An exploration of the relationship between higher education and human development
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The apartheid regime in South Africa faced its end in 1994, but its repercussions are still valid for non-white as well as white South Africans. Almost 50 years of systemised discrimination of the non-white populations have set human equity and equality back in most spheres of the public society. The education sector is no exception. Education and higher education in particular is proclaimed an important mean for sustainable development. Higher education is assumed to have positive correlations with economic growth, better health, and employment possibilities. The objectives of my research is to explore the state of human development and the relationship between higher education and human development indicators at different spatial levels in South Africa, and reveal any internal differences according to geographic levels, race, and gender. The data was gathered during a five-week fieldwork in Pretoria, at the University of Pretoria (UP), and through desk research at Agder University College. Census data and additional statistics and information were gathered from Statistics South Africa, online sources and sources at UP. The conceptual framework of this thesis is based on the prevailing views among theorists and major development organisations on higher education and its role in sustainable development. This implies that attention is given to the ends as well as the means of sustainable development. Descriptive statistics and correlation analysis using SPSS are used as main tools in analysing the data according to the objectives. This study shows geographical, racial, and gender differences in the state of higher education, economy, health, and employment in South Africa. It also shows inter-racial differences, and internal differences among men and women for the different indicators. The correlation analysis indicated similar patterns for the relationship between higher education and the human development indicators across the geographical levels. Except for inconclusive results on the relationship between higher education and health, the analysis indicated that higher education is positively related to human development. The results highlight the importance of higher education in development and the need for continued policy emphasis on equity and equality in South African higher education.
Master's Thesis in Development Management - Agder University College, 2007
PublisherHøgskolen i Agder
Agder University College