2019 White Paper for Science, Technology and innovation & Post School Education & Training

Higher Education, Science and Technology

20 August 2019
Chairperson: Mr M Mapulane, (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee received presentations on the White Papers of the Department of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) and Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

The DSTI presentation outlines the department’s initial thoughts on becoming the new Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), the White Paper, and on the silent majority and postgraduate engineering training. Emphasis is placed on state procurement of innovation, local consumption of domestic innovative products and the establishment of public-private collaborations to encourage innovation. A big challenge that is highlighted is the cultivation of a culture of valuing Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), integrating STI into government planning and budgeting at the highest level.

The DHET presentation outlines the relationship between the National Development Plan (NDP), the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training (WPPSET) and the National Plan for Post School Education and Training (NPPSET). The WPPSET is an intermediate level policy instrument that defines the priorities for the department to build and strengthen the Post School Education and Training (PSET) system.  It directs the department to create a concrete development plan for the period up to 2030. The NPPSET fulfilled this directive.

The Minister and the Committee raised concerns over the confusion with the placement of the two departments: DHET and DSI and asked the Minister to update the Committee once he has sought clarity from the President so that members can better understand where to locate their roles.

Members wanted the department to consider including the Public Service as a key focus of innovation. If public services such as renewal of drivers’ licences were made simpler, then communities would change because they would be liberated to start thinking about ways to build innovation. They supported the decision to keep the state-owned pharmaceutical company ‘Biovac Institute’ away from competitive bidding. The Committee agreed with the Minister that private pharmaceutical companies would make vaccines cheaper to stifle out competition which would result in the collapse of Biovac. Private companies would then increase their prices or stop producing the vaccines altogether. They expressed approval over the Sovereign Innovation Fund and asked how it would be funded. Members were horrified at the study which showed that only 4% of every 100 students that enter the education system graduate with a degree after 18 years of study. The Committee emphasised that in order to address this serious problem, education needs to be streamlined from basic education to higher education and that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Higher Education (DHET) need to work together to ensure students are adequately prepared for higher education. They urged the DHET to introduce a compulsory course at tertiary institutions to assist first-year students to make the transition into higher education and address the high drop-out rates of first year students, especially those from disadvantaged communities.

The Committee was alarmed at the collapse of governance systems at historically disadvantaged universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. This resulted in students being subjected to inhuman conditions on campus and in residences. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) also needs to address the issue of students not receiving their stipends for months on end.

The Chairperson assured the Committee that Members of the ruling party would always critically engage with and hold the Department accountable.

Meeting report

Apologies were received from the Minister, Dr B Nzimande (ANC), who indicated that he would like to be excused before the adjournment of the meeting to attend to other pressing matters.

Ms N Mkhatshwa (ANC) had indicated she would be arriving late.

Prof B Bozzoli (DA) was on sick leave.

Opening remarks

The Chairperson said that the entire day had been set aside for the Committee meeting. Therefore, presenters could be thorough in their presentations. The Chairperson welcomed the Members back from recess.  He hoped Members were rejuvenated and had the opportunity to engage with their constituencies. He pointed out that the country was going through an interesting period with a lot going on in the political arena. He mentioned that there was a plenary session scheduled for Thursday afternoon. The President was due to appear before the National Assembly (NA) to answer questions. He acknowledged that it would not be easy, given what was happening in the country, but that the President was equal to the task and would rise to the occasion and clarify what was happening. 

Opening remarks by the Minister

The Minister thanked the Chairperson, Members and the support staff for their work. In thanking the Chairperson for his understanding, the Minister said that he would need to be excused just before 12pm and would unfortunately miss the Higher Education Presentation but assured the Committee that he was available to be called back should Members find it necessary. He is always willing to appear before the Committee to account.

The Minister said that he had not finished the handover and instruction process with both Departments because there were still so many stakeholders he had to meet. He mentioned that there had not been a prior briefing by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) on the White Paper (WP) and implementation plan, but he decided to come before the Committee nevertheless and would also pay attention during the presentations. Things were currently different as the Chairperson pointed out. The White Paper on Post-School Education and Training and implementation plan were both adopted before the new landscape that brought the DHET and the Department of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) under the purview of one Minister. This meant that there could be changes after the briefing before the Committee. The Minister was keen to immediately identify through both WP’s what the synergies and divergences between the two Departments are, that might have implications in the future. This was why he found it necessary to present before the Committee and pointed out that the input from Members, as well as criticism was needed. The Minister stated that the WP exists, but the Plan has not yet been adopted by the Department because it is still a work in progress.

The Minister clarified that in his understanding, his ministry remained Higher Education, Science and Technology (HEST). However, one department is going to be the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), and the other remains DHET. He sought confirmation that the Portfolio Committee was ‘Higher Education, Science and Technology because in his understanding the Committees’ are structured along the lines of the ministries. He would bring this up with the President, who would ultimately decide on the matter.

With reference to the WP on Science and Technology, the Minister said that it was aimed at developing a new WP because the last WP was produced in 1996 and a lot had happened since then, including a lot of achievements under that old White Paper. In highlighting a few of these achievements, he mentioned that over the past 20 years, the Department’s scientific publications had doubled from 0.04% to 0.88% which he felt was an important improvement. The Department was ranked 62 out of 120 countries, and although this was slightly lower than the 2012 ranking of 52, he explained that by ‘developing country’ standards the ranking was very high and it showed that the country had a lot more potential. A lot of patents had been registered in the past 20 years, and a lot of industries had been generated, such as the vaccine industry which was in the media recently.

 

With reference to the Biovac Institute (Biovac), a company in which the government is a majority shareholder through DSI, the Minister expressed the importance of mentioning it to the Committee because the Members might also be expected to have a say. He explained that there was a challenge. National Treasury (NT) was arguing that Biovac is a State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) and should bid to supply vaccines like any other multinational company. The Minister feels that this would make the SOE non-viable. This contrasted with the initial aim not to subject the supply of critical vaccines in the country to the market forces. He cautioned that this would result in private companies supplying the same vaccines at cheaper prices which would result in Biovac collapsing, thereafter private companies would increase the price of their vaccines or stop producing the vaccines the country needed. This is how most Pharmaceutical companies operate. The Minister would be meeting with his colleagues from the department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Treasury and the Department of Health (DOH) to discuss the matter. This matter also affected a previous decision taken by the governing party (ANC) to establish a State pharmaceutical company. This decision was halted by Treasury, which indicated that the government should not be given preferential treatment in terms of the supply of certain drugs. However, the Minister was asked to revive the issue of a state-owned pharmaceutical company. He felt that Biovac illustrated an advancement in some respects.

