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Educational Research for Social Change

On-line version ISSN 2221-4070


ROUX, Cornelia  and  BECKER, Anne. Humanising higher education in South Africa through dialogue as praxis. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2016, vol.5, n.1, pp.131-143. ISSN 2221-4070.

Freire (1993) premised his pedagogical theory on the assumption that humanisation is the fundamental objective of education, and he emphasised the role of dialogue as praxis in achieving this. In South Africa, race has played a constitutive and dehumanising role in higher education since its beginnings during colonialism and apartheid (Soudien, 2015, 2016). During 2014 and 2015, higher education in South Africa came under attack from various student organisations for alleged discrimination, racism, and exclusive practices. We propose two conditions for dialogue as humanising praxis in higher education: the acknowledgement of situated selves, and the ontological need for, and right to, voice. We conclude that these conditions are interrelated and point to the possibilities of humanising post-1994 higher education. We use qualitative data from the NRF-funded project, Human rights literacy: a quest for meaning (Roux & du Preez, 2013) to explore student teachers' experiences of implicit and explicit exclusion, racism, and discrimination at institutions of higher education in South Africa.

Keywords : dialogue; discrimination; higher education; humanisation; praxis; racism.

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