1.
Hoppers, C. A. 2001. “Indigenous knowledge systems and academic institutions in South Africa.” Perspectives in Education 19(1): March 2001.
Joseph, T. R. 2009. Decolonising the curriculum transforming the University: A discourse perspective. London: Sage.
Ladson-Billings, G., and W. F. Tate. 1995. “Towards a critical race theory of education.” Teachers College Record 97(Fall).
Lasky, S. 2005. “A sociocultural approach to understanding teacher identity, agency and professional vulnerability in a context of secondary school reform.” Teaching and Teacher Education 21(8): 899‒916.
Lave, J., and E. Wenzer. 1991. Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: University Press.
Le Grange, L. 2016. “Decolonising the university curriculum: Leading article.” South African Journal of Higher Education 30(2): 1‒12.
Lopez, M. 2016. Decolonizing primary English language teaching. New York: University Press.
Lopez, A. E., and P. Rugano. 2018. “Educational leadership in post-colonial contexts: What can we learn from the experiences of three female principals in Kenyan Secondary Schools.” Education Sciences 8(3): 99.
Luckett, K. 2016. “Curriculum contestation in a post-colonial context: A view from the South.” Teaching in Higher Education 21(4): 415‒428.
Mahabeer, P. 2018. “Curriculum decision-makers on decolonising the teacher education curriculum.” South African Journal of Education 38(4).
Malterad, K. 2001. “Qualitative research: Standards, challenges and guidelines.” The Lancet 358(9280): 483‒488.
Mbembe, A. J. 2016. “Decolonising the university: New directions.” Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 15(1): 15‒29.
McMahon, B., and J. Portelli. 2012. Student engagement in urban schools: Beyond neoliberal discussions. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.
Naude, P. 2017. “Decolonising knowledge: In what sense is an African ethic possible.” Inaugural lecture, Stellenbosch University.
Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. 2013. “Why decoloniality in the 21st century?” Thinker 48(2013): 10‒15.
Neuman, N. L. 1997. Social research methods. Qualitative and quantitative approach. Boston: Allan and Bacon.
Oelofsen, R. 2015. “Decolonisation of the African mind and intellectual landscape.” Promina 16(2): 130‒146.
Phillips, J., and S. Whatman. 2007. “Decolonising preservice teacher education: Reform at many cultural interfaces.” Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association meeting. Chicago, USA.
Pinar, W. F. 2012. What is curriculum theory? 2nd Edition. New York, NY: Routledge.
Soudien, C. 2008. Transformation in higher education: A briefing paper. Development Bank of South Africa.
Stake, J. 2003. The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Waghid, Y. 2004. “Revisiting the African-Africana philosophy of education debate: Implications for university teaching.” Journal of Education 34(1): 127‒142.
Waghid, Z. 2014. “Education for social justice through sustainable development, economic development and equity.” South African Journal of Higher Education 28(4): 1448‒1463.
Waghid, Z., and L. Hibbert. 2018. “Decolonising preservice teachers’ colonialist thoughts in higher education through defamiliarisation as a pedagogy.” Education Research for Social Change. Special Issue 7: 60‒77.
Wa Thiong, N. 1998. “Decolonising the mind.” Diogenes 184 46(4) Winter: 101‒104.
Zeleza, P. T. 2009. “African studies and universities since independence: The challenges of epistemic and institutional decolonization.” Transition 101: 110‒135.
This journal is an open access journal, and the authorsÂ and journal should be properly acknowledged, when works are cited.
Authors, copyright holders, may use the publishers version for teaching purposes, in books, theses, dissertations, conferences and conference papers.Â
A copy of the authors' publishers version may also be hosted on the following websites:
- Non-commercial personal homepage or blog.
- Institutional webpage.
- Authors Institutional Repository.
The following notice should accompany such a posting on the website: This is an electronic version of an article published in SAJHE, Volume XXX, number XXX, pages XXX “XXX", DOI. Authors should also supply a hyperlink to the original paper or indicate where the original paper (http://www.journals.ac.za/index.php/SAJHE) may be found.
Authors publishers version, affiliated with the Stellenbosch University will be automatically deposited in the University Institutional Repository SUNScholar.
Articles as a whole, may not be re-published with another journal.
The following license applies:
Attribution CC BY-NC-ND 4.0