Another innovation the Minister pointed out was the ‘hydrogen fuel cell’. He expressed disappointment after a visit to an entity funded by the Department to produce a South African car, which was unsuccessful. He pointed out that this was due to a lot of problems and hoped that state capture was not one of them. This illustrates that since the 1996 White Paper, a lot of advances were made and there was still a lot of potential. This required fresh policy responses to the rapidly changing world of technological advancements.

The Minister handed back to the Chairperson.

The Chairperson said that he had previously been in a meeting with Dr Phil Mjwara, Director-General (DG), DSTI, where the issue of Biovac was discussed extensively. He hoped the issue will be solved soon because when listening to both the Minister and Dr Mjwara, he was happy with the Departments approach. He agreed that the state should play a part in the supply of vaccines to hospitals, and that this should never be left to profit driven markets. He added that he did not want to go into any further details in order to allow Dr Mjwara to present the White Paper. He thanked the Minister.

Briefing by Department of Science, Technology and Innovation on the White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation: Overview

Initial thoughts on becoming the new Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)

Dr Phil Mjwara, DG, DSTI, pointed out the challenges previously encountered by the DST in carrying out innovation and technology in South Africa (SA). These included companies not showing confidence in private-sector products often adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach ultimately leading them to move off-shore. Government departments that embarked on ‘innovative indicatives’ were unsuccessful because they were not grounded in the latest innovative thinking, nor were they properly coordinated or funded at critical mass.  He then listed international examples of Science and Innovation (S&I) governance from other G20 members, the African Union (AU) and Southern African Community Development (SADC).  These included eight G20 countries that had included S & I functions as part of government departments by grouping S&I with Higher Education or dealing with S&I through dedicated departments. (See Annexure B).

The WP addresses the challenge of combining science, technology and innovation enablers to advance innovation in the country. Science enablers such as public research funds, higher education, intellectual property rights, and the technology enablers such as institutions to link research and industry and public procurement lie within the department. However, innovation enablers such as competition regulation and consumer protection lie outside of the two departments. This showed an important need for a collaborative effort across departments in implementing innovation. As a result, the evolving South African Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy landscapes and synergies between departments were being explored. This would lead to better partnerships among departments to bring about innovation.

The WP outlined several policy proposals on STI. Dr Mjwara highlighted a few. One proposal was to increase the innovation footprint across provinces and local governments. An example he referred to were S&I parks set up in Shanghai because of a signed agreement with government. Another proposal was to use innovation to improve government decision making and service delivery. This could make exercises like renewing a licence at the Traffic Department or going through emigration at the airport much more efficient processes. The last proposal involved up-scaling grassroots innovation to benefit communities, which would be done through detailed programs.

Building on the foundation of the previous DSI

Dr Mjwara explained that one of the biggest challenges was to upscale sustainable livelihood projects previously set up by the DSI. Some examples were the Indigenous Knowledge-Based Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods (Loveday 1, Loveday 2, Khanya and Khanyisa) in the Eastern Cape. Another example is the Moringa Technology Transfer. There is also four 100% black-owned Small Medium Micro Enterprise (SMMEs) registered and incubated at BioPark Incubator. This presents the potential for these initiatives to be up-scaled massively.

Dr Mjwara elaborated on some examples of how the department used S&I to modernise sectors such as agriculture, mining, and manufacturing. DST’s partnership with the Minerals Council of South Africa (MCSA) was featured prominently in the launch of the Mandela Mining Precinct (MMP) by the Minister of Science and Technology in September 2018. In agriculture, the department invested R25 million in the last five years in a wheat breeding platform to support farmers with new technologies. Pre-breeding research is also funded by the department and the winter cereal trust.

Dr Mjwara also highlighted few ideas linked to innovation, this included the Lumkani fire detector, a low-cost fire detection device that was coupled with a radio frequency alert service. This was useful in informal settlements prone to rampant shack fires. It distributed this to homes across the country and lowered the instances of fires creating a sense of security in communities. This had also mitigated damages over R10 million through early warning fire detection. It also led to job creation. 3D printing/additive manufacturing is another innovative idea making a difference. Technology stations such as the one at the Central University of Technology (CUT) had established a Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing. The centre gives reconstructive surgery to state patients who suffered from severe facial disfigurement and did not have access to medical aid funds. Other examples included low-cost cricket bat manufacturing, low-cost rugby wheelchair manufacturing, and a mosquito repellent sock.

The White Paper: Themes and overview of policy and intents

The WP outlines the vision of the 2019 STI White Paper to be the science, technology and innovation enabling inclusive, sustainable South African development in a changing world. Dr Mjwara elaborated on a few of the objectives of the 2019 STI WP. These included: adopting a whole-of-government/society approach to innovation. This ought to include the private sector; instilling a culture of valuing STI and integrating STI into government planning and budgeting at the highest level. This would be the biggest challenge; and creating a more innovative-enabling environment.

The WP also outlined five policy intents:

  • Coherent and inclusive governance – which includes an annual STI plenary chaired by the Presidency, where business, civil society, academia, and government could discuss National Science Innovation (NSI) needs. Besides that, would be a Ministerial STI structure, chaired by the Minister of Science and Technology to adopt an innovation compact to drive coordination, approve decadal plans and secure resources.
  • Enabling innovation – which includes aligning incentives, growing business and SME support.
  • Targeting new sources of growth e.g. Green Economy & the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • Expand and transform human capabilities – which includes the increase of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pipeline. The expansion of Centres of Excellence (CoE), South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChl) and increased support for women and emerging researchers.
  • Expand and transform research enterprise – these include focusing on researches in national priorities and funding them appropriately and developing a diversity of knowledge fields, e.g. trans-disciplinary research, indigenous knowledge, innovation, and business science. These would be specific areas of work.
  • Increased STI investments – which includes integrating STI into government planning and budgeting at the highest levels.

