23 SES 13 A, What Kind Of Curriculum Agendas Are Being Carried In Today’s Global Curriculum Movements?
Eight years after an international review of South Africa’s National Qualifications Framework (NQF) concluded that a unitary NQF, spanning the entire field of formal and informal qualifications, was a bad idea, new legislation has recently been promulgated for three separate but linked QAs, one each for schooling, vocational qualifications and higher education qualifications. This paper will show that these separate QAs still embody the assumptions and problems, uncovered by the international review panel 8 years ago. The new frameworks are set within a global rhetoric of social justice, and linked to freedom, the right to development, and above all, equality of basic human rights. However the rhetoric makes a number of dubious equivalences: that access to equal rights means access to equal competencies; that this can only be guaranteed by a framework which ensures equal exchange value between qualifications; equal exchange value can only be guaranteed by means of a calculus of generic skills. The paper will argue that to avoid these misleading equivalences it is necessary to redefine what social justice can mean in an increasingly global world where technological access and mobility opportunities mask differentiation and de-differentiation and its production of inequitable distribution of knowledgeable competencies.
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