2nd National Higher Education Conference 2021, 6-8 October 2021

The 2nd National Higher Education Conference, conducted in a partnership between Universities South Africa and the Council on Higher Education, and in collaboration with the Department of Higher Education and Training, will take place from 6 to 8 October, 2021. Following the lead of the successful 2019 event, the conference will provide a platform for thought leadership, debates, deliberation and shared understanding among senior academics, researchers, executive leadership of public universities, government, business and civil society. 

Taking place within a context of significant disruption, uncertainty and complexity brought about by the CoVID-19 pandemic, the conference will, in broad terms, provide a platform to reflect on the state and purpose of South Africa’s higher education system – looking at the past, the present and the future. The event also offers a much-needed opportunity for USAf’s strategy groups to retreat, think about and learn from the unprecedented challenges of CoVID-19 while contemplating the university of the future.

In more specific terms, the conference themed The Engaged University, aims:

  • To enable rigorous academic debate and deliberation on pertinent higher education issues informed by the work of USAf’s strategic structures and programmes;
  • To encourage and support solution-building among key stakeholders through facilitated dialogue and inquiry;
  • To provide an opportunity for information-sharing and networking across a broad spectrum within the public higher education sector and with other sectors and stakeholders;
  • To identify and agree on a set of goals for the sector and concrete actions towards the advancement and achievement of The Engaged University.

The event will be delivered in a hybrid fashion – combining in-person attendance by up to 250 selected delegates and additional 1500 attendees linking in through an online streaming facility. Deliberations on all three days will encompass plenary sessions and five parallel breakaway sessions that will explore different sub-themes on higher education as pre-determined by USAf’s five strategy groups. The second and third days will also be punctuated by workshops focussing on the Council on Higher Education, the Higher Education Leadership and Management Programme and the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education Programme.

With a more comprehensive agenda than ever, the 2021 edition of The Engaged University Conference promises to be an exceptionally enriching experience, which no one passionate about South Africa’s higher education can afford to miss. 

Registration is now open for the delegates who will link in to proceedings online. Please note: it is important to study the Provisional Conference Programme before you register, as you will be required to select which sessions and breakaway groups you will attend as part of your registration process.