The Board of Directors of Universities South Africa (USAf) has decided to take a multipronged, long-term view of South Africa’s post-school education and training (PSET) sector, in order to understand what the sector might look like in the next 10 years, and also to understand the level of funding needed for each scenario and plan accordingly.
At its annual general meeting (AGM) held on 20 June, the Board decided to explore the following broad areas:
- Higher education and society (the role of universities in the broader PSET system and also in society):
- How public universities cooperate with vocational education and training (TVET) colleges and private higher education providers to create a vibrant PSET system
- What partnerships/collaborations are needed within and across sectors for long-term sustainability
- What role universities could play in instilling societal values and a socially responsible mindset, taking into consideration the widespread corruption in the country, declining morals, worsening crime and the overall attitude of entitlement in society
“As we take a long-term view of the higher education system, we also need to seriously map out our role as the conscience of this nation and take a lead in influencing societal mindset about values and where this country is going,” the USAf Chairperson, Prof Thandwa Mthembu (second from left) prodded the Board.
- What kind of growth (size, shape and skills set) is needed for the long-term sustainability of the sector
- Conditions to be met for universities’ long–term viability:
- Adequate funding (at undergraduate and postgraduate levels to ensure a pipeline for the next generation of academics)
- Differentiation in the system (partnerships between historically disadvantaged institutions and historically white universities, or regionally based partnerships)
- Infrastructure (including student accommodation)
- Teaching and learning (including product quality management and e-learning platforms)
- Research and innovation (how universities could be more responsive to the research needs of the country – research and development spending)
USAf’s four strategy groups will explore the areas listed above with a view to determining in which group this project should be located, before drawing up a project proposal.
The June 2018 AGM and Ordinary Meeting of the USAf Board was hosted in the University of Cape Town’s Bremner Building. Photo: courtesy of UCT.