Speaker From

South Africa



State | County | Province

Western Cape

Speaker Bio

Prof Jonathan Jansen is Distinguished Professor of Education at Stellenbosch University and President of the Academy of Science of South Africa. He is a curriculum theorist, and his research is concerned with the politics of knowledge.


His 2019/2020 books (co-authored, co-edited) include South African Schooling: The enigma of inequality, Fault lines: a primer on race, science and society


Who gets in and why: the politics of admission in South Africa’s elite schools, Learning under lockdown: voices of South Africa’s children, and  Learning Lessons.


His current research includes a national study on the impact of the pandemic on the academic work of women scholars.

He holds a PhD (Stanford) and five honorary degrees in education.


“Where on and off the stage no one racial or ethnic or religious group dominated the event.


“For a moment, just a moment, it felt good to hope again…”


Outspoken ex-Vice Chancellor of the University of the Orange Free State, Professor Jonathan Jansen is a well-known figure on the South African education, current affairs and political landscapes.


He obtained his BSc from UWC in the mid-1970s.


An internationally renowned expert in education, in 2009 he was the first black Rector and Vice-Chancellor appointed in UFS’s history.

Prof Jonathan Jansen is known for his strong views on transformation, peaceful reconciliation and unity, which he pursued in earnest at UFS.

Despite setbacks like the notorious Reitz Four video incident, under Jansen’s leadership, this former bastion of conservative Afrikaner learning became a model of integration in  South Africa.


Prof Jansen achieved his undergraduate education at the University of the Western Cape (BSc), his teaching credentials at UNISA (HED, BEd) and his postgraduate education in the USA (MS, Cornell; PhD, Stanford).

Prof Jansen was a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University  (2007-2008).


In recognition of his contribution to education Prof Jansen has received honorary doctorates in education from the United Kingdom and the USA, including one from the University of Edinburgh.


Prof Jansen has published several books, is a columnist in leading newspapers in the country.

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