This book examines the influence of an important body of international literature on the development of post-apartheid policies in higher education and training and in science and technology. Known as the 'Mode 2' knowledge debate, it refers to the emergence of a new mode of knowledge production which is taking shape outside of existing academic disciplines and, in part, outside of the insularity of the traditional higher education institution.
This new approach has its origins in the synergy and cross-fertilisation taking place in the interstices between established disciplines, and in the interaction of higher education scientists with other knowledge practitioners from government, business and civil society. Changing Modes also examines a related phenomenon, the so-called 'massification' and democratisation of higher education world wide over the past two decades.
The opening up of access to higher education to a wider array of social classes and age groups, with students from a diverse range of life and work experiences, has led to an equivalent shift in the 'higher learning' function of institutions. There has been a move away from the elite cultures and expert knowledges of privileged middle class (the traditional constituency of elite institutions), to incorporate the values of non-elite communities, particularly the practical competencies required in semi-professional, professional and community life.
The book outlines the debate and controversies which the Mode Two thesis has triggered, chief amongst these being the question of whether Mode 2 knowledge privileges research at the expense of teaching, and whether Mode Two research will lead to the greater commercialisation of knowledge production in South African higher education institutions.