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Guest lecture: Higher Education Policy and Democracy in South Africa

Thandi Lewin Lecture

Guest Lecture by Dr Thandi Lewin, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
"Higher education policy and the academic profession: 30 years of democracy in South Africa."
Event co-hosted by the Doctoral Education and Academia Research Centre (DEAR) and the Warwick Africa Hub.
Lecture to be chaired by Dr Emily Henderson.
Thursday 25 January 2024, 12:00 - 13.00. Social Sciences - S1.50, or on Teams.
Registration is required in order to attend. Please use the form below to register

About the Talk

South Africa will celebrate 30 years of democracy in 2024. Higher education policy and legislation have steered the development of a post-apartheid public higher education system with approximately 53,000 academic staff and 1.1 million students in 26 public universities. Despite rapid growth and demographic change in the student population, changes in the staffing of the academic profession have been complex and slow. Policy interventions have focused on transformation in staff demographics; equity and inclusion; responsiveness in teaching and research; and social justice. At the same time as the South African system has had to redress the profound inequities of historical education policy, it has also been exposed to and affected by global changes to higher education, particularly the growing effect of neoliberalism on universities and academic work. South African universities have also faced significant political turbulence linked to both local and global movements concerned with the relevance and purpose of university education.

This presentation will provide an overview of key statistics and trends in the academic workforce in post-apartheid South Africa; offer an analysis of the successes and failures of policy in relation to academic staffing in universities; and reflect on a small but growing literature focused on academic staffing. South Africa continues to grapple with the policy challenges of developing meaningful academic career pathways and a strong academy, which may hold policy lessons for higher education systems in other parts of the world.

About the Speaker

Dr Thandi LewinLink opens in a new window is an Associate Professor in the Ali Mazrui Centre for Higher Education Studies and the Department of Education Management and Leadership in the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg. Prior to joining UJ, she worked in the South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as the Chief Director for Institutional Governance and Management Support in the University Education branch. Her responsibilities included student funding policy, university governance oversight, and student development and support matters. She worked in a number of roles within the national government departments for education. She has extensive experience in higher education policy, education and social justice, education monitoring and evaluation, and education management and governance. Her research interests are higher education policy, gender in higher education, academic careers, leadership, management and governance in higher education, funding of higher education and the history of higher education policy.

The Warwick Africa Hub: Africa Hub Lecture Series

Our Africa Hub Lecture series is designed to showcase world-leading African scholarship and to celebrate Warwick’s engagement with our partners.

We connect Warwick with African universities through our Africa Partnerships Strategy. Led by Academic Directors for Africa, Professor Franklyn Lisk and Professor Daniel Branch, the strategy addresses global challenges and supports the development of the region’s research and education leaders.


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