SA Journal of Education, Vol 39, No 4 (2019)

The effect of the ideology of new managerial professionalism on the South African education system

Daniella Coetzee


If the intention of South African education legislation is to professionalise teachers, and if this is seen as empowering them for their task, connected to quality education, then it is indeed a worthy ideal. However, pedagogical values have been redefined within a neoliberalist framework, serving corporate culture and lowering the pedagogical role of teachers to a position of obedience to market norms. In the attempts of professionalising teachers, education has fallen prey to an ideology of new managerial professionalism – the worthy ideal of professionalising teachers has become a mechanism for dominating the very people it set out to liberate. Within the context of a growing global economy the pedagogical values that embody the professionalisation of teachers have been replaced by values aligned with economic growth. The professional role of the teacher and educational reform has been driven by a political ideology committed to new managerial professionalism. The paper highlights the way in which an overemphasis of the professional status of teachers within a neoliberalist framework establishes and sustains relations of domination in South African education. The effects of new managerial professionalism on education are also explored.

ORCiD iD of author:
Daniella Coetzee -

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