International Conference

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The Change Management Unit (CMU) on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office at the University of South Africa hosted an international conference on the theme: The Dynamics of Changing Higher Education in the Global South, in partnership with the Archie Mafeje Research Institute for Applied Social Policy (AMRI) in the College of Graduate Studies at Unisa.  

This conference discussed the state of higher education in the Global South and examined the historical and contemporary changes that have implications for the very idea of the university, knowledge, curriculum, university institutional cultures, funding of higher education, teaching, learning and leadership. These are pertinent issues which are at the centre of the discourses and practices of change in higher education.

The current university as an institution across the world is facing severe criticism for perpetuating epistemicides, linguicides and alienating institutional cultures. In the Global South in particular, higher education institutions, some of which have  deep roots in colonialism and apartheid, are being challenged to demonstrate and prove whether they have undergone indigenisation, diversification, depatriachisation, decolonisation and democratisation. Comparative insights and experiences of change in the higher education sector from across the Global South are very important at this time of ‘doing change’.   

The key challenge facing the university is how to re-define itself in line with the demands of cognitive justice, access and relevance. The conference seeks to bring together academics and policy-makers, including officials from higher education institutions directly involved in steering change, in a dialogue about a range of key issues of transformation in higher education, but through the lens of the Global South. The eight main themes were as follows:

  1. Changing the ‘idea of the university’ and analysing the dynamics of change in higher education.
  2. Decolonising/ indigenising/ diversifying/ depatriarchising knowledge and curriculum.
  3. Investing in higher education and the role of governments. 
  4. Changing university institutional cultures.
  5. How do we build the ‘University of the Future’?
  6. Teaching, learning and assessment for a new generation of students.
  7. The role of ICTs in Open Distance and e-Learning. 
  8. Leadership for the transformation of African universities

 

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