Dr Mjwara said that the 10-year plan needed to be finalised by October.

Silent majority and postgraduate engineering training

Dr Mjwara detailed the challenges in expanding scholars. Working with the Deputy Vice-Chancellors (DVC) of Research, the DST unearthed the ‘Silent Majority’ in the Higher Education sector – which largely consists of senior lecturers and lecturers in the emerging researchers’ pipeline. Women made up 46% of all senior lecturers. Blacks (African, Coloured and Indians) made up 43% of all senior lecturers. Women made up 53% of all lecturers, and Blacks made up 63% of all lecturers. At both lecturer and senior lecturer level, there was underrepresentation. 56% of senior lecturers had PhDs and only 42% of these were actively publishing. 18% of lecturers had PhDs, and only 25% of these were actively publishing. Dr Mjwara added that this was worrying. It illustrated that most lecturers were not publishing. The government will work with universities to address this issue.

Discussion

Dr W Boshoff (FF+) referred to the hydrogen cell engine and wanted to know whether it produced electricity that could power electric cars or scooters. Regarding Biovac, he had asked someone he knows in the pharmaceutical industry what they could tell him about the company, and he was informed that there was a lot of stealing going on in the company. He needed to know if that was just a perception, or if that was the kind of problem associated with SOEs. He referred to an answer the Minister had given him in a parliamentary question which related to the National Research Fund (NRF). He clarified that his remarks did not refer to the researchers who could access funding from the NRF. He pointed out that the grant system was an integral part of the financing model of universities, however, entities like the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) did not get funding for the research done by their employees, and this was confirmed by the Minister.

Mr P Keetse (EFF) welcomed the presentation. He pointed out that it reflected a lot of improvement on many issues covered by the Department. He questioned the material aim of the entire Department, considering the fact that the Dr Mjwara quoted Prof Mariana Mazzucato who was previously quoted by the President when he said that “the success of the U.S. economy relied heavily on innovation and technology” which perhaps tied in with the aim of the Department because it is clear there is a variety of innovations that the department is supporting. Mr Keetse wanted to know how DSI would help economically.

Mr Keetse said that he felt there was a general characterisation in Committees regarding the behaviour of Members from the opposition benches. It was perceived that every time a Member from the opposition took a stand and spoke, that they were opposing. He pointed out that in the Committee, the focus is not of opposition, but ways to build and suggest concrete mechanisms on how the country can be taken forward. He added that this posed a serious problem for Members of the ruling party who might be scared to raise criticism because they feel that it would be interpreted going against the department. He stressed that it should not matter which party a Member belongs to. The importance should be placed on moving the country forward.

Ms J Mananiso (ANC) applauded the Department for the presentation. She found it easy to understand and got a good grasp of all the issues. On the achievements as presented, she wanted to know if Section 217 was applied as required. She suggested that the Department include mentorship as part of Skills and Development because when reference was made to bursaries, scholarships and internships, mentorship was often left out, and yet it did not require the expenditure of funds. Rather, it required people to volunteer to impart knowledge onto others.

Mr B Nodada (DA) thanked Dr Mjwara for the presentation, which he felt was much more fleshed out. He pointed out that the documents were sent to Members the previous afternoon and therefore did not afford him sufficient time to read and interrogate documents sufficiently. This would have allowed him to make a meaningful contribution. In future, he requested for documents to be sent ahead of time. He thanked the Minister for raising the confusion surrounding the placement of the department because he also shared the same sentiments.  He expressed confusion regarding the Department of Telecommunications and Communications dealing with Digital Technologies while there was the Higher Education, Science, and Technology department. He asked where to best locate the Committee’s role because this would also inform the boundaries. He asked the Minister to let the Committee know once he sought clarity from the President because this would enable Members to better understand where to locate their roles.

Mr Nodada noted that there were governance issues considered in the presentation which made innovation difficult to facilitate and enhance. He referred to the example of social services in which the department outlined three areas of focus namely, the economy, education and social development. He wanted the Department to consider including public service as a key focus of innovation. He asked that of social services also contributed in making it difficult for science and innovation to thrive, what role would the department play in easing some of the problems. He pointed out that once public service was made simpler, communities would change and their concerns would no longer be about going to fetch water or worrying about food or having to catch two taxis to travel to a destination, but they could start thinking about what they had at their disposal to build innovation.

Mr Nodada said he was glad that the Department would collaborate with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on one innovation the Department was conducting. On this, he wanted to know how the current educational space could be enhanced to make people passionate about science and innovation because basic education is where the interest begins.

Mr W Letsie (ANC) welcomed the opening remarks from the Minister and the presentation.  Referring to the Minister’s upcoming meeting with the President, NT, DOH and DTI to discuss Biovac, he suggested that the Minister inform the stakeholders that the Committee supported the decision to keep the state-owned pharmaceutical company away from competitive bidding. He agreed with the Minister that pharmaceutical companies would make the vaccines cheaper to stifle out competition resulting in the collapse of the state-owned pharmaceutical company after which the private companies would increase their prices or stop producing the vaccines altogether. He asked if there was any Member who disagreed with this stance.

 

Mr Letsie asked about innovation in the mining sector and rock drill machines. As someone who grew up in a mining town, he admitted that it was unfortunate that innovation brought about a lot of job losses for low-skilled people in the mining sector, but the situation would not be as unfortunate if South Africa produced the innovative technologies. He suggested that the Department build relationships with private companies to ensure that innovation comes from within South Africa. At present, there are too many imports of innovative goods which he feels did not assist the country. He encouraged the Department to put more effort into establishing public-private partnerships which he felt would be of great help. He was pleased about the partnership with the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Toyota and hoped this would lead to fruitful innovations and ideas from within South Africa that would benefit not only the country but the entire African continent and eventually the world. He stressed that DSTI should play a critical role in other departments migrating towards more innovative mechanisms.

Ms N Mkhatshwa (ANC) agreed with the Committee that the presentation was much simpler to understand. Every time she had a question it was answered by the following slide. She pointed out that many parts of the presentation spoke to the inclusion of women in the science and technology spaces. She asked how this was practically entailed. She referred to the research done on how science and technology have been paired with various departments in the G20 and AU and wanted to know which pairing had been most effective. This would inform the conversation the Minister would have with the President to better understand the Ministries and Committees role. The problem faced by indigent people in South Africa is that they constantly had to prove how poor they were. She felt that information pertaining to someone’s financial status should be readily ascertainable through fingerprint or facial recognition. She assured Mr Keetse that Members of the ruling party would always critically engage with and hold the Department accountable.

