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Schooling citizens: A study of policy in practice in South African schools

Hunt, F; (2007) Schooling citizens: A study of policy in practice in South African schools. Doctoral thesis , University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The thesis provides an account of how policy around student citizenship is being translated differently into practice in four secondary schools in South Africa. The notion of student citizenship has become prominent in a range of national and provincial policy documents, with citizenship promoted as both an expected outcome of schooling and an encouraged practice within school. The study takes place within the context of change from apartheid to post-apartheid South Africa and the remit of the education system to redress inequalities of the past and reshape society for the future. Citizenship is explored through a notion of identity, whereby the ‘student as citizen’ is one of many interlocking identities which students at times may possess. Identities are constructed through the social interactions and practices of schooling and therefore identity (and thus citizenship) is neither solid nor fixed, but rather fluid and often temporary. Schools are viewed as sites for citizenship, spaces where identities are developed, practised and produced. Within South African policy, there are formal spaces designated within schools for student citizenship, such as the representative councils of learners and school governing bodies. There are also the informal spaces of schooling, the interactions and interrelations between people which shape identities, which are expected to uphold constitutional rights and encourage students as active and responsible citizens. The research centred around four state secondary schools in Cape Town, South Africa. A case study approach was adopted with each school having a different former racial categorisation under apartheid. Under apartheid the different education systems were developed to produce different forms of citizenship based around racial categorisation. Post-apartheid policy is based around notions of equality and equity, but there had previously been little research into how this was working out in practice. The research found that policy around student citizenship was being translated differently in practice in the four case study schools. Different notions of student citizenship were being practised and produced. Three themes emerged as key to the discussion and are explored through the thesis: 1) The link between educational policy and practice; 2) Staff-student relations in the case study schools; 3) The socio-historical contexts of the schools.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Schooling citizens: A study of policy in practice in South African schools
Event: University of Sussex
Keywords: south africa, citizenship, human rights, education, secondary schools
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1485340
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