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On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.77 n.2 Pretoria  2012




The capability of national education systems to address ethnic diversity


Die vermoë van nasionale onderwysstelsels om etniese diversiteit te akkommodeer



Charl C. Wolhuter; Ferdinand J. Potgieter; Johannes L. van der Walt

Post-Graduate School of Education, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa





Modern societies have become much more complex in recent decades, also in terms of ethnic identities and differences. The question arose whether education systems were capable of addressing the needs of ethnic and other minorities in countries across the globe. After examining a cross-section of education systems (in Australia, Canada, China, Israel, Malaysia, Rwanda, Russia and South Africa) with the aid of a set of specially developed criteria, it was concluded that these systems seemed to comply with the criteria in various ways, albeit in different measures and in several configurations. It is recommended that policy makers apply such criteria for enhancing the capability of an education system to address the needs of ethnic minorities and to meet the demands of increased social complexity.


Samelewings het onlangs toenemend kompleks begin raak, ook in terme van etniese identiteite en verskille. Die vraag is of onderwysstelsels van lande reg oor die wêreld in staat is om te voldoen aan die eise van die verskillende etniese en ander minderhede. Na bestudering van 'n steekproef onderwysstelsels (dié van Australië, Kanada, Sjina, Israel, Maleisië, Rwanda, Rusland en Suid-Afrika) aan die hand van 'n stel spesiaal ontwerpte kriteria is tot die slotsom gekom dat hierdie stelsels oor die algemeen aan die kriteria voldoen, dog in wisselende mate en in allerlei konfigurasies. Dit is aanbeveel dat beleidmakers kriteria soos hierdie toepas ten einde toe te sien dat 'n onderwysstelsel inderdaad in staat sal wees om te kan voorsien in die behoeftes van etniese minderhede en aan die eise van toenemende sosiale kompleksiteit.



Full text available only in PDF format.



Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors' contributions

The authors C.C.W. (North-West University), F.J.P. (NorthWest University) and J.L.v.d.W. (North-West University) contributed equally to the research and writing of this article.



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Charl Wolhuter
Private Bag X6001
Potchefstroom 2520
South Africa

Received: 03 Feb. 2012
Accepted: 24 July 2012
Published: 13 Dec. 2012

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