Exploring Social Justice Issues That Inform the 21st-Century Curriculum in Higher Education: Lecturers’ Voices and Experiences
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Social justice
21st century curriculum
Higher education
Decolonisation epistemologies

How to Cite

Mapuya, M. (2023). Exploring Social Justice Issues That Inform the 21st-Century Curriculum in Higher Education: Lecturers’ Voices and Experiences. Research in Educational Policy and Management, 5(3), 108-127. https://doi.org/10.46303/repam.2023.26


Higher education systems across the globe have adopted policies to provide a curriculum which is underpinned by the fundamental values of equality, inclusivity, and diversity. However, owing to lack of transformation and the practical implementation of these policies, higher education is still significantly entrenched in Eurocentric epistemologies which expose students to a learning environment which does not represent their social identities. This has led to the intensification of discourses on decolonisation epistemologies. At the centre of these decolonisation epistemologies is their advocacy for the recognition of indigenous epistemologies and ontologies in the learning environment. Of importance to these discourses is social justice issues that influence the 21st-century curriculum. Guided by the Critical Theory of Education, this study explored social justice issues that inform the 21st-century curriculum from a lecturers’ perspective. Data was collected from thirty-two purposefully selected lecturers from all universities in South Africa using a questionnaire with a Likert scale. The findings demonstrate that academic imperialism, language equity, equality, inclusivity, and diversity are the major issues of social justice that influence the 21st-century curriculum.  To promote these social justice issues, this study advocates for radical transformation in language policies and pedagogical practices in higher education. The study further calls for the practical dismantling of the current dispensation in higher education which perpetuates social injustice and inequality. Educational policies need to respond purposefully to calls to decolonise the 21st-century curriculum holistically and create an education system which works for every student on these social justice issues.

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