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“Teachers must return to old ways”

‘South Africa must return to tried and trusted teaching methods as Outcomes Based Education (OBE) has in many ways failed to provide pupils with essential skills, Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga said on Tuesday’. To read the article on News24, click here

South Africa to get 2 new universities

“Two of South Africa’s provinces are to get new universities”, Mary Metcalfe, Director-General of the Department of Higher Education and Training said recently. These are Northern Cape and Mpumalanga which are the only two of nine provinces that do not have public universities.

“There is no plan or time frame (but there is) political commitment,” said Metcalfe. The two provinces also have national institutes of higher education and the government have been working on increasing their capacity.

The South African Parliament’s portfolio committee on higher education will start work on exploring the idea and will look at the practicalities, from the number of potential students and the type of programmes to be offered, to garnering a sense of what work the department had already done.
To read the full article by Sue Blaine in Business Day Click Here!

Education findings ‘devastating’

The findings by a team tasked to investigate the state of education in South Africa have been described by the opposition Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal as “nothing less than devastating”.

The team had found underlying dysfunctionality at rural and township schools, and teachers were spending less time in the classroom and more time on administration. The culture of teaching and learning had disappeared in most rural and township schools.

A culture of learning could only be restored if schools were given greater autonomy in hiring and firing staff, in disciplining pupils and in adapting the curriculum to local needs.

To read the report, click here

Resistance against transformation at universities will not be tolerated anymore says Minister Blade Nzimande

The government is not going to tolerate resistance against transformation at universities anymore, Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande said on Wednesday 10 June 2009. 

He referred to The Report of the Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Social Cohesion and the Elimination of Discrimination in Public Higher Education Institutions, and said he had considered and accepted the report and its major findings, and found it deeply disturbing.  “While the report commends institutions for initiatives on change, the report unfortunately states that discrimination, in particular with regard to racism and sexism, is still pervasive in our institutions”, Dr Nzimande said.

Admitting that there is no doubt that significant policy development has indeed occurred towards transformation, the next important step will be to make those policies work.

Nzimande said further that he expects co-operation from Higher Education South Africa (HESA) and he will soon be meeting with them to consider a number of issues. These included developing a transformation compact between institutions and the department. He wants them to consider that vice-chancellors be held responsible for transformation and that this be included in their performance management contracts. The extend to which the curriculum has been transformed to play a role in the socialisation of students with regards to values in the Constitution and broader participation in society, should also be considered

He singled out the The University of the Free State as the institution where racism was the worst, and expressed hope that the University of Stellenbosch will decide, without intervention, to stop using Afrikaans to exclude some students.

Nzimande also announced that the government plans to form a new monitoring- and oversight body to complement the work of the Council on Higher Education (CHE), to keep an eye on transformation issues at universities in South Africa. This oversight body will be based in the Higher Education and Training Department, and details regarding its composition, structure, and brief will be released in the near future. He emphasized that the new body will not be involved in witch-hunts, but that universities will have to be held accountable. The allocation of financial assistance could be used for example, to ensure that universities use these funds for “pressing issues”.

Nzimande stressed that universities should have academic freedom and autonomy, but this should not be an impediment on the way to transformation.

To read more on this go to the article on Politicsweb by Clicking Here!

To read the Afrikaans article by Pieter du Toit on this in Beeld Newspaper Click Here!

Report on Racism at South African Higher Education Institutions released

The South African Ministerial Committee on Racism at Higher Education Institutions released its report on 14 May 2009. To read the Report Click Here! [pdf file, 1.64 MB]

Angie Motshekga appointed as Minister of Basic Education

Mrs Angelina Matsie “Angie” Motshekga (born 19 JuneMotshekga  1955) has been appointed as Minister of Basic Education by the South African president elect Mr Jacob Zuma.  She is the Deputy Chair: ANC Gauteng, a Member of the Executive Council of the Gauteng Provincial Education Department, ANC Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature,  and Deputy Secretary of the ANC Women’s League. She holds a Masters degree in Education from the University of the Witwatersrand. For more information on her go to 24.com Who’s who by Clicking Here!

South African universities stable in global financial crisis

A big increase in state funding is helping South African higher education institutions weather the global financial and economic storm.

Last month, Education Minister Naledi Pandor announced that tertiary funding had been increased to R19.3 billion (US$2.2 billion) for the 2009-10 year – a 27% rise on the previous year. “Government funding of the public higher education system has risen sharply in recent years, and is expected to continue to increase at rates above inflation,” Pandor said.

Included is R13.3 billion in subsidy funds which account for 43% of university income on average. It is the other two income streams that most worry universities: 29% that comes from tuition fees and 28% from ‘third stream’ income.
To read the full article by Karen MacGregor on University of World News Click Here!