The restructuring of South African higher education: Rocky roads from policy formulation to institutional mergers, 2001-2004
Teresa Barnes, Narend Baijnath and Kalawathie Sattar, editors
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About the book
The result of a three-year research project undertaken by the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of the Western Cape, this book examines the processes of restructuring following on the government's decision in 2001/2002: to radically reform the legacy of ‘the geopolitical imagination of the apartheid planners’ in higher education. In this innovative attempt to get under the skin of what was clearly the most major intervention in South African higher education since 1959, two key elements formed the backbone of the research: a set of site-based observers on each campus, and regular interviews with key informants at each case-study site.
Because the decision to merge the institutions was far-reaching but widely contested – the aim of the study was to gather descriptive information to analyse to what extent the mergers were helping the sector towards the lofty goals of the 2001 National Plan for Education – were the mergers advancing the causes of equity and increasing student access to higher education?
The findings brought together here represent a comprehensive range of institutions. The main researchers, all institutional insiders, represent strong diversity in training and perspectives, and their contributions are enlivened by personal insights and supported by key tables and figures.
More about the book
In terms of finances and as a continuing reminder of the institutionalisation of apartheid, these higher education institutions were an enormous burden for the new state after 1994. Numerous studies inquired into and illuminated the funding, programme and resource inequalities from which they were constituted and maintained. The privileged institutions had a full range of disciplinary offerings, tailor-made funding, alumni with large, willing chequebooks, and easy access to third-stream research and development funding. The historically disadvantaged institutions, on the other hand, were either distorted, usually somewhat flawed versions of the privileged institutions, or were small but dedicated and creative outposts of cramped development, where a great deal was done with relatively little funding or autonomy.
The legacy of these inequalities manifested in many different ways, not least of which was the dearth of black professionals and scholars.
In 2002, it was announced that some of the 36 institutions would be merged with others in an effort to mitigate the inequities of higher education and the financial drag that these had imposed on the entire system for a protracted period.
This book is the result of a three-year research project undertaken in 2002 by the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Supported by the Carnegie Foundation, the aim was to study the processes that were put into gear when the new South African government decided in 2001–2002 on a major and far-reaching initiative to address the legacy of “the geopolitical imagination of the apartheid planners” in higher education.
The SAHEMS project was focused on studying the higher education mergers as they happened, and from the inside. Because the decision to merge the institutions was so large-scale and contested, the aim of the study was to gather descriptive information on the institutions and the change processes. In addition, an assessment was made around whether or not the mergers were helping the sector in these years, towards the lofty goals of the 2001 National Plan for Education. Specifically, would the mergers advance the causes of equity and of increasing student access to higher education?
In this innovative attempt to get under the skin of what was clearly the most major intervention in South African higher education since 1959, two key elements formed the backbone of the research; a set of site-based observers on each campus, and regular key informant interviewing at each case study site. A key feature of the study is that the main researchers, all institutional insiders, represent strong diversity in training and perspectives. The study also covers a diverse range of institutions.
Case studies reveal the experiences of merging institutions, which highlight the potential for the “potent force of different institutional cultures colliding with the merger process” to influence the process and outcomes.
About the contributors
In the immediate post-merger period, he was appointed Vice Principal: Planning and Research in the new Unisa. There, he spearheaded a ten-year plan. His current responsibilities include planning, international relations and partnerships, quality assurance, and management information and business intelligence. In 2007 he was a visiting fellow at the Von Hugel Institute, St Edmunds College, Cambridge University, and simultaneously a visiting research professor at the Open University of the United Kingdom.
Teresa Barnes is Associate Professor of History at the University of the Western Cape. She holds an undergraduate degree from Brown University in the United States, and honours, Masters’ and PhD degrees in African Economic History from the University of Zimbabwe. She has taught at Appalachian State University and the University of Minnesota in the USA, and since 1997 at the University of the Western Cape. She has guest-edited two issues of the journal Feminist Africa, and is a member of the editorial advisory boards of The Journal of African History and The Journal of Women’s History. She has published two books and a number of journal articles in Zimbabwean history. Her research interests include gender and urban labour in southern Africa, and higher education studies.
