The purpose of the study is to investigate the extent to which the 2004 higher
education mergers contributed to the post-1994 democratic government’s broader
transformation policy agenda of South African society in general. Accordingly, the
mergers are then viewed as a mere quantitative reduction of apartheid-engineered
higher education institutions from 36 to 21. Rather, a transcendent qualitative
perspective is adopted, according to which “mergers” are conceptually nuanced
as introducing a different academic nomenclature to advance access, redress,
and equity; with the curriculum occupying a pivotal role. The study therefore,
posits the higher education institutional mergers as a transition (means) towards
the advancement of transformation (end), with access, redress, and equity as
foremost policy variables.
The qualitative-descriptive model by Blumberg et al., (2005) provided
the methodological approach according to which The Tshwane University of
Technology (TUT) was viewed as a relevant research setting and case study. Since
the conceptual novelty of the higher education mergers did not have the benefit of
theoretically supported antecedence in SA, the case study approach facilitated the
systematisation of a range of complexities induced by the erstwhile configuration
based on race, geographic location, funding, missions, and institutional typology.
It is anticipated that the expected outcome of the study is the development of a
policy framework to advance transformation beyond higher education.