Ms D Sibiya (ANC) thanked the Department for the presentation. Referring to local government level, she asked whether implementation would be delayed where Dr Mjwara stated that activities were not always coordinated.

The Chairperson asked that the Department ensure that documents are sent to the Committee secretary no later than the Friday before a meeting is to take place. This would ensure that Members have sufficient time to critically engage the documents to prepare themselves to engage with the Department. The WP would be operationalised by the decadal plan which should be ready by October 2019 and would then inform the strategic plan. He said that it was a very important document which the Committee would like to be taken through.

The Chairperson expressed intrigue over the Sovereign Innovation Fund and linked it to the Sovereign Work Fund that Members in the Standing Committee on Finance had referenced repeatedly. He asked Dr Mjwara to elaborate on how it would work. He asked where the resources would be drawn from, if a special tax would be imposed, if the department would be asked to contribute to it, and if industry would be asked to contribute.

On the green economy, the Chairperson asked what the Department of Environmental, Forestry and Fisheries was doing around the biodiversity economy. He mentioned that there was a subsection of Edcon that dealt with bioprospecting to harvest plants in South Africa for medicinal or commercial use. This was done with the rooibos plant, an indigenous South African tea. There were a lot of areas of collaboration between DSTI and DEFF. 

The Chairperson drew attention to the circular economy that dealt with the recycling of waste. He wanted Dr Mjwara to speak to how science and innovation could be advanced in this field. This provided an opportunity for the green economy.

Responses

Dr Mjwara thanked the Committee for their questions, and he apologised for sending the documents late. He said he would follow up on where the delay had occurred.

Dr Mjwara explained that the hydrogen fuel cell was a device that converted hydrogen and produced electricity by splitting a hydrogen cell into an electron and proton to produce electricity. The electricity would power anything from a light bulb to a battery in a motor of a car or scooter. He requested that the Committee visit one of the centres at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) that were integrating the different components of the fuel cell.

Dr Mjwara said that the department had received no complaints of theft at Biovac. The audits were all clean, but the department would be happy to interrogate if there were any other issues.

Regarding NRF funding, he said that he did not understand the question properly. However, he understood that the research grants at the NRF were a financing model for researchers in the system, but the researchers from the CSIR and HSRC did not have the opportunity to benefit from the grant. He asked if this was what Dr Boshoff was asking about.

Dr Boshoff responded that the researchers benefit from the grant, but the institutions do not. The universities benefit from the NRF funds, but not institutions like the CSIR and HSRC.

Dr Mjwara said that researchers at the CSIR would not receive money from the NRF but would instead receive a parliamentary grant. At university, researchers were funded by money from a grant that DHET allocated to them. He asked if the concern was around researchers at the HSRC and CSIR. He said that researchers at the CSIR and HSRC who also had university posts or were jointly appointed would also qualify to receive money from the NRF.

Dr Boshoff said he would take it up further with Dr Mjwara via email correspondence.

 

The Chairperson interjected to clarify that his understanding is that researchers based at universities accessed funding through the NRF, while researchers at the CSIR and HSRC did not get the same access.

Dr Boshoff said that this was not the point he was trying to make. His point is that universities and institutions like CSIR were both funded by the department, however, if a researcher of the university produced an accredited publication then the university gets remunerated. But if a researcher from institutions like the CSIR or HSRC did the same, the institution would not benefit because it is not part of their financing model.

Dr Mjwara pointed out that the incentive schemes and remunerations were completely different. The nature of the institutional arrangements was different, and he was of the view that they would never harmonise.

Dr Mjwara stated that The White Paper demonstrated that it was possible to assist the economy through agriculture and mining. It showed the possibility of beneficiation through platinum, and other initiatives were being considered like a consortium of six to seven institutions that could work in the batteries of electric vehicles. He explained that funding into the initiatives was at a research-level which needed to be commercialised at such a scale that economic benefits can be derived.  The collective task would be finding ways to commercialise the ideas for revenue to benefit the country and continent. A new financing model would need to be structured to allow the uptake of these ideas, but this could also be done if government purchases these innovations first. South Africa needs to think of how the state can induce the market by buying into these activities. This would fuel growth of small companies. In Japan, 90% of citizens drove Japanese vehicles. In Korea, almost the entire population had a Samsung phone. They export these goods because the state was the first buyer. The big challenge would be for the state to use procurement as a lever and getting South Africans to believe in domestic products. 

Dr Mjwara said that he assumed Mr Keetse’s second statement was responded to by Ms Mkhatshwa.

The Chairperson said that it was a political statement and that the Minister could interject.

Dr Mjwara said he was not sure what section 217 applied to and deferred the question to his legal advisor.

Ms Nomkhosi Peter, Director: Strategy and Planning, DST said that section 217 relates to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) as it relates to the policies and processes related to procurement.

In referencing the skills retention in the Department, Dr Mjwara said that in the last ten years, most of the skills were retained. He said that the following day the Department would share with the Committee what the reduction in the cost of employment had done as some good staff members had left to go to universities. In the last ten years, one or two people had left due to the budget cuts, but retention was good overall.

With regards to mentorship and skills, Dr Mjwara said that the department was looking at a new model on how start-up companies could be helpful in this regard. The department had partnered with the Innovation Hub and would demonstrate how companies were being incubated. Partnerships were also formed with small businesses, and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) had a well-defined programme which would bridge the support gap.

Dr Mjwara said that the Department tried to pilot some innovations like alternative broadband provided by UWC to a small rural community in the Eastern Cape that had enabled community members to make bank transactions since they now had access to the internet. This showed that innovation could provide social services.  At an institutional level, the department would like to work with the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) which fell under the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to be used as a vehicle to provide public services through innovation. He stressed the need for an institution to facilitate innovation through public services.