Lesley Anne Cooke is a Manager in the Centre for Quality Promotion and Assurance (CQPA) at the Durban University of Technology. In 1977 she was awarded a BSc in Combined Studies in Science (Biology and Geology) from Sunderland Polytechnic (now the University of Sunderland) in the United Kingdom. She is a graduate of the Royal Institute of Biology (Microbiology Honours), and has a Cert. Ed. (Further Education) and an MEd: Educational (Curriculum) Studies (cum laude) from the University of Natal (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal), which was awarded in 2001.
Lesley began her teaching career in England, teaching biology in a variety of types and levels of Further Education qualifications. She relocated to South Africa with her husband and daughter in 1992. From 1993 until the merger in 2002, she worked at the ML Sultan Techikon in Student Academic Development and Curriculum Development. In 2003 she was appointed to the CQPA at the newly merged Durban University of Technology. Her main research interests have focused around curriculum design and development, in particular the challenges of modularisation of the curriculum. She was a contributor to ‘Curriculum restructuring in post-apartheid South Africa’, which was published in 2001. Her recent research has concentrated on mergers in higher education and Work Integrated Learning in the context of universities of technology.
Benito Khotseng is currently the General Secretary of the Academy of Science and Technology of South Africa (ASSF). He also acts as the Director of BMBM Development and Research Consultancy. He holds MEd and PhD degrees in Comparative and International Education from the University of Natal. He has advanced training in leadership and management of higher education from Harvard University. He has also completed advanced training in the management of institutional diversity with National Coalition Institute (NCBI) in Washington DC.
He taught in a number of schools, and later became a rector of a training college. He was a dean of the Faculty of Education at QwaQwa branch of the University of the North, a deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Free State and the University of Cape Town, and a visiting Professor at Seton Hall University, New Jersey, in the School of International and Higher Education. His research interests are in higher education, leadership development and diversity management.
Nicolette Roman lecturers in the Psychology and Social Work Departments at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), supervising and mentoring research studies of postgraduate students across disciplines. Her teaching career began at a disadvantaged primary school in Eerste Rivier, and she has taught and lectured for 15 years, educating children (including children with learning difficulties), youths and adults. Nicolette holds a BA in Educational Psychology, a Higher Diploma in Education, and an MA in Child and Family Studies (cum laude) from the University of the Western Cape. In 2007 she submitted her doctoral dissertation in Psychology at UWC. During her tenure as a student, Nicolette was awarded scholarships by DAAD and VLIRR and received the Golden Key Award for academic excellence. Her research interests include child and family well-being and interaction, as well as mixed methodological designs.
Kalawathie (Bella) Sattar is the Director of the Centre for Quality Promotion and Assurance at the Durban University of Technology. She was awarded a BSc degree from the University of Durban Westville (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal) in 1976. Subsequently she was employed at the ML Sultan Technikon (now the Durban University of Technology) and proceeded to study through the University of South Africa (Unisa), where she was awarded a Diploma in Tertiary Education (cum laude). Her further qualifications include the National Higher Diploma: Medical Technology from the ML Sultan Technikon, and in 1996 she was awarded an MMedSc degree by the University of Natal.
Bella has a keen interest in service-learning; she has conducted collaborative research with the manager of the Community Higher Education Services Project (CHESP) of the Joint Education Trust on managing the quality of service learning. Another area of research is mergers and institutional culture. Currently her research is in the area of quality management of work-integrated learning with a specific interest in integrating quality and planning in a University of Technology.
Bella served as a member of the first Board of the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) and subsequently was a member of the Audit Committee of the HEQC. She participated in the plenary panel of the 6th International Research Conference on Service-Learning in Portland in October 2006, and was one of five contributors to the publication Service-learning in the curriculum: A resource for Higher Education Institutions (June 2006), published by CHESP.
Devi Sarinjieve holds undergraduate, honours and professional qualifications from the University of Durban-Westville and the University of South Africa, and MA, MPhil, MEd and PhD degrees from Columbia University. She has taught at Vista University in Soweto. She was the winner of a Fulbright Scholarship in 1982, and a Fulbright scholar-in-residence at Daytona Beach College, Florida from August 2007 until May 2008, where she taught composition and literature and conducted special seminars. Her research interests include women's issues, masculinities, race relations, critical race theory and whiteness studies, and knowledge production and circulation.
List of tables and figures