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Undergraduate education in South Africa: To what extent does it support personal and public good?

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date20/08/2020
Host publicationChanging Higher Education for a Changing World
EditorsClaire Callender, William Locke, Simon Marginson
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
ISBN (Electronic)9781350108431
ISBN (Print)9781350108417
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameBloomsbury Higher Education Research


This chapter aims to describe the ways in which undergraduate education contributes to both the personal and public good in South Africa. It draws from a project which reviewed the literature in three interlinked themes: access to higher education; students' experiences whilst studying; and the economic and social contributions made by graduates. The project grappled with what the concept of public good means in a context like South Africa. A tendency was noted for conceptualizing South African higher education as a single undifferentiated system. It also noted that far more is known about higher education in historically advantaged institutions than about historically disadvantaged institutions. Overall the entwined nature of the reproductive and transformative functions of higher education mean that developing a higher education system so that it can play a deliberate role in transforming society is extremely difficult, even though it is clear that many students are personally transformed by their experiences.