Academic freedom under outcomes-based education and training in South African higher education institutions (HEIs)
This article investigates a general perception amongst academics that outcomes-based education and training (OBET), together with the prescriptions around the national qualifications framework, (NQF) have an inhibiting impact on academic freedom in higher education in South Africa. It proposes an alternative view, namely that academic freedom is, in fact, greatly enhanced by the architectural design of OBET. This argument is built around the distinction between educational inputs and outputs, which represent the domains of academics and quality assurance agencies respectively. It acknowledges that freedom should be exercised within the context of national imperatives, as long as these imperatives themselves are not educationally restrictive. These views crystallise in the recognition that the right of academics to enjoy academic freedom presupposes an obligation of discretion — a phrase coined to describe the peculiar responsibilities imposed on academics by that particular educational paradigm.