Decolonisation and South African TVET: A Different Missing Middle




decolonisation; Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET); higher education; voice; subaltern; language


This paper explores the South African Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector in relation to calls for decolonisation that have emanated from higher education institutions (universities) and basic education institutions (schools). Both the public and the academic community have echoed these institutions’ calls for transformation through protests and articles in academic journals and the popular media. Apart from two articles in the popular media the silence on decolonisation and TVET has been deafening. A key phrase during the #FeesMustFall protests was “the missing middle,” referring to those students who were too rich for NSFAS bursaries but too poor to afford university fees. I argue that the TVET sector is a different missing middle in that it is missing from debates about decolonising education in South Africa. Through a document analysis of TVET related legislation, I argue that it is too “high” for basic education and too “low” for higher education. By drawing on Jan Blommaert’s notion of “voice” and Gayatri Spivak’s notion of “the subaltern,” the paper considers why there has been such silence on decolonising the TVET sector.

Author Biography

Alexa Nicole Anthonie, Stellenbosch University

Alexa Anthonie is a PhD candidate in General Linguistics at Stellenbosch University. Her current areas of focus include language biographies, multilingualism and language policy and planning as they occur specifically within the South African technical vocational and education (TVET) sector.



How to Cite

Anthonie, Alexa Nicole. 2019. “Decolonisation and South African TVET: A Different Missing Middle”. Progressio: South African Journal for Open and Distance Learning Practice 41 (1):16 pages.



Themed Section - Curriculum Transformation in Higher Education
##plugins.generic.dates.received## 2019-01-22
##plugins.generic.dates.accepted## 2019-07-31
##plugins.generic.dates.published## 2019-10-04