Nzimande wants social sciences on map

2012-03-29 21:37
Johannesburg - Human and social sciences should be mainstreamed in all post-school education, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said on Thursday.

"Ideally, social sciences and humanities should be mainstreamed irrespective of the disciplines or professions being studied," Nzimande said.

"The decline in prominence of the social sciences and humanities in South African universities is not something that we can really dispute."

He was speaking at a conference in Johannesburg aimed at charting a way to revitalise the study of the humanities and social sciences (HSS) in the country.

Nzimande said academics in this field had played an important role in shaping the minds of students and organisations during the dark days of apartheid.


"Their work exposed the apartheid pseudo-science that legitimated racial and gender inequalities and discrimination in our society."

The government plans to strengthen the teaching of the HSS disciplines and to attract students to them.

"The HSS disciplines have a crucial role to play in the development of our country by informing social policy, framing the systems of thought that shape our perceptions of the world," said Nzimande.

A study by the Academy of Sciences of SA on the state of the humanities indicated there was a crisis, pointing to among others declining student enrolments, graduation rates, and decreasing funding for HSS.

Recommendations included the establishment of a national institute of humanities and social sciences.

"I plan to amend the Higher Education Act to provide for the establishment of such an institute," said Nzimande.

An amendment bill had already been published for public comment, he said.

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