South Africa: Education and Social Change (Summer)

Key Features

Develop a better understanding and appreciation of education policy and the role of education in South Africa’s development.

Classroom lectures and discussions will be combined with field study assignments, as well as visits to schools, NGOs, local communities, and government offices. Educational excursions and regular processing sessions will give students multisided and holistic exposure to and consideration of education issues in South Africa.

Because the coursework in this program is based on an experiential education model in which students learn by doing, program participants are exposed to a variety of perspectives and realities. Students travel often, meet local education professionals, students, and families, and broaden their theoretical knowledge.

Lectures, discussions, and workshops typically include the following topics:

  • South Africa’s political system
  • Crime in South Africa: Current status and future challenges
  • State of the nation: Where is South Africa headed—development or decline?
  • Education in South Africa: Historical legacy and contemporary challenges
  • Education and development
  • Educational issues in urban and rural areas
  • Education, gender, and sexuality in South African education
  • The “demise” of Outcomes-Based Education
  • Multicultural education
  • Non-Formal Education (ABET) and Further Education and Training (FET)
  • HIV/AIDS education, life-skills training, and the Love Life Project
  • Skills development and human resource training
  • The transformation of tertiary education
  • Field study methods in education
  • Introduction to Zulu language and culture

Education Practicum: Integrating Theory and Practice
Students have many opportunities to observe the education system while in this program. During the education practicum, students are encouraged to integrate theory and practice and to develop the field skills needed to analyze what they observe. Students typically have the chance to spend time at primary schools, secondary schools, and adult formal and informal educational institutions, as well as other sites, such as NGO and government offices.

One such site visit is to a government nerve center, where students can observe the complex nature of government management of education in the province of KwaZulu Natal.


Costs Dates



Credits: 8

Duration: 6 weeks

Program Base: Durban

Prerequisites: None

South Africa

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Summer 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Summer 2012 Evaluations (PDF)
Summer 2011 Evaluations (PDF)


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