SOCIAL INEQUALITIES FROM A POSTCOLONIAL PERSPECTIVE
AND THE EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.
In almost every society there are social inequalities, shaped by a variety of structural aspects
that are often underpinned by cultural identities.
Such social inequalities occur when
resources are distributed unevenly amongst the people of a particular society, based on
customs of distribution which are usually socially defined categories of people e.g. race,
gender, language, religion etc. Economic inequality is one form of social inequality that has
a big impact on a society for example. Customs of distribution can also affect the allocation
of rights and privileges, social power, adequate housing, transportation, healthcare and
access to public goods such as education. Within South Africa, there are numerous ways
in which social inequalities influence the quality of education. This country inherited many
class, race and gender inequalities in the social, political and economic arenas, when
Apartheid ended in 1994 and these inequalities still have far-reaching effects today. Martin
and Griffiths (2012), use postcolonial theory as an explanation of how such inequalities
In this essay, I will analyse their argument in terms of how postcolonialism relates to issues
of power and representation and teacher development. In doing so, I will firstly, briefly, talk
about colonialism, particularly that of South Africa, and the impact it still has on cultural
representation. Secondly, I will discuss the impact it has on teacher development and
subsequently the perpetuation of social inequalities. Finally, I will discuss strategies to
address and possibly overcome these issues. I will also refer to Martin and Griffiths’ (2012)
analysis of the effectiveness of North-South study visits as a way to overcome the
misrepresentation of marginalised groups in society.
2. IMPACT OF COLONIALISM ON PERCEPTIONS OF SOCIETY TODAY