Education in Retrospect
Policy & Implementation since 1990
Kraak, A & Young, M
210mm X 145mm
In print
To download the electronic version of this book, click here.

Education in Retrospect presents a view of the general relationship between theory, policy and its implementation that applies to curriculum reform. However, the specific focus of this book is on:
  • the role of qualifications (and in particular the role of the South African Qualifications Authority and the National Qualifications Framework);
  • work-based learning (in particular the new learnership programme and the Department of Labour’s National Skills strategy); and
  • the broader issue of unifying the systems of further and higher education.

Firstly, the book aims to be a contribution to the current range of policy reviews. Secondly, as was widely agreed by all contributors to the Round Table, there are many aspects of educational provision that are, at a fundamental level, not working and are proving remarkably resistant to reform and these are analysed in some detail in the book.

The broad aim of Education in Retrospect is to present and extend the dialogue which was initiated between education policy makers and researchers at the HSRC-sponsored Round Table that took place in Pretoria in September 2000 and resulted in much debate and knowledge exchange. This book is a product of the collective wisdom of all those who participated and brings together revised versions of the key presentations at the Round Table as well as two additional papers. It further draws on the discussions that took place in response to the papers.

The book is a dialogue in two senses. First, it is an ongoing critical reflection on education policy design and implementation throughout the last decade. Second, the book not only includes a number of critiques by researchers of policy and its implementation; it also includes several contributions that offer insider views of policy that to some degree reflect on the theories that underpin the critiques.

The focus of the book is on education policy in South Africa and the unique set of circumstances faced by both government and researchers. The Round Table and Education in Retrospect may be viewed as two small contributions to the education policy process in South Africa.

Table of contents:
  1. Introduction Michael Young and Andre Kraak
  2. Educational Reform in South Africa (1990-2000): An International Perspective Michael Young
  3. Rethinking Education Policy Making in South Africa: Symbols of Change, Signals of Conflict Joathan D. Jansen
  4. Progressivism Redux: Ethos, Policy, Pathos Johan Muller
  5. Human Resource Development Strategies: Some Conceptual Issues and their Implications Michael Young
  6. Policy Ambiguity and Slippage: Higher Education under the New State, 1994-2001 Andre Kraak
  7. Reflections from the Inside: Key Policy Assumptions and How They have Shaped Policy Making and Implementation in South Africa, 1994-2000 Ihron Rensburg
  8. Macro-Strategies and Micro-Realities: Evolving Policy in Further Education and Training Anthony Gewer
  9. The Implementation of the National Qualifications Framework and the Transformation of Education and Training in South Africa: A Critique Michael Cosser
  10. Developing Skill and Employment in South Africa: Policy Formulation for Labour Market Adjustment Ian Macun
  11. Bibliography


Education in Retrospect is edited by Andre Kraak, Executive Director of the Human Resources Development Strategy research programme at the Human Sciences Research Council, and Michael Young, Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London and a member of the Panel set up to review the National Qualifications Framework.

Contributers include:
Michael Cosser, Chief Research Specialist in the Human Resources Development component of the Human Sciences Research Council and previously Head of the Division of Standards Setting at the South African Qualifications Authority;
Anthony Gewer, Divisional Manager for Evaluation and Research at the Joint Education Trust, whose research work involves organisational transformation, FET policy implementation and curriculum design;
Jonathan D. Jansen, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria, whose current research concerns the study of mergers in higher education, comparative studies of policy transitions in Southern African education (Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa), and policy implementation in South African schools;
Ian Macun, Director of the Skills Development Planning Unit in the Department of Labour;
Johan Muller, Professor of Education and Head of the Department of Education at the University of Cape Town;
Dr Ihron L. Rensburg, a key figure in the development and transformation of the South African education system; a cofounder and leader of the anti-apartheid National Education Crisis Committee, an arm of the United Democratic Front and currently a senior manager in the Department of Education since 1995 where he has been instrumental in developing, implementing and evaluating critical post-apartheid education policies and programmes.

“The democratic movement in South Africa bravely and idealistically planned for post-apartheid transformation. Fundamental reconstruction of the education system in line with the democratic instincts of the anti-apartheid movement was a key part of that transformational planning. The essays collected in this book give some insight into the breadth and depth of thinking and debate that were involved. More importantly, it is a timely assessment of how the constraining realities of post-apartheid South Africa are being dealt with. This is both a dispassionate and a moving review of the dreams of a nation.”
—Jakes Gerwel, Nelson Mandela Professor of Humanities, Universities of Cape Town and Western Cape and Chair of the HSRC Council