The 10-year anniversary of the first democratic elections in South Africa in 2004 provoked much reflection and fuelled new policy debates on both the progress and failures of educational reform. While a myriad of achievements have been touted and are well-known to international audiences, a swelling critique from inside South Africa shows that much work remains to be done. By glancing backward as a way to understand how to move forward, we review several important recently published books on post-apartheid education policy to learn how policies were conceived, what went well and what went seriously wrong. In engaging this extended analysis we provide a glimpse into the unique set of circumstances and challenges faced by the South African government over the last 15 years (namely the tensions between equity and redress and global competitiveness), while offering a sustained critique of the resulting policy outcomes through a social justice lens. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
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