Professor in education to present public lecture at Durban University of Technology

Professor Jonathan Jansen. Picture: Supplied

Professor Jonathan Jansen. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 13, 2023


Durban — The Durban University of Technology (DUT) will be hosting a public lecture and a book launch to be presented by renowned expert in education Professor Jonathan Jansen on Tuesday.

Jansen is a distinguished professor in education at Stellenbosch University and president of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

Jansen will deliver a public lecture based on his research work, which focused on the politics of knowledge in schools and universities.

Jansen made headlines in 2009 when he became the first black rector and vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State. Jansen has made a name for himself for being vocal on matters of transformation, peaceful reconciliation and unity.

Jansen will also be launching his book, titled “Corrupted: A study of chronic dysfunction in South African universities”. The book was published by Wits Press in 2022.

In the same year, Jansen also published another book, titled “The Decolonization of Knowledge”, which was published by Cambridge University Press, with Cyril Walters.

In an excerpt from the book “Corrupted: A study of chronic dysfunction in South African universities”, Jansen spoke on the disturbing fact that those managing universities cannot trust each other to act with integrity.

According to him, this is the situation playing out in some South African universities, sometimes with fatal results.

“The principal conclusion I reach in my book is that chronic dysfunction in a sample of South African universities can be explained by two intertwined factors. One is institutional capacity. This is the expert ability to lead, manage and administer universities. The other is institutional integrity – the steering academic values that buffer universities against instability. Where both capacity and integrity are weak, dysfunction is inevitable,” said Jansen.

The book focuses on what happens when integrity is undermined. In addition, Jansen highlights that the crisis of dysfunctional institutions arises when universities make compromised decisions on everything from tenders for infrastructure to appointments of key personnel.

According to Jansen, such decisions increase the risk of systematic failure, and it is how institutional dysfunction begins and is sustained through the breaching of institutional integrity.

Jansen also points out the critical skill sets that are compromised by the appointment of friends and family members in crucial administration positions.

“Institutional integrity is questioned when non-deserving people are promoted to senior academic positions in the name of equity,” he stated.

He also raised concerns on the governance of the institutions that are placed at serious risk due to the appointment of junior council members, who have never governed in their lives.

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