On Basic Education, the Department had a document called ‘The Science Engagement Strategy’ which addressed public indicatives that could be put in place and ways to excite the public about science, technology, and innovation. Besides that, it also addressed young people through the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement which fell under the NRF. One of its indicatives was to partner provinces with basic education science centres. It had 30 science centres in provincial and regional areas across the country. They would have programmes designed with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to popularise science, technology and innovation to young people. There was a National Science Week launched in Kimberly three weeks ago, and the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) would report on the activities around the country. The Department would like to measure the impact of these programs on the youth they targeted. The Department also supported several initiatives like the ‘Youth Expo’ facilitated by Eskom, which was also aimed at getting young people excited about science. Dr Mjwara mentioned two young people in Kimberly who were extremely excited about winning the expo, and this often leads to the winners competing in the global expos. The maths o

Dr Mjwara said that the department agreed to forming a partnership with the private sector to advance innovation. The examples shown in terms of sectors like agriculture and mining were actually in partnership with the private sector. Another presentation could be presented to share the details on how this was being done. The department has been requesting the Technology Innovation Agency to provide an arrangement where equity could be taken, and the dilution of the equity could be through a policy that would be agreed to benefit women and black people. This was being finalised to ensure that innovations funded by the state would be commercialised as part of business creation and Intellectual Property ownership.

Dr Mjwara said that in the research arena, the Minister had Ministerial guidelines that guided what proportion of women and black people should be given research funding. Dr Mjwara said that the CEO of the NRF who was present in the meeting would probably know more detail on how these guidelines operated at postgraduate level and emerging researchers. There were programmes that were dedicated to supporting female researchers. He did not know what the time frames were to shift these demographics.

The second example related to the initiatives that would be converted from ideas into the commercial space. The Department requested the Technology Innovation Agency to report what support they gave through the Youth Innovation Program and broad commercialisation funding that they gave to women. This would be responded to in the next interrogation of the Annual Performance Plan (APP) on the work that was being done by the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities which had submitted a gender-based budget to the DSTI. From 2020 onwards, everyone in government would have to indicate how their budgets would be aligned to the gender-based budgeting framework which colleagues from ‘Strategy and Planning’ had already indicated was a necessity. Thirdly, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Department had to give a report on how departmental goods and services were procured from female-owned businesses. The CFO had begun connecting data from the department and its institutions to determine if they are meeting these procurement targets.

In addressing the question about the challenges faced by indigent people, Dr Mjwara stated that the department would need to think of creative ways to use science, innovation and technology to solve that problem. Although he could not think of a solution at the time, he would ensure that this would be brought up with the CSIR, the departments and institution that deal with such issues. This would also require the department to work with other departments like Home Affairs (DHA) through the CPSI. He agreed that it is unnecessary to repeatedly ask people to produce documentation.

Dr Mjwara said that at local government level they would know all the challenges faced, and the funding provided to the institution coupled with departmental knowledge about innovation would be a good marrying of ideas to bring about solutions that the local government needs.

Dr Mjwara said that the WP would come with the decadal plan.

Regarding the Sovereign Innovation Fund, the Department has been lucky because they were alerted that Treasury was considering providing SMMEs that were innovative and high tech with funding. The hope was that the money would be available by April 2020. This seemed to be the start of an innovation fund and there were already sector innovation funds run by the department which would be the basis for setting up the Sovereign Innovation Fund.

 

In working with DEFF, Dr Mjwara referred to a network of instruments in the biodiversity sphere that were using platforms jointly developed by the two departments on how to commercialise those ideas. He said that he would be happy to come and share the details with the Committee.

Dr Mjwara extended an invitation to the Committee to attend the mobility program run at one of the technology stations. At the station, batteries from electric vehicles were tested. The Department had developed a roadmap of waste which is implemented by the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and was supported by DEFF and the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).

The Minster thanked Dr Mjwara for the responses. He shared a concerning statistic that only 3% of used batteries were recycled in South Africa while the other 97% lay as unused waste. He stated that old phone and car batteries were not safe to be kept lying around. The 3% of recycled batteries did not get reworked in the country but was exported. This illustrates that there are huge possibilities for innovation.

The Minister expressed excitement over the Sovereign Innovation Fund. Besides what Dr Mjwara said about raising funds through partnerships, the Minister also wanted to join the Presidents imitative on attracting both domestic and foreign investment to ensure that some investment went to the Sovereign Innovation Fund. Under ideal circumstances, it would be great to have an innovation tax, but this was not possible in the state of the current economy where citizens feel over-taxed.

On the issue concerning the future of the two Departments, the Minister referred to synergies and alignments that Dr Mjwara spoke about and stated their importance. The Minister had spoken to the Public Service Commission about the future of the two Departments. He assured the Committee that they would be briefed on the outcome of the discussion with the President on this issue.

The Minister referred to demographics and emphasised the five-year strategic plan which Dr Mjwara said needed to be finalised by November 2019. The new plan for the sixth administration should address these issues. The statistics and strategies used ought to be clear. Annual reports and annual performance plans would measure these outcomes.

The Minister said that Dr Mjwara had answered the question but added that the incentives at the CSIR compared to the University of Zululand were not the same. Researchers would get certain incentives and the university would benefit. With the CSIR, this was not the case. He agreed that Dr Boshoff was raising an important issue that needs to be explored because there was something important in the point raised.

The Minister said that in South Africa, one of the biggest problems was that most engineers were not employed in the engineering sector. The health and banking sectors are drawing them in. The DHET produced research that proved there was no shortage of engineers in South Africa, but most were not employed where they ought to be. This was presented in Ministerial meeting and the outcome was to map engineers across SADC.

The Minister said the department had huge potential to be a catalyst for many industries in the country. The Minister referred to the President’s idea of driving the implementation of government programs using districts as central focus points.

The Minister said that there needs to be an increase in incubation and innovation hubs as part of expanding and focusing on innovation.

On mentorships and internships, the Minister agreed that they ought to be prioritised throughout government. DHET had pushed for one-year internships for young people to learn on the ground.

The Minister wanted clarity on the naming of the two departments and suggested that perhaps the name of the Ministry be changed to the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation so the distinctions would be clearer. He stated that this was beyond his powers.

