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From Policy to Practice: Curriculum Reform in South African Education

Michael Cross, Ratshi Mungadi and Sepi Rouhani
Comparative Education
Vol. 38, No. 2 (May, 2002), pp. 171-187
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3099783
Page Count: 17
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From Policy to Practice: Curriculum Reform in South African Education
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Abstract

An important development in the post-apartheid South Africa was a departure from apartheid education through an outcomes-based curriculum reform. This resulted in several structural and policy tensions within the system. This paper highlights how these tensions have played themselves out and shows how government and stakeholders have addressed the challenges emanating from them. The paper argues that the tensions that dominated the post-apartheid curriculum reform have resulted in a significant paradigm shift focused on reclaiming knowledge and cognition in the classroom as expressed in the new revisionism in curriculum debate. From a policy point of view, it argues that the South African experience demonstrates how the pursuit of grand philosophies and ideals such as OBE and curriculum 2005 requires, at both macro and micro, systemic and institutional levels, generally and at the level of detail, a great deal of technical and political skills that cannot be achieved overnight. This calls for realism and pragmatism in school reform by focusing attention not only on what schools in society stand for but also on what they can realistically do and achieve, given their legacies and the particular circumstances in which they operate.

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