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Student diversity in South African higher education

Wandisile, Mdepa; Tshiwula, Lullu

South Africa suffers from a scarcity of skills in key areas of the economy, and the higher education sector has a crucial role to play in enabling graduates to access the labour market, thus creating opportunities for households to break the poverty cycle. We argue that South Africa’s survival depends on expanding access to higher education and improving both diversity and student-throughput rates. In order to overcome the legacy of legalised exclusion of the majority population from educational and economic opportunities, the country has no choice but to address issues related to the inclusion of diversity in higher education. In this paper, we outline the historical background to South Africa’s higher education system during apartheid and highlight measures taken to transform the sector. Changes in the student population between 1993 and 2008 are examined, and factors hindering student diversity are discussed. Finally, two strategies aimed at contributing to access and diversity in higher education are shared.

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Document Title: Student diversity in South African higher education
Journal: Widening participation and lifelong learning
Volume: 13
Issue: Special Issue

Document Type:Journal Article (Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:Students
Country:South Africa
Keywords:Student Enrolment, Student Development, Student Aspirations, Diversity, Inclusion, Poverty

File Size:278 KB
Date Added:28 August 2012

Wandisile Mdepa, Tshiwula, Lullu (2012) Student diversity in South African higher education, Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning , 13, Special Issue