In addressing women in science, the Minister said that the Committee should have been invited to the Women in Science Awards. The Minister was moved by the young female scientists that were extremely passionate. He said that a society that did not empower women had no future, especially its young women. He was concerned that there were only two recipients from historically disadvantaged institutions and thought of incentivising institutional awards to engender a culture of innovation. The bigger question at hand was whether the inequalities between former white universities and historically disadvantaged universities were not being perpetuated. The Minister referred to an example where the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) pays R30000 for Walter Sisulu University (WSU) students and R67000 for University of Cape Town (UCT) students and questioned why there could not be a standard amount. The Minister asked the Committee to monitor this because these inequalities could not be perpetuated any further. He admitted that former white universities like UCT or North West University (NWU) should not be punished, but there were also poor black students studying there. The most disadvantaged universities were rural universities like Fort Hare

The Minister thanked Mr Letsie for his strong support on the issue of the state pharmaceutical company. Project management was already being explored.

The Chairperson thanked the Minister and Dr Mjwara. He approved the Sovereign Innovation Fund and stated that the challenge was with its practicality. He was worried that the research in development received less than what had been anticipated in the National Development Plan (NDP). The Innovation Fund could help to propel the investment forward.

Concerning the merger of the Departments, the Chairperson asked that if there was one ministry, would there be one department or two departments working collaboratively under one ministry.

The Minister said that one DG was enough the ministry.

The Chairperson said this should be looked at so that one department would not be subservient to the other.

 

Referencing China, Singapore and Korea mentioned by Dr Mjwara the Chairperson said they used to be called the Asian Tigers and their focus was on local procurement. This is what China, and the United States of America were doing by looking at what their own citizens were creating. He warned, however, that this would create a distortion going forward because of the global trade among countries.

The Chairperson assured Mr Keetse that members of the ruling party did not hold back from engaging robustly with the executive.

The Chairperson thanked everyone and adjourned for a short break.

Briefing by Department of Higher Education and Training on its White Paper on Post-School Education and Training through the National Plan for Post-School Education and Training.

Dr Whitfield Green, Chief Director: Teaching and Learning Development, DHET presented the White Paper. The Overview of the Presentation was the following:

Dr Green explained that the department had a nestled approach to planning that began with high-level planning to minor details. This explained the relationship between the NDP which the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training (WPPSET) and the National Plan for Post School Education and Training (NPPSET). The NDP was the highest level. The WPPSET at an intermediate level was a policy instrument that defined the priorities for the department to build and strengthen the Post-School Education Training (PSET) system.  It directed the department to elaborate on a concrete development plan for the period up to 2030. The NPPSET fulfilled that directive. It outlined the overall guiding plan for the department for the next 10-year period. It also operationalised the vision and principles of the WPPSET and provided a blueprint for growing an effective and integrated PSET system.

Some of the WPPSET imperatives that the NPPSET responded to included; weak quality in many parts of the system; high repetition and dropout rates; weak linkages between educational institutions and the workplace; insufficient employer involvement in training.

Only four out of 100 learners that entered the schooling system in 2008 obtained degrees within years after Matric.  It also means that under 1% moved on to the PhDs. 29% of unemployed youth could not access the job market mainly due to a lack of education.

The role of the NPPSET was to translate policy directions into concrete actions. It identified the goals, objectives and outcomes for the PSET. It described the implementation strategies, targets, and responsibilities for achieving the White Paper vision of an expanded, effective, and integrated PSET system. This would be done over the next 11 years.

Dr Green explained that the NPPSET had been structured into eight chapters. The first six were organised according to cross-cutting system goals as expressed in the WPPSET. Chapters one to six each addressed a system goal detailed further as an objective which was broken down into a set of outcomes to be achieved through specified overall sector strategies and sub-sector specific strategies. The last two chapters were focused on resourcing and implementation.

Discussion

The Chairperson thanked Dr Green for the presentation, however, he felt that it was a bit rushed and would have wanted Dr Green to elaborate on the issues. Nonetheless, the document was very detailed.

Dr Boshoff began by stating that he appreciated the comprehensiveness of the presentation. His question referred to the seamless qualification framework. He asked how the department would go about it, how the integration would take place, who took the initiative, whether the department or an informal body.

Dr Boshoff said that he had conducted research in the Northern Cape. Participants in the study were matriculants, and they were asked if they would like to learn an artisan skill such as welding. Interestingly, the students who planned to go to university indicated that they did not want to learn an artisan skill because it was frowned upon. This revealed that the perception 10 years ago that technical jobs can take you out of poverty is not the same today.

Mr Nodada began asked that the documents be sent to Committee in advance so that members can be adequately prepared for engagement. He stated that the presentation was much more comprehensive and inclusive of all the corrections from the first presentation.

Mr Nodada commented on Chapter eight that spoke about the strategic policy, outlook, and implementation of the WP. He said that the problem laid in the comprehension of education in terms of two separate phases of basic and higher education. It was important to streamline basic education to feed higher education, otherwise all efforts would go unfruitful. In his view, what was lacking were short, medium and long-term engagements with basic education in streamlining the goals.

Mr Nodada said that the education system needed to be looked at in its entirety. He asked how a schooling system could be channelled in terms of building theory, to produce accountants, lawyers and researchers, and how skills can be developed that can be used in the market and also enable foresight in terms of innovation

Mr Nodada said that the education system needs to produce people that are going to teach what is being developed. It not enough to state what needs to be achieved without having the personnel in place to make it happen.

 

Mr Nodada stressed that these two discussions need to be linked because whatever is produced is going to determine how to change the apartheid-time demographics of engineers, professors, and entrepreneurs. He said that it was not enough to give people access but ensuring quality was also important.

Mr Nodada said that there is a need to develop an accreditation policy, particularly for the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector which the universities can also employ. This would involve identifying buildings in close proximity to campuses which could be evaluated to become accredited accommodation facilities. Some requirements would include the existence of certain features such as laundromats, Wi-Fi and security to name a few. This engagement with local communities would ensure that students from deep rural areas are not going to be exploited by lessors. Mr Nodada asked whether the finances were sustainable for this in terms of the 10-year plan.

Mr Nodada said that the plans and outlooks were brilliant, but he asked whether there was a budget to support the plans.

 

Ms Mananiso thanked Dr Green for the presentation and said that she did not appreciate outcome 2.16 on page 14, which prescribed that Community Education and Training (CET) campuses would be completed where they are needed. She pointed out that to make education more fashionable, the campuses needed to be placed everywhere with a focus on rural areas and not just “where they are needed”. She asked for this phrase to be omitted from the presentation.

Ms Mananiso asked how basic education, higher education and job creation could be linked and connected. It is not helpful to deal with departments in isolation. The presentation referenced ‘integration’ a lot however she pointed out that this would require collaborative planning and assessments of programs. She asked for an elaboration on this because the presentation seemed to show that the department was operating in isolation without the involvement of young people from the intuitions

Ms Mananiso noted that the presentation did not do justice to the issue on safety in higher learning institutions. This was brushed over. She wanted this point to be elaborated on especially regarding issues such as gender-based violence in these institutions.

Mr Keetse stated that the timelines of 11 years attached to the targets in the presentation is too long. He pointed to the critical issue of the cosmopolitan policy which he feels He explained cosmopolitan policies to be those adopted by universities like Wits and UCT when it comes to policies to do with admissions. A time frame of 11 years is far too long to address an urgent issue like this which needed urgent intervention as opposed to what was being proposed in the presentation.

 

On the repetition and dropout rates during the first year of study, Mr Keetse said that this needed to be scrutinised. He was tempted to link it with the high suicide rates in the institutions. More needed to be done to ensure the well-being of students in their first years of study. He recommended introducing a compulsory model in the first year of study which would help students psychologically to survive their first years of study.  This transition problem particularly affected students from rural backgrounds who had only ever seen white people on television and only ever wore a uniform to school.

On the PSET institutions. Mr Keetse said that it is not justifiable that university councils comprise multiple professors and staff members with only one or two student representatives, yet students make up the largest stakeholder.  A single president of the SRC sitting in council would not be able to overpower multiple learned university staff. They can easily intimidate a single student representative. He also added that the department should consider revising SRC constitutions which allowed students to be taken advantage of. This contributes to students being made vulnerable to the system, and he feels this needs urgent attention.

Mr Keetse does not agree with the policy of the NDP which held no distinction from Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA). Even students who had received NSFAS were not paid for up to six months and resultantly faced eviction from lessors. These were issues which could not wait for 11 years.

Mr Keetse asked what was being done to support students after they graduated. He said that the department cannot be entirely responsible for this but asked if there was a way to manage it. He warned that young people could become deterred from getting degrees because of a perception that they do not lead to employment.

Mr Letsie also stressing accommodation felt the presentation did not pay enough attention to this very serious issue which could lead to serious problems for the entire department. He agreed with Mr Keetse that lecturers cannot be the only focus of institutions of higher learning.

Mr Letsie said that the 4% of students who graduated after 18 years of schooling illustrated the importance of streamlining basic and higher education working together in synergy. It should be clear why 63% of students did not make it to matric, which depicts an existing problem before they begin higher education. This is alarming.

Mr Letsie said that the PSET plan did not acknowledge the existence of fly-by-night institutions that preyed on poor and vulnerable people such as those who did not get accepted into institutions of higher learning. This could also be a contributing factor to the 33% difference between those who passed matric and those who graduated after six years. Their parents would have been disillusioned with the education system after a negative experience with fly-by-night institutions, causing them to deter their children from higher education altogether.

On Outcome 3.1, Mr Letsie said that he was of the view that the curriculum was so behind that the country could never be a technological leader, it did not address the needs of the country. TVET colleges were producing outdated certificates like ‘Office Administration’ and one cannot do anything with such a qualification. He stressed that the department should liaise with NSFAS because funding should be producing degrees that are profitable in the long run for the individual and the country. Referring to former Technikons, now Universities of Technology, he said that the curriculum had suggested some technological advances, but a majority of the courses did not advance innovation and technology.

 

Mr Letsie assured the department that criticisms from the Committee come from a good place because they are concerned about the future of the country. All Members respective of affiliation have an undertaking to put the country first.

Mr Letsie stated that the issue surrounding NSFAS needs to be urgently addressed. Students are urged to meet the application deadline in September the year before being admitted yet had not received payment by August when the academic year was about to end. This caused a lot of confusion particularly for first-year students who may have internalised the lack of funding to their rural background or bewitchment. This leads to a high rate of depression and dropping out especially among first-year students. He reiterated Mr Keetse’s suggestion about introducing a first-year course to help students integrate in their first years of study.

Ms Mkhatshwa emphasized high repetition and dropouts’ rates. An image was sent from an ANC study group to the Committee that depicted the dire state of accommodation and infrastructure facilities at the University of Venda. This is not unique to the University of Venda. It is a reality at most historically disadvantaged institutions. The department needs to place harsh interventions in place. The WP is clear on what it needed to achieve. This is a human rights issue because the conditions students face at these institutions is inhumane. Ms Mkhatshwa asked what happens when there are institutions not acting in line with what the outcomes the WP hoped to achieve. Ms Mkhatshwa found it disheartening that the cheapest residence at Wits University did not equate to the best residence at the University of Venda. This illustrates stark disparities.

Ms Mkhatshwa, adding on to Mr Keetse’ point said been better engaged with student leaders by including them in the functionality of the institutions could mitigate and prevent a lot of the issues. Student protests could be avoided by engaging students going forward. At Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU), there are students who have been protesting for weeks over governance issues, yet the WP states that it wants to prioritise governance in institutions. Ms Mkhatshwa implored the department to find out what is happening at SMU. There were many institutions that were under administration and there was a lot of chaos how universities were being run; therefore, governance issues needed to be resolved expediently. This went for TVET colleges.

Ms Mkhatshwa asked if there could be a joint sitting between the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and this Committee. The reason there was high repetition and dropouts was that people enter the university space unprepared. Therefore, DHET needs to interrogate why that is the case. It would be fruitful for loopholes to be found in a joint sitting of the two departments. She wants to know why there were streamlined packaged subjects in Basic Education which she found linear and restrictive for students’ career choices in University. These were questions that DBE needs to address because they affect higher education.

Ms Mkhatshwa requested a document that better explains the structures and functions of TVETs and CUTs. She did not understand how CUTs functioned or the lived reality of students that attended one.

Ms Mkhatshwa reminded the department of the calls from students and academics for a decolonised curriculum that speaks to the needs of African students.

Ms Mkhatshwa asked what is being done about students who are not receiving their NSFAS stipends. She asked what is being done to hold the people on the ground accountable.

The Chairperson said that he is shocked from the findings of the study on page three, slide six which depict that only four out of 100 students who entered the education system attained degrees. He wanted to know what happened to the 96%.

The Chairperson said that he felt the presentation was rushed and overloaded with information. He wants to thoroughly go through each outcome to get a better understanding that would lead to fewer questions, leaving more time for the implementation of outcomes.

The Chairperson said that on the 27th of August 2019, there was a briefing by the DHET on the overview of governance in higher wducation, universities under administration, infrastructure, and development at new universities. The department would brief on the challenges of governance in the universities. That briefing would involve a briefing on the universities that were placed under administration.

The Chairperson advised that Dr Mjwara delegate the answering of the questions to his colleges and only speak at the end. The same protocol was followed by the Minister as well.

Responses

Dr Mjwara insisted that he share the responses with his colleges equitably because they covered five areas of specialisation at once.

In addressing student accommodation, Dr Mjwara explained that funds allocated to the DHET were appropriated by parliament, which then directed the department how to spend the money. However, monies received by the department was always insufficient to carry out everything required. They were required to roll out 300 000 beds over 10 years, however, the money they had at their disposal only allowed them to deliver 10 000 beds. The department had improvised on ways to engage fund managers across the country including from the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), NT, Infrastructure Project of South Africa (IPSA) and the European Union (EU) to compliment the funds received. Norms and standards were developed for student accommodation which is more applicable to universities. He added that the University of Venda was receiving the biggest chunk of the allocated funds both from parliament and from fundraising initiatives. University of Venda had six infrastructure projects that were aborted because of corrupt practices. SMU received R600 000 that was shared with staff members, student leader and unions. They removed the Vice-Chancellor and are running the institutions.

Dr Mjwara said that students are a community in transit that after graduation looks back in hindsight and wishes they had done things differently. Student representative governance structure should be taken excitedly. He does not mean to marginalise the issue, but the limitations of students should be taken into consideration. Young people have limited experience with responsibilities and exposure in life. They ought to be nurtured and developed, not the other way around.

Dr Mjwara said that the department interrogated whether the low throughput and pass rates served the purpose it was meant to serve. They concluded that it was a huge waste of taxpayer money and needed to address it. The University Capacity Development Grant (UCDG) was initiated to address this problem of throughput and pass rates. It was mainly awarded to historically disadvantaged institutions and its purpose is curriculum reform and development, lecturer development and support, student development, and support. The throughput rate is currently at 58% because of these interventions.

Dr Mjwara said that the higher the level of education, the greater the chances of getting employment and vice versa. This is a finding by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). 34% of people with less than matric are employed, while only 18.3% of those with higher education are unemployed.

Dr Green said that robust engagements were productive for the department. The department followed a nested level approach to planning beginning with the highest level down to the finest detail. The NDP was the highest level, followed by the WP, and this plan was at an intermediate level. Therefore, the detail in relation to the big outcomes presented would be unpacked in lower level plans including the five-year strategic plan and the one-year operational plan. The data was presented in a forthright and frank manner and did not see any good in hiding information when there are big challenges that need to be addressed.

 

Dr Green said that creating a framework that looked seamless would not happen automatically. It must be operationalised. University qualifications can be academic, technical, vocational and occupational. This moved away from the idea that university qualifications are only academic. TVET qualifications should not only be technical and vocational but academic. He added that admission criteria should be defined so they that universities do not exclude people. Policy should be defined to allow a TVET graduate to access a university to complete their studies. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an articulation mechanism to recognise prior formal and informal learning. Credit accumulation transfer is another specific articulation mechanism to ensure that credits accumulated at a TVET college can be recognised at a university. These are strategies adopted to make articulation happen.

Dr Green said that student engagement is important and admitted that the department and the institutions had been terrible at it. He thinks that #FeesMustFall could have been avoided if there was a better understanding of the issues facing students. On student success, he explained that what had been presented was a snapshot of a specific time. A lot of progress was made since then and is still underway, but there is room to improve.

Dr Green said that participation rates have improved post-apartheid but are not yet at the point where there is equity. Success rate was constantly improving from first-year dropout rates of 30% 10 years ago to 15%. This shows a downward trajectory and there are ways to improve this. Most Universities have a first-year experience in place which supports school leavers to transition to higher education. This includes psycho-socio integration. He added that institutions need to be more welcoming to all students.

Dr Green said that DHET and DBE were central to the education project, and they have to work together. There is a lot happening in terms of integration, and he referred to the issue of literacy as an example of this. If strong literacy and numeracy were not taught at the foundation phase, then this problem would be amplified with time, leading to drop out. There are collaborations around developing literacy and numeracy in DBE, and DHET was ensuring that universities are producing adequate teachers that can teach learners to read, write and count. Teaching should take place in all languages.

Dr Green said that the development of teachers was important for community colleges, TVETs, schooling and university education. In 2008, 6000 teachers were produced. And in 2017, 23 000 were produced. In a 10-year trajectory the number of teachers produced had quadrupled. The question to ask is whether the right kind of teachers were being produced, with the right kind of attitudes and teaching the right subjects.

On curriculum reform Dr Green said that it was not only about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) but about curriculum that could respond to the needs of society. Curriculum decolonisation was one aspect of this.

Dr Mjwara thanked the Chairperson. He said that he was taking a risk by appealing to members not to pity historically disadvantaged institutions. He said that they should be supported and held accountable. As an official, he needs to make that submission because the space he found himself in was quite painful.

The Chairperson thanked Dr Mjwara and Dr Green. He said that based on the responses, there was an urge by members to have follow-ups, but these would take place the following day. The other issues will be dealt with in detail throughout the parliamentary term.

The Chairperson in addressing Dr Mjwara’s statement about students lacking a sense of responsibility due to their age, said that most activists had been grappling with that question and pondered if a person is responsible because of age, or did age on its own impose the wisdom to be responsible, or if a young person can be responsible enough to understand the task at hand. He said that he is not implying that Dr Mjwara is right or wrong but that these are questions being posed around who should be responsible, and who can better understand the challenges that institutions are facing.

The Chairperson thanked everyone and adjourned the meeting.

 


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