A radical reform of South African higher education (HE) started concomitantly with other social changes after the first democratic elections of 1994. Higher education was confronted with social, political and economic demands, arising from both local and global environments, of a kind not encountered during the apartheid era.
Chapter 1 of this book describes the context of the transformation of higher education in South Africa and examines the principles, goals, policy initiatives and outcomes of the comprehensive policy process that underpinned the reform. It divides the process into three phases. Phase one (1990–94) concentrated mainly on principles, values and missions and the potential role of the state in higher education transformation. Phase two (1995–98), after the new government came to power and took over the policy process from the anti-apartheid movement, saw the adoption of a new policy framework informed by the work of the National Commission on Higher Education (1996) and enacted in the Higher Education Act of 1997. During the third phase (1998–2003) there was less popular consultation and participation, but more focus on the financial and human resources available to effect change, the establishment of an embryonic governmental infrastructure and tensions emerging between certain goals. This chapter concludes with a list of critical issues and challenges that face the system in the post-2002 period.
Chapter 2 highlights one of the critical issues, namely, the tension between equity and development. It shows that the participation of blacks and women in higher education has increased dramatically in terms of changing the composition of the elite, but the overall participation rate in higher education has not changed significantly.
Chapter 3 describes a study undertaken within the context of the government’s restructuring of the institutional landscape of the Eastern Cape province, a province characterized by high levels of poverty, with declining employment in the formal sector and high levels of unemployment, especially in the rural areas. The main aims of the study were to provide the higher education institutions in the Eastern Cape (universities, technikons and technical colleges) with strategic cooperation scenarios for post-school education.
The final chapter assesses, one year after the Eastern Cape study was concluded, the contributions the project made to the continuing policy debates and processes. It discusses the direct and indirect use of research, the different expectations of different participants and some of the intended and unintended outcomes of the study.
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|Title of Paper:||National policy and regional response in South African higher education|
|Publisher:||David Philip Publisher, An imprint of New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd|
|City:||Claremont, Cape Town, South Africa|
|Document Type:||Booklet (Peer Reviewed)|
|Subject Area:||National Systems and Comparative Studies|
|Keywords:||Higher Education, South African Universities, Policy, Equity, Transformation of higher education|
|File Size:||711 KB|
|Rights:||Permission to use this document was granted by the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa.|
|Date Added:||22 August 2007|