The spread of neoliberalism in the South African education system provides a template for ways that regimes co-opt the values of excellence and equality while implementing policies that contradict these values. Specifically, South Africa’s education system is “cloaked” in equality, although institutionalized inequality persists long beyond the end of the Apartheid system. Neoliberal education policies legitimize the expectation that “excellence” (i.e., quality) and “equality” are synonymous, which is what leads to the development of a “cloak of equality.” But, in practice, these equivocations become mutually contradictory, as the South African context suggests. This paper examines selected elements of neoliberalism as they are embedded within the South African education system and connects those elements to the development of a symbolic “cloak of equality” that masks institutionalized inequities within the broader system.
- South Africa
- educational equity