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South African Higher Education and transformation (2014)

The NDP, state interventions, university
strategy, student expectations
and cute animals
IEASA Conference
21 August 2014
Size & Shape of universities
 25 institutions: 13 universities, 6 UOT’s, 6 comprehensives
 2 National Institutes – Mpumalanga & Northern Cape
 Student enrolments increased from 553 839 in 1999 to
978 548 in 2013
 53 public TVET Colleges with 657 690 students
 92 Private institutions – 93,000
 ‘Missing’ 250,000 students in short courses – not recognised
by SAQA: Microsoft, SAP, TEFL
 In 2012, 165 000 graduates and diplomats were delivered to
the country
 72 859 international students ‘at’ our institutions in 2012
Some Trends
• From state steering to co-operation (Pandor
period) to state steering
• Post 2005 – focus shifted towards schooling,
ABET and TVET Colleges
• Massification of the sector
• 1 more university, 12 more colleges (2015)
• Community colleges (1 million ABET
• From critical citizens to skilled HRD
Cute Animal Research
[2012, 2014]
“This finding suggests that
viewing cute images
makes participants behave
more deliberately, focus
more attentively and
perform tasks with greater
time and care”
National Development Plan: Role of Higher Education
 The affirmation of the critical role of higher education in the development of SA by
the National Development Plan 2030 (NPC, 2012) was very re-assuring. The Plan
acknowledges that:
 The three functions:
They educate and train people with high-level skills for the employment needs of the public and
private sectors.
Universities are the dominant producers of new knowledge. Universities also set norms and
standards, determine the curriculum, languages, and knowledge, ethics and philosophy
underpinning a nation’s knowledge-capital. South Africa needs knowledge that equips people for a
society in constant change.
Higher education provides opportunities for social mobility and simultaneously strengthens equity,
social justice and democracy. In today’s knowledge society, higher education underpinned by a
strong science and technology innovation system is increasingly important in opening up people’s
opportunities”(NPC, 2012: 262).
 It is acknowledged that higher education is one of the main contributors to
developing science, technology and innovation, which in turn improves
national development.
Vision for Higher Education, 2030
 Each university will have a clear mission that sets out its unique
contribution towards knowledge production and national development.
The university system will be diverse and differentiated, based on the
strengths and areas of specialisation of each university.
 Universities will be centres of excellence based on their identified
areas of strength, responding to the needs of their immediate
environments, the African region and global competitiveness.
 Universities will be an integral part of the post-school system, and will
be well articulated with the school and college system to allow for
mobility of learners and staff between these different parts of the
education system.
 Universities will be efficient institutions, characterised by higher
knowledge productivity units, throughput and graduation and
participation rates.
Vision for Higher Education, 2030
 The country will have a diverse national innovation system that consists of
a range of world-class centres and programmes specialising in areas that
address national priorities, including African languages and indigenous
knowledge systems. The innovation system will draw on the many sites of
knowledge and innovation within society.
 In 2030, 75 percent of university staff will hold PhDs. The PhD graduates,
either as staff or post-doctoral fellows, will be the dominant drivers of new
knowledge production with the higher education and science innovation
system. Currently 34% of academic staff has PhDs.
 Universities and the national innovation system will be welcoming and
supportive environments for black and female students and researchers.
 Private higher education institutions will play a greater and better-defined
role in the higher education landscape.
Any plan requires the will of
those who need to implement
“Was it remotely realistic to expect a part-time, semi-external national
planning commission, composed of 26 commissioners with disparate skills
and ideological inclinations, to develop, in 18 months, a 484-page, relatively
detailed 20-year plan that would also enjoy universal support from the entire
nation and be purpose-fit for implementation?”
SACP Discussion paper
JIPSA, ASGISA, Outcomes based education, Scorpions etc.
Government questions about the university
Developmental higher education
Mergers addressed the past – Fikile Mbalula
‘unsuccessful transformation mechanism’
Departments are ‘locked in’ to own agenda which
impinges on universities
Highly contested territory [DBE, DHET, DoL, DST]
Protecting self-interest
Inverted pyramid
University autonomy allows for under-performance
What is the ROI from universities?
Are universities a private or public good?
 Accelerate growth will require
Participation rates equal to OECD countries:
Real massification – 1,2 million, TVET – 1 million
by 2015
Build new universities/comprehensives
Differentiation at level of mission and funding
World beating research at some institutions
(Applied) research addressing national needs
Different governance structures with greater
state control
Government Scenarios
1. Incremental model
Directed funding e.g. engineering, medicine
Deals with individual institutions – funding, research,
enrolment etc.
Shut-down non-performers or let market forces have their
way – Rise of the Administrators
Incentive schemes for increased throughput
2. New deal model
Increase funding, especially infrastructural, for Big Six
Build new institutions and take over non-performers - with
state-directed missions and governance structures
New department to coordinate universities, TVET (and
‘National imperative’ governance model i.e. universities to
serve the developmental agenda
What Government wants
A producer of high levels skills, assistance with generating
new and applicable knowledge and a compliant citizenry
Next 5 years
• Institutional autonomy will increasingly depend on
 University’s existing reputation
 University (perceived as) responsive to the needs of the
 Ability to make compelling cases for additional funding
 Finding other streams of funding
 Increasing student numbers and successful throughput
 Improving accountability
What universities want
Universities want Von Humboldt’s institution where institutional autonomy is
entrenched and ample state funding (without T&Cs) to allow for curiosity
DoL Government
Open System
Governments, HE counterparts
Failing that
• Higher education sector can reduce reliance on state
 Service multiple state departments
 Increase endowments from business, donors, international partners
What students want
The Customer University
The student as customer
Curricula based on customer demand
Degrees in Game Ranging delivered through
Academic safaris
Lecturers & support staff are employees
dedicated to providing “customer service”
24/7 service centres – “always a lecturer on the
Futures Spectrum
of HRD
• Business as
• Greater
e to the
whim of the
• Savvy
• Anticipating
future trends
• Committed to
• 60% 3rd stream –
deal makers
• VCs as
figureheads &
Venture Capitalists
• Moving towards
the customer
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