Can Neoliberalism and School Choice Address Persistent Inequities and Proxies for Segregation in Post-Apartheid Schools?
Keywords:Black schools, formerly White-only schools, Language policies, Neoliberalism, Post-Apartheid South Africa, Racism, School choice
This paper examines the consequences of school choice policies in post-apartheid South Africa and the reasons these policies have largely failed to achieve greater educational equity – their stated purpose. I highlight recent incidents of racialization, including the arbitrary use of language policies to refuse the admission of Black children to affluent schools to illustrate that school choice in educational reform may not be the answer to school integration and equitable educational opportunities. I argue that neoliberal policies in South Africa have not fully addressed critical issues of equity in education after the demise of apartheid. The reforms encouraged school choice as a mechanism to desegregate schools. Yet the problem of inadequate resources in segregated Black schools and arbitrary language-based admission policies that are used as proxies for racial exclusion in formerly White-only schools have not been directly confronted.
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