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South Africa: Higher Education challenges of racism and access

Chika Sehoole, Professor at University of Pretoria, 22 July 2012, University World News

“Although admissions figures for black students and numbers of black staff have improved in the post-apartheid era, many black people still feel excluded within the university system and there are problems with a lack of available places to meet the demand for higher education. At the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, South Africa’s higher education sector made national and international news headlines.

At the end of 2011, the University of Pretoria was hit by allegations of apparent racism among its staff. A black engineering professor alleged systematic harassment and victimisation, on racial grounds.

At the beginning of the 2012 academic year, a black parent was killed in a stampede at the gates of the University of Johannesburg, where crowds of prospective students had gathered in the quest to gain admission into this university.

These two incidents – allegations of racism and the quest for access to higher education, especially by black people – are just two examples of the challenges that South Africa experiences in meeting some of the priority areas identified in 1994 by the post-apartheid government.”

To read the rest of Chika Sehoole’s article on University World News, Click Here!

Plan to expand and improve South Africa’s Higher Education sector

In a Green Paper on Post-School Education and Training, the South African government Department of Higher Education and Training recently announced its plans to raise university enrolments from the current 900 000 students to 1.5 million by 2030. Also mooted was a target of 4 million students for colleges and other post-school institutions – 6 times more than current numbers. These changes will raise the participation rate in post-school education of 18-24 year olds from the current 16% to 23%.

The Green Paper includes in its agenda:

  • new funding;
  • improvement of access to education and training opportunities;
  • research on financial problems facing many students as well as poor living conditions and student support services;
  • strengthening of institutions to improve education quality;
  • the development of a post-school education and training system that is equitable, accessible and affordable to all sections of the population, with free education and training for the poor;
  • support for previously disadvantaged universities, including asisstance to improve infrastructure and quality of teaching and research;
  • reform of South Africa’s complex regulatory system, by doing away with duplication. and incoherence and inconsistency in the functioning parts of the system;
  • building coherence between basic education and the post-school system and between the post-school system and the labour market;
  • strengthening of collaboration between private and public sectors;
  • expansion of distance education, using appropriate information communication technologies, other technologies and methods;
  • the creation of two new universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga provinces;
  • improvement of throughput rates;
  • addressing concern sbout low participation rate of Africans;
  • addressing concern about decrease of male students;
  • improvement of graduation rates in science, engineering and technology, because it is not meeting economic development objectives;
  • strengthening of scholarship in the humanities;
  • provision of resources and funding to strenthen teaching in universities, without reducing the importance of research;
  • exploration of the possibility of partnerships between public and private institutions;
  • strengthening of African languages as part of formal programmes

 The Department of Higher Education and Training also plans to work with the Department of Science and Technology to ensure increased support for postgraduate study and for senior researchers, as well as a stable funding model for all educational institutions that conduct research. This means improving research capacity as a major focus for universities with a specific focus on meeting the country’s developmental objectives.

To read more go to Karen McGregor’s article on University World News by Clicking Here!

To read more go to Kim Cloete’s article at Cross Currents on MoneyWeb by Clicking Here!

To read the Green Paper on Post-School Education and Training Click Here!

Blade Nzimande calls for expansion of access to tertiary education

Access to formal education and training institutions is constrained and needs to be expanded Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said recently.

Enrolments at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges in particular needed to increase if South Africa was to come close to meeting the need for mid-level skills and the demand from youth for increased training opportunities

While mindful of the need to maintain and improve the quality of education and training boldness is needed in expanding enrolments, and thus opportunities, while not compromising quality, he said at the National Skills Summit in Pretoria, recently.

This speech follows on the heel of another speech  delivered by him at the FET college summit in Johannesburg, where he called for some amendments and additions in the curriculum of Further Education and Training (FET) colleges to absorb the country’s desolate youth into its workforce and address the high unemployment rate in South Africa.

To read more go to the Sapa article on Times Live by Clicking Here!

OR read the article by Loni Prinsloo in Creamer Media’s Engineering News by Clicking Here!