From Teachers to Perfect Humboldtian Persons to Academic Superpersons: The Teaching and Research Activities of the South African Academic Profession

  • Charl C. WolhuterEmail author
Part of the The Changing Academy – The Changing Academic Profession in International Comparative Perspective book series (CHAC, volume 9)


For the largest part of its history, until as recently as the early 1980s, South African universities were regarded as basically teaching institutions, their main function to provide highly educated human resources for the economy of a developing country. Accordingly, the main assignment of the academic profession was teaching. As the South African university sector became part of the international academic world, the requirement to conduct research came to the fore since the middle 1980s, more so after South Africa reintegrated with the international academic world after the repeal of the international academic boycott which had been waged against the country from c. 1960 to c. 1990. At the same time, the democratization of universities, and the allocation of more power to students, as well as the new conceptualization of students as clients in a consumer-driven economy, changed the nature of the teaching assignment of the academic profession. This was not the only factor which made teaching at universities all the more demanding. New pedagogies and new technology and the rise in the number of distance education students contributed to this trend too, as did the rising managerialism and the influx of students poorly prepared for university study. This chapter presents the experience of the South African academic profession of these changes, using CAP data.


High Education Research Output Academic Staff African National Congress Academic Profession 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.North-West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa

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