Economic Rationality or Social Justice? Gender, the National Qualifications Framework and Educational Reform in South Africa, 1989-1996

Citation:

Unterhalter, Elaine. 1998. "Economic Rationality or Social Justice? Gender, the National Qualifications Framework and Educational Reform in South Africa, 1989-1996." Cambridge Journal of Education 28 (3): 351-68.

Author: Elaine Unterhalter

Abstract:

This article examines the ways in which gender redress has been conceptualised in different phases of the policy development work on the National Qualifications Framework, a key initiative of education reform in South Africa. It identifies two discursive framings for the NQF--the discourse of economic rationalisation, utilised by business and COSATU, and that of social justice, utilised by the ANC and COSATU. It concludes that neither, for different reasons, have grappled with gendered social relations or the gendered, but dispersed, power of the state. The paper points out that the existence of a widespread women's organisation in South Africa during the transition period had little impact on policy formulation in education and training, thus raising questions about ways in which women's demands can have an impact on education policy change.

Topics: Development, Economies, Education, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 1998

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