NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ892781
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0258-2236
National Education Policy and the Learning Subject: Exploring the Gaps
Silbert, Patti
Perspectives in Education, v27 n4 p385-394 Dec 2009
I explore the relationship between education policy and identity by looking at how the learning subject is constituted at national education policy level. The notion of the "ideal South African learning subject", which I suggest, foregrounds national education policy discourse, contradicts the reality of continued class, race, cultural and gender divisions that influence ways in which identity is constructed. The representation of the "ideal" learning subject has resulted in the overlooking of contextual realities that have played a crucial role in defining the identities of young South Africans. It is the disconnect between this policy-borrowing orientation on the one hand, and the contextual realities of a country that continues to be fractured by race and class that is of interest here. My focus in this paper is how the learning subject is imagined at policy level and this will be addressed by examining what is said about the subject as well as what is not said. The absence of a clear articulation of the learning subject relates to evident gaps in national policy discourse, namely, that of difference and diversity. By making use of text analyses, sections of two policy documents are examined. First, I analyse sections of the Whole-school Evaluation (WSE) Policy as an example of a key National Policy, and thereafter explore how the subject is constituted in The South African Schools Act (SASA). By drawing out recurrent themes and exploring ambiguities within these texts, competing discourses are exposed which serve to influence how the meaning of the subject is constructed at policy level.
Perspectives in Education. Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein 9301, South Africa. Fax: +27-51-401-7044; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa