A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
1 March 2002
RESTRUCTURING OF HIGHER EDUCATION: BRIEFING BY NATIONAL WORKING GROUP
Chairperson: Prof Mayatula (ANC)
The Restructuring of the Higher Education System in South African (Report of the National Working Group to the Minister of Education)
The Chair welcomed the members of the National Working Group, adding that he was looking forward to hearing about the Report that had been causing such a storm in South Africa..
Input by Chairperson of the National Working Group
Mr Saki Macozoma started by saying that the matter under consideration was of great national importance, because the landscape (of higher education) would be with us for a generation at least. He added that the restructuring was being done to establish a platform for the next twenty five years, for the benefit of South Africa. He added that South Africa was an emerging economy, and as such had to look at becoming part of the knowledge economy. He then introduced Ms Phekane from COSATU, Prof Africa, Dr Reddy, Prof Saunders, Dr Makgoba, Ms Morris and Mr Roussouw. He added that Maria Ramos and Matthew Rubin had also been part of the team, but were not able to attend the meeting.
Mr Macozoma said that the Report needed to be put into context, since many people approached it by picking up on a particular issue, and lost sight of the context within which the Report was framed. This led to confusion over what the focus of the Report was.
He started by examining the frames of reference that the committee had been given. He noted that there were certain matters, which fell outside these terms of reference, which some people felt the committee should have considered. The important issue was the restructuring of the institutional landscape in line with the March 2001 Department of Education report. The aims were to decide how best to reduce the number of institutions, not whether they should be reduced. He added that the reduction in the number of institutions did not mean the reduction in the number of sites for higher education. Mr Macozoma indicated that it would be likely that the number of sites would in fact increase. The overall aim was to increase the opportunities for access to higher education among population groups who had been previously discriminated against. He added, by way of illustration, that only fifteen percent of the population participated in some form of higher education. The problem to be addressed, as defined by the departmental White Paper on Higher Education was that Apartheid had been characterised by fragmentation and inequalities, and this had resulted in duplication and overlap in the courses offered within various regions.
He went on to explain the National Working Group's process. They had started by considering the policy documents that the Department had come up with. From here, the group had put together a number of working papers, which had facilitated the creation of various performance indicators. The group has also met with a variety of international experts to get a sense of the international experience of institutional mergers. The group subsequently arranged meetings with representatives from the 34 institutions concerned, where discussions were held over what the state of the institutions was, and what projections they had made for the institutions' futures. The group had then asked for written submissions from each of the institutions, in light of the information which had been discussed. The working group had then met with other stakeholders, such as unions, staff and members of NEDLAC, amongst others.
The specific goals of the working group were the fundamental restructuring of higher educational institutions, laying foundations consistent with the values, vision and principles of South African democracy, in order to produce viable, quality institutions. Mr Macozoma indicated that the group's point of departure had been the 'fitness for purpose' of the higher educational institution in terms of equity, sustainability and productivity.
Mr Macozoma went on to discuss some of the documents which had informed the group's approach. He said that the National Plan for Higher Education provided the framework for implementing the proposals contained in the White Paper. The CHE Report was also considered, which suggested that institutional restructuring could take different forms, including inter-institutional collaboration and the reduction of the number of institutions. The White Paper suggested the need to overcome fragmentation, inequity and inefficiency in order to meet the challenges of the RDP in the context of globalisation and its impact on knowledge and skills development.
In terms of the three areas identified under the general heading of 'fitness for purpose', Mr Macozoma said that promoting equity within the system meant doing away with ideological fragmentation while looking forward to what will best serve the South African population. In terms of sustainability, he emphasised that a long-term view was needed, in order to lay a solid foundation. He added that re-configuration should aim at strengthening the weak, rather than weakening the strong. This was in line with the idea that Higher Education in South Africa needed to become globally competitive by upholding rigorous academic standards. Institutions needed to be assisted in ensuring the existence of sound governance structures and good leadership. In terms of productivity, the group had been criticised for being overly technicist, but he suggested that there was a need to make institutions more productive. There was a need to improve throughput rates. As an illustration, he said that Prof Strumpf had yesterday pointed out that a particular institution was accepting students with a C-average, yet only thirty percent of the students were completing degrees in the recommended three years, fifty percent had failed and dropped out, and this was at a top institution. He added that there was a need to increase the output of post-graduate students, as they fed into leadership positions as well as into the academy and education.
The National Working Group had devised a set of indicators and benchmarks, through consultation with experts and examinations of various documents. These benchmarks, once identified, were discussed in a meeting with the vice-chancellors of all the institutions, and they made submissions. Where applicable, their recommendations had been included in the benchmarks. Of these benchmarks, only four out of the twelve were being met. These were student equity, enrolment stability, enrolment size and staff availability. However, among the benchmarks not being met were financial stability, publication outputs, Masters and Doctoral output, the percentage of graduates completing courses in three years and the qualifications of staff members. In terms of the system as a whole, this translated into the equity issues looking fairly robust, but the issue of quality being fairly problematic, particularly in technikons.
The recommendations of the group took the form of both general issues applicable to all regions, and then issues which were specific to the various regions. Mr Macozoma outlined some of the general recommendations, including the need for structured regional collaboration; the development of distinct progammes and mission foci for both universities and technikons; the creation of comprehensive institutions, which were at the same time able to prevent academic drift; the integration of the college sector, encompassing Education, Nursing and Agriculture; the strict regulation of distance education in contact institutions (some of which had tried to take advantage of funding structures by creating distance education programmes to swell enrolments) and the limiting of the unplanned proliferation of satellite campuses.
In closing, Mr Macozoma touched on some of the critical issues which had fallen outside the mandate of the group, but which had a bearing on the achievement of the group's aims. These were the need to strengthen management and leadership capacity, including commitment among managers; improving governance, improving staff productivity, both in terms of teaching and publications; the need to offer competitive remuneration to staff; the development of strategies for recruiting and retaining staff, developing an improved self-perception of the institutions, and taking steps to make allowances for the impact of HIV/AIDS, among other things. Mr Macozoma also pointed out that successful implementation required the commitment of government finances, the political and institutional will to see the process through and the setting of clear targets. He then handed over to the members of his team, to deliver reports on the various regions.
Eastern Cape recommendations
Prof Africa, the former Vice-Chancellor of Vista University, dealt with the Eastern Cape. He pointed out one of the issues which the team members had been forced to deal with, which was the fact that, when one represented an institution, it was difficult not to look at the potential benefits and costs to that institution, and in so doing lose sight of the system as a whole. He went on to say that the education system had taken up a trajectory towards sustainability. In light of this, the team appreciated the benefits of a minimalist approach to the system.
Prof Africa noted that the Eastern Cape currently has four universities and three technikons. He elaborated on the context of the Eastern Cape, saying that of the 500 000 people in higher education in South Africa, the Eastern Cape currently produced 56 000 people capable of entering higher education. The Eastern Cape had a need for institutions to provide for both rural and urban people. It also produced a very small number of post-graduate students, and the institutions as a whole were performing below the norms set by the Working Group.
The first recommendation was that PE University and PE Technikon be merged. This would ensure that the optimum enrolment figure of around 9000 students would be reached. The actual figure was hoped to be around 15 000 which would prove efficient and yield benefits in terms of economies of scale. He added that there should be articulation between the different levels, and this would raise participation levels to around 20%. It would also be possible to examine the utility of complementary programs that were currently being offered. The research outputs of these institutions to date had not been high, and there was a need to address this, a move that may be possible, after the pooling of finances which would help to introduce a degree of stability. The merger was felt to ensure constant growth in terms of provision.
The next case identified was that of the Universities of Rhodes and Fort Hare, with the medical faculty of the University of the Transkei. Prof Africa said that they had looked at the strengths, weaknesses and recent history of the institutions concerned. UniTra's recent history of financial difficulties was felt to be not immediately resolvable, but there was the chance of long-term stability, despite the reality of declining enrolments. He added that fluctuations in enrolments led to financial instability. He also said that UniTra had very low graduation rates. Rhodes had its own history, but its continued expansion was limited by the constraints upon its residential facilities, which could only accommodate 4500 when the optimum number would be 9000. The university had a reasonably good publication output. The stability at this institution was a function of its age, and the organisation of its infrastructure. Fort Hare was, according to Prof Africa, the doyen of black institutions in South Africa, but fluctuating enrolments had seen student numbers drop from 9000 to 4200. He added that Alice's history had changed, and that something had been lost in terms of atmosphere. The university also had small numbers of graduate outputs, as low as 536 in 2000, and a small research output.
Prof Africa continued that UniTra could not survive without continual unsustainable cash injections. The recommendation was that the medical school be added to the other two universities, to form a multi-campus university, with its growth point at East London. Fort Hare should continue to build on its past strengths, while reducing the range of its offerings. Both should develop information science programmes etc.
All other institutions are to be excluded from the area, except for the larger distance education institution OLUSA (the Open Learning University of South Africa). The new institution was expected to have an enrolment of around 10 000, with 30% in the sciences, 30% in commerce, and the remainder in humanities and education. It was expected that this would yield about 2800 graduates per year. It would also hopefully make it possible to increase the levels of post-graduates.
It was recommended that Border Technikon and the Technikon of East London merge. Talks were already underway between the two, and they were felt to complement each other, catering for both urban and rural populations. A strong technikon in the region of Umtata and East London would provide career-focussed education. The existence of two different institutions was felt to be a direct result of the Apartheid past, and therefore the merger was felt to be totally acceptable. The division among the faculties would be 35% science, 30% business and management, the remainder being humanities and education, reflecting the industrial orientation of technikon education.
Prof Makgoba said that this was the smallest region in SA, but that it was the economic powerhouse, accounting for 33% of enrolments at contact institutions. There are eight institutions in Gauteng: four technikons and four universities. He added that the three contact universities in Gauteng accounted for 30% of the total research output in the country over a ten-year period. The committee felt that there should be three technikons. One in the north, consisting of the merged Pretoria Tech and North West Technikon. Wits Technikon should remain as it was, as should Vaal Technikon. Each institution should examine its current strengths, its position in South Africa, and its orientation to the RDP.
In relation to the three universities concerned, he said that they had gone a long way towards addressing equity in staff and students, as well as the content of the research emanating from them. He did suggest that RAU and Pretoria were lagging behind slightly, and this should be addressed. Prof Makgoba pointed out that RAU focussed on the humanities, where Wits dealt largely with science and engineering. The areas of overlap in engineering, medicine and business should be addressed. He concluded by saying that internal restructuring would be likely to deal with these problems, and the institutions should remain separate.
Western Cape recommendations
Prof Reddy said that this was one of the strongest regions, with the three universities enrolling a total of 66 000 students. There was a general air of stability in the universities, with a good proportion of post-graduate students, average to good growth and good research output. There was a need to reduce some of the areas of overlap, in order to ensure sustainability. He added that Stellenbosch should do better in terms of access and equity. There was also a need for UCT and Stellenbosch to address the issue of staff equity, and empower students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. There was the recommendation that training programmes in medicine and the performing arts be rationalised. Prof Reddy also pointed out that, while there was some evidence of regional co-operation, this needed to be developed.
The most significant recommendation was that Pentech and the University of the Western Cape be merged, to form a comprehensive institution. UWC had been damaged by a drop in enrolment, a loss of good academic staff and management difficulties. These problems were felt likely to persist, especially in the face of staff moving to the other two institutions. The two institutions were felt to have certain synergies, such as similarities in programme profiles, and a strong articulation between university and technikon programmes. It was felt that UWC would benefit from Pentech's industrial links. It was also recommended that UWC and Stellenbosch consolidate their schools of dentistry. The comprehensive institution would in all likelihood enrol 18 000 students, with economies of scale and better administrative capacity providing space for growth and innovation.
KwaZulu Natal and Free State recommendations
Prof Saunders started by saying that the National Working Group's recommendations would aim at putting the past behind, by looking to the national interest, and not to parochial concerns or individual ambitions. KwaZulu Natal has 50 000 students, 14 000 of which were new this year. Yet none of the six institutions met the required graduation rates. The University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal had discussed a merger, which made sense in the light of unnecessary overlaps in programmes which was a waste of government money. But personality issues had hampered these talks. He went on to say that voluntary rationalisation does not work anywhere in the world. The universities should merge, thereby introducing rationalisation, strengthening the staff and putting the Apartheid divide in the past.
The University of Zululand was situated in a rural area, and consequently had difficulty attracting good quality staff. It recognised that it had difficulty acting as a university, and had proposed offering technikon subjects. In a meeting with staff members, it was recognised that Richard's Bay was a major growth area, which required technically trained graduates, and it was in this area that the institution was looking to expand itself. No other institution was to be allowed to be active in this area, except for the single large distance education institute.
There are currently three technikons in the region. M.L. Sultan and Technikon Natal are at an advanced stage of negotiation and will merge shortly. Mangosuthu Technikon should eventually merge into this larger institution, leaving Natal with one strong university and one strong technikon, and one comprehensive institution in the north.
The Free State was felt to be free from Apartheid, and free from controversy. There are 30 000 students, half of them within the province, and 23% involved in distance education. It was simply recommended that there be an acceleration of the merger between Free State University and the Qwa-Qwa campus of the University of the North.
Northern Province (Limpopo) recommendations
Prof Reddy said that this region contained the historically volatile University of the North and the University of Venda. There were 12 000 students, with a large failure rate and a low percentage of post-graduate students. He noted that the Qwa Qwa campus of the University of the North was merging with the University of the Free State. Medunsa was starting to focus its operations in the Northern Province. The University of the North, Venda and Medunsa should merge into a comprehensive institution, introducing technical subjects, which would focus on skills development. Medunsa was looking to build a new training hospital, and this should be done in line with the goal of concentrating Medunsa around Pietersburg. He concluded by saying that there was a distance factor in these considerations, but that with technology, such as email, this could hopefully be addressed.
North West Province recommendations
Prof Saunders said that Potchefstroom and the University of the North West both had unique histories and backgrounds. Potchefstroom had a reasonable record, although there was a need to increase its throughput. The major growth area for the university had been its satellite campus in Gauteng, but it had good finances, and a niche research area. The University of the North West had reasonably good finances, though this was not altogether clear owing to the absence of information. Prof Saunders indicated that one problem was the high dropout rates of students. These institutions had been in a process of negotiation, but it was recommended that they merge to produce a sustainable institution.
Mr Macozoma said that the overview was that South Africa would be left with eight universities, five comprehensive institutions and seven technikons. But an analysis of the number of sites reveals that there will actually be more sites for the provision of tertiary education in the new plan.
[Several questions were asked at one time, and answers given to a group of questions at the end. The questions and answers have been matched here for easier reading. However, some answers may appear incomplete. Mr Macozoma also asked different members of the team to deal with different questions.]
Mr Aucamp (AEB) mentioned that Mr Macozoma had indicated that residential universities should not be allowed to make use of distance education. He asked what the reason was for a student to choose a distance education programme, saying that he felt that it was because a student could not get to the residential university. He said that consequently, such programmes would not be in competition with contact universities in any one area, but only with OLUSA.
Prof Saunders said that, in relation to distance education, that it was not a case of 'I want to study x but can't get there so I will study through distance education'. What had been happening was that institutions were using private providers as agents miles away, and therefore the contact was very remote. Yet the institution was able to increase its funding by showing increased enrolments. This was unacceptable. They were not recommending a blanket ban on distance education, as there were instances where this was acceptable, rather the intention was to stamp out abuse.
Mr Macozoma added that there was also the advent of telematic education, which was acceptable, and currently being used by the University of Potchefstroom. The main problem was that institutions were claiming to have transformed, when the majority of their black students were not on the campus. The group had however found that a telematic approach was a viable option for a number of sites.
Mr Aucamp asked how the existence of two distinct cultures in any university would be dealt with in a merger, for example, in the case of Potchefstroom with its religious character.
Mr Macozoma replied that cultural diversity needed to be encouraged. The reality was that, for example in the North West Province, the focus was on agriculture, and people of all races lived side-by-side on farms. Therefore the question was why should this not happen in the university. He added that he had confidence in Theuns Eloff's ability to address these issues at Potch, but that North-West still needed some leadership.
Ms Mnandi (ANC) asked if the national benchmarks developed by the group were the same for both Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDIs) and other institutions, and if so, how were the playing fields levelled.
Prof Makgoba dealt with the issue of benchmarks. He said that they were aimed at standardising over time, and their general focus had been on inputs and outputs, taken from documents produced over the last ten years. The benchmarks represent the Plan for Higher Education, which emerged at this time. There had been an attempt to distinguish technikons from universities. He also said that the benchmarks were goal-oriented and related to international standards. For example, in the UK, the norm was for five publications per year, and the group had only asked for one. But no distinction had been made between HDIs and other institutions. He said that all institutions were given money to conduct research, and if the research was not being done, clearly there were problems.
The Chairperson, Prof Mayatula, said that the issue was difficult. In relation to technikons, he said that the gap between the reality and the benchmark suggested that perhaps the benchmark had been set too high, and the danger was that, if combined with a university into a comprehensive institution, they will be struggling to achieve even higher standards and goals.
Mr Macozoma responded by adding that adjustments had been made, and that the institutions had seen themselves as being at a certain place, when in fact they were not there yet. In terms of adjustments for HDIs, he said that the litmus test of any institution was how the products of those institutions competed in the marketplace, as they would compete with people from all institutions. It was understood and accepted that HDIs bear the burden of the poor and under-prepared students. He felt that White institutions must be forced to accept their share of the burden, and a new culture needed to be created in South African education. He added that the new emerging institutions needed to be resourced to strengthen themselves. The solution was not felt to be the creation of separate standards, as this would perpetuate the situation that HDIs were an underclass. Rather, the goal was the use of funding to create improvements in terms of the standards drawn up.
Prof Africa added that some technikons aspired to be universities, and had been offered the chance to offer degree programmes. But in terms of quality, they were nowhere near the universities. The study helped to clarify the amount of input needed to bring them closer to the ideal.
Mr van Heerden (ANC) said that there was a temptation to respond to the issues on a personal level, and he also thanked the team for their efforts. There was a perception on the ground that the institutions affected are the HDIs. He added that these were Apartheid creations, but that they now had a specific place in the history of the struggle. He mentioned the example of Pentech and UWC, where the other two universities in the area, Historically White Institutions (HWIs), were not seemingly affected. He asked how the panel felt they, as representatives of various communities, should deal with the perceptions in the community.
In relation to the perceptions that only HDIs are affected, Mr Macozoma said that all universities were affected. Even where there was no incorporation, the issues flagged in the Report represented the challenges that the institutions needed to deal with. He also said that the outputs in White universities fell below the norm.
Mr Mpontshane (IFP) said that he had watched the television show 'Newsmaker" in which there had been an interview with Prof Ngconde who had expressed a degree of dissatisfaction. Mr Mponsthane asked whether the proposals of the academcics had been considered, and if so, why were they upset now? While the working group was not concerned with the names of the institutions, the strict definition of a merger meant that either a new name would be developed, or the other names would be subsumed into the larger institution. This raised a concern for him over the 'wiping out' of history, such as that surrounding Fort Hare. He asked for the group's opinions.
Dr Reddy said that, in terms of consultation, every institution had been consulted, as well as the various unions. He added that they had met with Prof Ngconde and about ten other people from his institution.
Mr Macozoma also said that he had talked to the professor, as a friend of his. He added that the issue of consultation had become something of a moving target. Prof Seepe had suggested that the issues were not adequately discussed by black academics. Consequently, they were perpetually in a position of being reactionary, rather than engaging with the issues adequately. There was no room to consult on whether this should be done, but simply on how best to do it. This meant the need for extensive consultation in the implementation process.
Ms Phekane dealt with the question over the naming of institutions. She said that for any merger to be successful, there needed to be an agreement between the two institutions. The name would form part of this agreement.
Another member of the ANC asked the committee how they could be sure, in the case of the merger between Fort Hare and Rhodes, that this would yield an institution with enrolment figures of 10 000 students, and that this figure would remain stable. In relation to the University of Zululand, the feeling was that it was struggling because it was situated in a rural area, and Prof Stuart had said that the packages on offer were not enough to attract staff. Yet why was there no recommendation that it be made more attractive to quality staff? In terms of the link with Richard's Bay, his concern was the same as Mr Mpontshane, that the identity and history of the institution would be lost.
In relation to the issue of enrolment figures and Fort Hare, Prof Africa said that there was a strong degree of uncertainty over the figures, since the figures were related to the projected outputs of secondary schools, and changes to that system could not be predicted. The aim was for the establishment of a controlled and managed growth plan. Thus, while they could not be absolutely certain, they could project numbers and plan accordingly.
In terms of the issue of the rural University of Zululand, Mr Macozoma suggested that the group did not take the view that no university could run in a rural area. But there was a need for the existence of an underlying infrastructure. He said university towns developed an underlying infrastructure organically, over time. A university town could not be created by throwing money at the problem, since it depended on various factors, such as a sense of community being created. Over time, each of the institutions would respond to the demands at each of the sites, since this was a long-term plan and different needs can be addressed to harness and make use of the 'nodes of growth' identified for each institution.
Prof Makgoba said that each institution had been asked to submit a written viewpoint on the issue of potential mergers. These were very similar to what appeared in the final report. In relation to the issue of towns, staff were not simply looking to live and work in an area. They had families, and thus were concerned about schooling and other issues. Providing a more attractive package would not solve these problems.
Mr Ntuli (ANC) pointed out that the Report used the phrase 'independent' and 'separate' - how did this relate to the idea that institutions would be affected by the proposed changes? He also said that, if there was to be a merger of the various colleges, surely agricultural colleges were constrained in terms of location by the environment. Similarly, nursing colleges would need to be near hospitals etc. How was this to be dealt with if they were to merge?
Mr Macozoma explained that nursing and agriculture were to be merged with larger institutions, but this did not necessarily have an impact on the sites at which training was to be provided. He briefly clarified the use of 'separate' and 'independent'. He said that this was to distinguish certain institutions from those to be merged.
Mr Ntuli pointed out that Unitra was beset by problems of management and poor governance. He asked how a merger was expected to improve this situation. What guarantees were there that lower standards would not be created at certain sites, for example by the sending of junior lecturers to certain sites? In relation to the issue of under-prepared students, he had heard reports that admission criteria were being abused at Wits, with people being placed in assisted enrolment programs, where they were merely marking time for two years.
Prof Makgoba dealt with the issue of Wits, and the way it handled under-prepared students, which had been argued to result in the ghettoisation of black students. He said that there is a clear need to transform the cultures in certain institutions because this problem had been identified at the HWI's. However, whether this could be solved by setting targets was another issue. He added that he knew Wits, UCT and Natal were trying different methods to facilitate access for under-prepared students, including catch-up courses. Yet despite this, rates of attrition were high. He also said that there were other structures which are hopefully moving towards improving this. He suggested the possibility of using the benchmarks identified by the group, and following them up at a later stage.
Ms Gandhi (ANC) said that the past had been characterised by racial exclusion and uneven development. She asked when things were changed around, how the process of exclusion (related to location, fees and admission criteria) would be changed to reflect the demographics of the country. She cited the example of the medical school at Natal University, which was historically black. She asked why the demographics had not changed. She concluded by saying that the recommendations were good, but that the implementation would determine their success.
Ms Phekane said that, as yet, no guidelines had been drawn up to ensure that the objectives of the restructuring were being met. She suggested that this might be a job for the Portfolio Committee.
Mr Abrams (ANC) discussed the issue of UWC and Pentech. He said that these institutions had an ethos of service for previously disadvantaged communities, and in this way differed from UCT and Cape Tech. He said that surely the same was true of UDW. Yet UDW was able to merge with the University of Natal. He questioned whether this would not lead to Pentech and UWC continuing to be stigmatised as institutions providing inadequate education to poor people.
