This article identifies the three discursive forces of ‘equity and redress’, ‘development’ and ‘academic standards’ in the structuring of access and admission policies in South Africa. It is argued that these forces undergo a process of complex repositioning within the policy making arena of the National Commission on Higher Education. The discourse of ‘development’, couched in neo-classical economic terms, emerges as a dominant discourse in this process and shapes the discourses surrounding ‘academic standards’ and, more fundamentally, ‘redress’ policies and strategies. Such oblique effects of the dominant discourse, it is suggested, have fundamentally reframed access and admission policies and strategies proposed by the Commission.
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