A Path Dependency Approach to Governance Practices at a Public University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Tom Mark Brown


This paper investigates the governance practices embedded within governance structures at the disposal of students at a public tertiary education institution, and student unrest as a mechanism to sway decision-making and reform policy at the case study institution of higher learning. In particular, the study is guided by a qualitative research paradigm using a structured interview tool to gather primary data using the University of the Western Cape (UWC) situated in Cape Town, South Africa, as a bounded case study, against the backdrop of the 2015-2016 #FeesMustFall (FMF) protests. It is suggested in this paper that student unrest is not the main reason, but rather a symptom of the broader inadequacies of the current participatory mechanisms available in university governance structures in general, and at the UWC. Employing a Path Dependency Theoretical (PDT) Approach. The article concludes by analyzing the findings of the empirical research, by identifying several themes and sub-themes.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jpag.v11i1.18095

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