Ideological positioning of Extended Curriculum Programmes – a case study of a large South African research university

Keywords: Extended Curriculum Programmes, ideology, access


Extended Curriculum Programmes (ECPs) have been in existence in Africa and Southern Africa since the late 1970s. Various needs for programmes exist, but the primary motivator in the current South African context is a transformative one. While many historically white institutions have either scaled down or closed their ECPs, the University of Pretoria runs several large ECP programmes with the largest one located on the Mamelodi Campus. The location of the campus in a township offers many opportunities for transformative community engagement. This article interrogates the ideological underpinnings of the ECP programmes and other activities offered at the Mamelodi campus as these have evolved from their genesis in the University of Pretoria’s Foundation Year Programme in 2001. The article argues that a point has been reached where colour and ethnicity are no longer the only criteria for transformation, though the South African education system continues to be plagued by social inequality. Consequently, extended curriculum programmes need to serve the interests of the more disadvantaged section of the population, not the lower performing echelons of the more advantaged citizens, even though these may be black. The most recent government draft policy document provides possibilities for funding developmental interventions across the entire undergraduate education system but will require considerable sophistication in terms of pedagogy and curriculum design. The article concludes with a recommendation for a more responsive selection policy and curricula that provide a smoother transition into the programmes that students wish to access, including those with high barriers to entry.

Author Biographies

N. A. Ogude, University of Pretoria

Professor Nthabiseng Audrey Ogude is an Analytical Chemist, Science Educator and currently Professor and Dean of the Mamelodi Campus. After obtaining her BSc (Lesotho) and MSc (Nairobi) she obtained a PhD in Chemistry Education at Wits University, the first Black woman to receive a PhD in Chemistry at Wits University. Professor Ogude has held senior positions at Tshwane University of Technology (Vice chancellor), Universities of Pretoria and Mandela University (Deputy Vice Chancellor). She has 29 years’ experience in tertiary education, taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, supervised postgraduate students and published a number of papers in accredited and peer reviewed journals.  Prof Ogude is passionate about student access and success and using data-informed approaches for holistic development of students through careful alignment of curricula, co-curricular and extra-curricular goals.  Her research interests are in the areas of science / chemistry education, women in science, higher education policy, and academic management leadership.

M. Rollnick, University of Pretoria

Marissa Rollnick is professor emeritus in science education at Wits University. She holds a doctorate from Wits University and is a specialist in academic development and science education. Her professional career includes appointments as teacher, teacher educator, lecturer and professor in chemistry education. She currently also has appointments at the Universities of Pretoria and Johannesburg. Her research areas include language in science education, student access to science in higher education and pedagogical content knowledge. She has published over 70 refereed publications.  She has received several awards, most recently the distinguished contribution to research award from NARST in the USA.


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How to Cite
Ogude, N. A., and M. Rollnick. 2022. “Ideological Positioning of Extended Curriculum Programmes – a Case Study of a Large South African Research University”. South African Journal of Higher Education 36 (2), 222-38.
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