The demise of student movement in higher education institutions in South Africa : a case study of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Nhlapo, Mpumelelo Michael.
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The failure of student movements in higher education institutions in South Africa to critically engage the nature and the character of the 'democratic' transition in higher education has led to the questioning of the nature of student activism, activists and the academics of the new order. The substantive nature of our democracy which has no guarantees for transformative higher education system has since led to the adoption of neo-liberal policies that have perpetually excluded a certain sector of South African society. This oppression has been legitimised by failure of student movement and academics to uproot the current regimes of policy making which continue to hold captive the minds of a mass of people in a state of false consciousness. The current circumstances of "corporatised" higher education system makes it necessary now more than ever to begin to examine the issues of relativism as it relates to the questioning of current state of these institutions and student movements. South Africa needs student activist/intellectuals who are willing to participate in the auspices of the institution and the structure, and to transform it. Their task is to operate within time. However, the post 1994 era has left the student movement disgruntled and without direction. Student movements and their academic counter part have since been absorbed by the dominant ideology of the ruling elite. This has made transformation extremely difficult because of the materialism that this brings and a failure to engage the discourses of oppression with the goal of exploiting and deconstructing the dominant ideologies of subjection, betraying the scrutinizing role of a liberating education. This thesis seeks to argue that student movements, academies and academics have been defeated in an area where they should excel in the battle and struggle of ideas, for alternatives in search of a better society.