Access and Participation

  • Melanie Walker
  • Samuel Fongwa


Our version of employability, as we have explained in earlier chapters, includes higher education that educates citizens for work and for life, and which works to advance human development, well-being and agency, acknowledging the historical legacies which continue to affect students’ access, experiences and potential outcomes. This chapter, therefore, focuses on our evidence regarding how universities in South Africa are enabling access and full participation to enhance the employability of students towards such ends, outlining and discussing successes and challenges from the perspectives of the four universities. The evidence cannot be perceived as representative of the whole university system or of similar types of university and we sketch a necessarily broad, rather than empirically comprehensive account of key aspects relevant to South African higher education.


Black Student Academic Staff Black Female Career Office South African Context 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Brodie, N. (2016, December 23–January 7). Is the student prising of 2015 a harbinger of revolution? Mail and Guardian.Google Scholar
  2. Centre for Higher Education Trust (CHET). (2010). Institutional clusters in higher education in South Africa. Cape Town: Presentation at the DHET Summit on Transformation.Google Scholar
  3. Cloete, N., Mouton, J., & Shepherd, C. (2015). Doctoral education in South Africa. Policy, discourse and data. Stellenbosch: African Minds.Google Scholar
  4. Council on Higher Education (CHE). (2013). A proposal for undergraduate curriculum reform in South Africa: The case for a flexible curriculum structure. Pretoria: CHE.Google Scholar
  5. Lewin, T., & Mawoyo, M. (2014). Student access and success: Issues and interventions in South African universities. Cape Town: Inyathelo, The South African Institute for Advancement.Google Scholar
  6. Marginson, S. (2011). Higher education and public good. Higher Education Quarterly, 65(4), 411–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. McKenna, S. (2016). Teaching and learning. In Council on Higher Education (Ed.), South African higher education reviewed. Two decades of democracy (pp. 143–192). Pretoria: CHE.Google Scholar
  8. Republic of South Africa (RSA). (1955). The freedom charter. Kliptown, Johannesburg: African National Congress.Google Scholar
  9. Smith, J., McKnight, A., & Naylor, R. (2000). Graduate employability: Policy and performance in higher education in the UK. Economic Journal, 110, 382–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Southall, R. (2016). The new black middle class in South Africa. Auckland Park: Jacana Media.Google Scholar
  11. Spaull, N. (2012). Poverty and privilege: Primary school inequality in South Africa. Stellenbosch Economic Working Papers 13/12, University of Stellenbosch.Google Scholar
  12. Tomlinson, M. (2008). ‘The degree is not enough’ Students perceptions of the role of higher education credentials for graduate work and employability. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 29(1), 143–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Walker, M., & McLean, M. (2013). Professional education, capabilities and the public good: The role of universities in promoting human development. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Webbstock, D., & Sehoole, C. (2016). Academic staffing. In Council on Higher Education (Ed.), South African higher education reviewed. Two decades of democracy (pp. 279–230). Pretoria: CHE.Google Scholar
  15. Wilson-Strydom, M. (2015). University access and success: Capabilities, diversity and social justice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Yorke, M. (2006). Employability in higher education: What it is – And what it is not. The Higher Education Academy: Learning and Employability Series No. 1. Accessed 24 July 2010.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melanie Walker
    • 1
  • Samuel Fongwa
    • 2
  1. 1.University of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa
  2. 2.University of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations