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Manifestations of Race and Gender Equity Post-Merger: A Case Study of a Merger in South African Higher Education.

By Felicity Ntwanano Kaluke Mawila


This case study examined how the goals of achieving race and gender equity, as articulated in the South African government‘s National Plan for Higher Education, manifest at Metropolitan University, an institution created by merging postsecondary institutions for whites and blacks that were established during the apartheid era. Of particular interest is the question: How have administrators at the Metropolitan University interpreted the goals for achieving race and gender equity? This study is an analytical case study that uses critical race, power and merger theories to understand how administrators perceived and worked to put into practice the government’s goals for achieving racial and gender equity. The case study examines mechanisms implemented by administrators at MU as they pursued race and gender equity and the challenges they experienced in the first year of the merger as a result of policy choices and actions they took. Twenty administrators shared their perceptions of events and the challenges they faced during the first year of the merger as they pursued race and gender equity. The findings reveal that there are qualitative differences in the perceptions shared by respondents of the merger events and challenges in the first year. These differences are subject to administrators’ race, gender, position or rank and previous institutional affiliation. Using the three theoretical frameworks stated above, this study considers why these differences emerged. The study poses important questions for the implementation of race and gender equity and suggests best practices for ensuring that race and gender equity goal implementation takes priority in the context of postsecondary institutional mergers

Topics: Higher Education Mergers, Race Equity, Gender Equity, Critical Race Theory, Power Theory, Merger Theory
Year: 2009
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