The Snail-Like Progress of Racial Diversity in Faculty Posts in South African Higher Education

In 1994 when the Republic of South Africa ended apartheid and allowed free democratic elections, Whites made up 83 percent of the academics at the nation’s universities.

In 1996, the National Commission on Higher Education issued a roadmap on how to boost racial diversity at the nation’s public universities. While there have been gains, the progress has been very slow. Today, 67 percent of the professors at public universities are White. The percentage of Black professors has increased from 8 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2018. Blacks make up 81 percent of the country’s population. Whites are 8 percent of the population.

In the professional support staff positions in higher education, progress has been better. In 2002, Whites accounted for 67 percent of all professional support staff while Black Africans accounted for just 22 percent.  In 2018, the proportion of White professional staff was 35 percent of the total while Black Africans held 41 percent of the positions.

Black Africans make up 37 percent of the people who hold executive and senior management positions in higher education.

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  1. In other words, the Republic of South Africa is simply a neo-Apartheid higher education state meaning that NOTHING has really changed since 1994. Sad.

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