Question NW1286 to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

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30 June 2020 - NW1286

Profile picture: Bozzoli, Prof B

Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

With reference to the proposed establishment of a university for crime detection in Hammanskraal, (a) what are the relevant details of what is meant by a university for crime detection, (b) on what statutory and other grounds would an institution with such a narrow mandate qualify as a university, (c) what disciplines would be taught and assessed by such an institution, (d) what degrees and other qualifications would such an institution offer and (e) what are the details of the (i) timelines or time frames and (ii) budget for the establishment of such an institution?


(a)    In the 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA), the President announced that “to improve the quality of general and specialised SAPS investigations, we are establishing a Crime Detection University in Hammanskraal”. This was understood as a directive to work towards the establishment of a specialised public higher education institution that would offer qualifications on the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework in fields linked to crime detection. 

(b)    In terms of the Higher Education Act (Act 101 of 1997, as amended), the proposed institution for crime detection in Hammanskraal cannot be established immediately as a university. The Act allows for new institutions to be established as either Higher Education Colleges or University Colleges.  The decision on whether this institution will be established as a university college or a higher education college will be dependent on the outcome of a feasibility study that must be undertaken. 

A higher education college is an institution that is established by the Minister, as an independent institution, to offer a scope and range of qualifications that is defined as relatively narrow, possibly in a specific field, e.g. Crime Detection, or a small range of fields, e.g. Crime Detection, Safety and Security, and Military Studies. It is likely to have a relatively small student population, e.g. less than 5 000 students when it is fully operational. It will offer a range of qualifications and skills programmes. The qualifications would include higher certificates, advanced certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, undergraduate degrees and postgraduate diplomas accredited through the Council on Higher Education (CHE). The institution could also offer short skills programmes or occupational programmes accredited through the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO). Once the college is fully established and it shows potential to grow further and expand, it could then be declared as a university college, under the governance structure of an established university.

A university college is an institution established by the Minister, under the governance of an existing university, with the intention to grow its student numbers and programmes to cover a scope and range of activities that would enable it over time to be recognised as a fully-fledged university. While the institution would initially start with a small number of programmes in a limited number of fields, e.g. Crime Detection and Safety and Security, it would be planned to grow over time to cover a wider range of related fields and programmes in higher education including undergraduate, honours, Masters and Doctoral degree programmes. It may also offer a limited number of programmes accredited by the QCTO. A university college may be declared to be established as a fully-fledged university when it meets the requirements to be established as such, i.e. when it has grown and developed to such an extent that it has the scope and range of operations that allows it to be defined as a university.

(c)    The disciplines taught at such an institution will be determined by a feasibility study and could include a range of disciplines within policing and security studies that will develop professional and occupational knowledge and skills required to bolster capacity in policing, crime detection and prevention capabilities, and will involve an investigative capacity, including the use of forensic methodical approaches and technology, data analytics, criminal and evidentiary law, and investigative practice. The feasibility study should provide guidance on how this public higher education institution would be differentiated based its mandate and mission. 

(d)    Through the feasibility study a determination will be made on the institutional type, i.e. whether it will be a higher education college or a university college to start with and what the Programme Qualification Mix of the public higher education institution should be.

(e)   (i) A project plan has been developed for Ministerial approval to set out the process and deliverables towards the production of a feasibility study for the two new higher education institution mentioned in the 2020 SONA. The feasibility study must aim to address a number of critical issues including, the size and shape of the new institution; its site(s) of establishment, land assembly and spatial framework; supply and sustainability of required engineering services; environmental sustainability; socio-economic impact analysis; and the digital technology requirements for a contemporary higher education institution.  A project management team will be set up to manage the process. The feasibility study will be undertaken in the current financial year and will determine the time lines for the establishment and development of the institution in line with a costed plan.

 (ii) Funding for the new public higher education institution, in line with the findings of the feasibility study and plan, must be secured from the Vote. In terms of the Higher Education Act, a new institution can only be established once funding is appropriated for that purpose, as this is required before the institution can be legally established.

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