Education, Training and Work under Neoliberalism in South Africa: Toward Alternatives

Salim Vally, Enver Motala


This article conceptualises the overall relationship between a democratic society, socially useful labour and its implications for education and training and unemployment, particularly youth unemployment. The article analyses the ideas and practices that are dominant in the language, ideologies and practices of human capital theory—a theory which has mutated and survived through its various incarnations. We begin by examining the culture of “job consciousness” critically. Thereafter, we explore the implications of unemployment for conceptions of work and education and follow this examination by discussing alternative and socially useful forms of the organisation of work. Finally we deal with the meaning of these alternatives for educational processes and learning and conclude with concrete instances and possibilities based on the production of socially necessary and useful goods and services—outside the forms of commodification that are at the heart of capitalist production. 


alternative education; commodification; education and neoliberalism; education and work; socially useful labour; unemployment

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