Equity and access: a curricular perspective
The original publication is available from AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, Stellenbosch: South Africa.
CITATION: Leibowitz, B. 2016. Equity and access: A curricular perspective, in L. Frick, V. Trafford & M. Fourie-Malherbe (eds). Being Scholarly: Festschrift in honour of the work of Eli M Bitzer. Stellenbosch: SUN MeDIA. 77-85. doi:10.18820/9781928314219/07.
Chapters in Books
Introduction: This chapter is concerned with equity and access to the curriculum, which has been shown by numerous analyses of statistics, as well as experience of those of us who are concerned to improve the state of education in South Africa, to be extremely problematic with unequal levels of student success. The view of ‘curriculum’ adopted in this chapter is an expanded one. It proposes the idea of the curriculum as an “active conceptual force” (Le Grange 2016:8). ‘Pedagogy’ and ‘curriculum’ can be plotted on a continuum from design choices at the micro level to choices at the macro level. Clearly the curriculum, even the expanded view, is embedded within a broader ecology of learning and living phenomena. However, for the purposes of this short chapter, the ‘learning’ dimensions are focussed upon. Equity and equality, it is proposed, are advanced within a conceptualisation of cognitive justice, which is itself interrelated with the notion of ‘social justice’ (de Sousa Santos 2014). Fraser’s (2009) description of social justice is extremely useful. She equates social justice with the ability to interact on an equal footing with social peers. In order to achieve this participatory parity in a higher education context, social arrangements would have to be put in place, which would make it possible for individuals to interact on a par with one other. The three dimensions of social justice, which are interrelated and mutually dependent, are: recognition, which refers mostly to the cultural domain and the recognition of the status of groups; distribution, which pertains mostly to the material domain, to resources such as computers, parents’ salaries to finance higher education; and, representation, which is more political, and includes who is regarded as a legitimate citizen, who may participate in political processes, and who is entitled to voice needs.