Dr Reddy said that his understanding of the question was, 'If you bring together a number of HDIs, would this not just compound the problem?' for example, in the case of Pentech and UWC, as with many of the HDIs, there are similar problems. His response was that combining such institutions introduced economies of scale and a more focussed leadership. There was still the need to invest in governance, IT and student development. Comprehensive institutions had the advantage that they combined the industry strength of a technikon, particularly in the links with industry which provided a greater understandings of the demands for certain types of training, with the research strengths of a university. In terms of stigma, challenging this was felt to be a long-term process.
Prof Saunders pointed out that the Working Group's purpose was to strengthen higher education. He added that the University of Zululand was likely to disappear altogether without the addition of technikon-type programs. UWC has serious sustainability problems, despite the recent improvements. If the institution continues to struggle over the coming years, then the fear could be fulfilled that it would be seen as an inferior institution. It was the belief of the Working Group that the merger of the relative strengths would lead to the creation of a single strong institution. Taking the recommendations as a whole, if the situation was left as it is, there would be a dysfunctional higher education system. The proposals represented an opportunity to turn this around.
Mr Nzimande (ANC) asked what the view was with regard to rearranging staff in relation to the vision that the group, and South Africa were attempting to create. He suggested that the picture could be clarified through the use of an organogram of some sort. He also asked for some elaboration on higher education in the Northern Cape.
Mr Macozoma said that Mr Nzimande's suggestion that an organogram be drawn up of where the system was and where it was going, was a good idea. In terms of the plans for higher education in other provinces, such as Mpumulanga, he was unsure as the plans were still in the process of being drawn up. These other provinces had expressed their concern that the best and brightest in the province were leaving the province and never coming back which affected the geographic balance of development.
With regard to Medunsa and the University of the North, Mr Nzimande asked if it was expected that there would be a relocation from Pretoria.
In terms of consultation, Prof Makgoba said that some students and communities were represented on the institutional councils, and there had been consultation with directors of collaborative structures. Student organisations had been invited to meetings, but that they had not shown up.
Mr Nzimande asked if, in terms of consultation, there had been an effort to engage with those who might not be considered 'heavyweights', such as students and representatives from the communities.
In relation to the relocation/merger of Medunsa, Mr Macozoma said that the merger was due to take place immediately, but that the relocation would form part of a gradual restructuring and development of the institution.
A committee member reference to the legacy of a divide in which black was seen as inferior. In terms of the recent struggle for transformation, he asked where the commitment came from in the HWIs. If they did participate, how could it be guaranteed that satellites did not become glorified high schools? He also asked if there were guidelines for the mergers.
In terms of the issue of commitment in HWIs, Mr Macozoma said that the leadership of the country, and the government, would prove instrumental in this regard. From here, resourcing was needed, from both the private and State sectors. The private sector had shown itself to be selective in its resourcing of institutions, and this was likely to be another battle which would need to be fought. Transformation could not be left to academics, because "higher education is far too important to leave it to academics".
Mr Macozoma returned to the issue of ghettoisation, saying that it should not be allowed to happen. For example, at Wits, there were certain programs that people from different racial groups desired. For example, certain programs were to be located in Soweto, such as medical programs next to Baragwanath Hospital, so that medical research could be done there. The issue of ghettoisation can and needs to be addressed. In terms of racial exclusions, Mr Macozoma said that his first experience of a contact institution was at Wits in the 1980s where he had been involved in advising them on academic assistance programs. He added that there are measures that can be taken to support students. Ultimately, the success would depend on levelling the playing fields, which involved changing attitudes on both sides.
Prof Mayatula asked what the logic was behind the focus on Umtata in the case of UniTra.
Prof Africa said that there had not been an attempt to find one solution to fit all the regions. In the case of UniTra, the consideration was that, if Umtata was to become a hub of development, it would be desirable to offer all programs in that area. There would need to be an examination of the needs of the area, in deciding what programs are to be offered.
Mr Macozoma concluded by thanking the chairperson and his committee for the invitation to make the presentation, and thanked his team for their input and hard work.
Prof Mayatula said that he felt that there were specific areas which would have to be taken up, such as UWC/Pentech, but broadly speaking, he felt that it had been a worthwhile meeting, and he thanked the group and the committee. The meeting was adjourned.