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.

  • Mark - 2012-03-29 21:47

    Oh I forgot - include Mao's Little-Red-Book as well.

      gillian.sabino1 - 2012-03-29 22:06

      Human and Social Sciences are the people that do talk talk talk. Techincal and Knowledge Sciences are the people that do work work work!

      Spyker - 2012-03-29 22:19

      Good call Rustic - " sciences and humanities..." is the code-word for the mass indoctrination of socialist pawns, too stupid to know how stupid they are, let alone that the (supposed) academic qualification they were handed (on a piece of animal skin) is worth little more than a "pap 'n vleis" meal-ticket...

      Mark - 2012-03-29 22:35


      Smell - 2012-03-30 03:41

      No, Mr. Nzimande, we do not need an army of South Africans trained to look at shyte and declaring it peanut butter - the essence of political correctness. We need citizens that can deliver clean water, a reliable food supply, affordable housing, good health care and sustain an infrastructure that can sustain a civil society. Get over your inferiority complex Mr. Nzimande - Africans can do all of these things. We need artisans, tradesman an farmers, not airy fairy manipulators of the "truth".

      Benn - 2012-03-30 06:45

      Its called Social Engineering

      Oscar - 2012-03-30 07:18

      It really boggles the mind the a person can still support communism in this day and age. Or maybe in Blade's case it is more a situation of a dinosaur that doesn't have the ability to adapt and move on.

      Koos - 2012-03-30 09:04

      This part of the ANC’s indoctrination of babies and the ANC’s “political school” propaganda? Can anyone say brainwashing? Can anyone say indoctrination? Heil Nzimande, seig heil, seig heil!

  • Taetjo - 2012-03-29 21:48

    Good thoughts Minister! On that note, I think that your party cadres are the ones that need to learn a lot about social engineering. You have lost the plot and are costing your society millions. Please teach more politicians Social Sciences because it matters a lot and it seems to be in critical shortage here in South Africa. Politicians are betrayers. They betrayed Eugene de Kock and the rest of the Security police, today the ANC are busy betraying the masses. Oh well... The very same people that keep them in power. The military and the Police kept the NP in power, the masses are keeping the ANC in power! God bless South Africa.

  • Grootrot - 2012-03-29 22:08

    Mr Nzimande, you are actually not making sense or you are not talking to your counterpart in basic education. The absolute poor quality of maths and science teachers to specifically the children of PDIs is the main reason why % wise so few actually make it to engineering and other sciences. To say that a person needed a degree in social science to spot the discrimination that resulted from apartheid is profound, but maybe only for those with social science degrees. The fact is that so few students qualify for studies, disregarding of their field of study is 100% the mistake of people like Asmal, Mbeki, Pandor and especially Motshekga and Zuma. In 1999 Mbeki could have had white teachers teaching the black ones to overcome the legacy of apartheid. With a 70% vote, he could have pulled that off, he chose to fire the white ones. This year the first born frees will be writing a matric that is worse than non white education under apartheid. There is your problem - no matter how you sugarcoat it. Let us put this challenge to you and your cronies - get the EC education up to such a standard that the kids there will pass with a 50% pass mark then equivalent of 1993 white education exam papers and then you will see no problem in the universities.

      Maruis - 2012-03-29 22:19

      Well said. The basic education is failing us as a country. Pass rate of 30%. That mean 70% you don't know. It's like our government is running on a 30% pass rate.

  • Ben - 2012-03-29 22:18

    Good idea Blade - will it, however, help create much needed jobs?

      Koos - 2012-03-29 22:47


      zaatheist - 2012-03-30 04:23

      And feed the hungry.

  • Mark.Syzygy - 2012-03-29 22:45

    It's great there is a move towards reinforcing the human and social sciences (HSS). Those with HSS education cultivate social values, and examine issues facing society with a critical insight that the unskilled and untrained simply do not possess. [Just take comments on News24 for example - how many actually speak to the issue at hand, and how many are mere propagations of simple minded and unoriginal ideas (eg - it all boils down to race, the ANC is all corrupt, blah blah blah).] What they don't mention here is that Nzimande's plan for the Humanities and Social Sciences is to compartmentalise the different universities across SA. For example, UKZN will be the centre of music and the arts, while UFS could be the centre of sociology research. This is a very kitch stereotyping of universities, and rather than elevating them it stands to diminish the status of the HSS. Furthermore, there is mention in the charter of mimicing the BRICS economic group. It seems quite silly that the HSS should emulate China, for example, if China does not endorse the kind of freedoms which the HSS nourish. So while it would be fantastic if the HSS can get a well deserved boost, the form which this takes must be carefully scrutinized. Although it is always difficult to separate education from the insidious whims of politics, it remains important that the thinkers which shape the soul of society remain resilient, steadfast, and ever more loyal to truth than to power.

      Roland - 2012-03-29 23:25

      So true Mark, although Mathematicians and Scientists are essential to the development of a country, it is the Social Scientists, or at least a socially aware and educated population, that allows for the conditions of freedom and enteprize required by those 'hard' Scientists to flourish. As for the HSS-education that the communist, Nzimande, hopes to instil the youth with, well that will probably leave much to be desired. Hopefully the independent thinking of the HSS-Academia at the universities will ensure that the youth are taught to think independently about society and it's challenges, and not become drones bursting with Afro-communist perceptions and biases.

  • gkapfidze - 2012-03-30 02:33

    True Minister that's the way to go.Humanities develop acceptable values & attitudes.If the instruments of science e.g atomic bombs are put in the hands of a technologist without a conscience the results are too ghastly to contemplate.Humanities civilise the human race.

      zaatheist - 2012-03-30 04:23

      Actually, humanism does.

  • Wesley - 2012-03-30 05:59

    Blade also talk his a$$ off, but nothing happen

  • Matthew Patrick - 2012-03-30 06:07

    There is a decline in people studying human and social sciences because workplace demand for specialists in this area is declining. Also, has Blade forgotten about the Human Sciences Research Council? We already have a national institute for human and social sciences. Instead of wanting to create a new institute why don't they put that money into the current one. Or better yet, why not use it to sponsor disadvantaged students who wish to study HSS?

  • Herman - 2012-03-30 06:24

    Lets get that socialist ideology going in SA, hey Blade? Communism, the longest and hardest route from Capitalism to Capitalism, hey Blade? Have you idiots not seen that this has not even worked in their ideal country Russia and is the biggest oppression forming ideology on earth?

  • beryl.knipe - 2012-03-30 06:31

    Most of the university students, today, cannot even spell "soshall" or "sinesis" so, dear minister, good luck on this one.

  • Mark - 2012-03-30 06:58

    A while back this same idiot stated that more emphasis had to be put on maths & science. We already have enough social workers - and hawkers - thanks to his education system. Blade, do us all a favour and engage brain before opening mouth, maybe something more than hot air will come out.

  • Mandyeta Mandy Duba - 2012-03-30 07:19

    i was also at the conference with the ladies band .

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