Shake-up in South Africa gets green light

June 14, 2002

South African education minister Kader Asmal is fighting an impassioned defence of his bold restructuring of higher education after cabinet accepted his plan for large-scale mergers. The number of institutions will be slashed from 36 to 21 and two new institutes will be created in provinces with no university or technikon.

The consolidation would not lead to decreased provision, he pledged, as all existing sites would continue to operate, "although in new institutional and organisational forms".

Professor Asmal has promised debt relief for institutions in financial trouble so as not to jeopardise newly merged institutions.

A New Institutional Landscape for Higher Education in South Africa was passed by cabinet the second time around, after Professor Asmal abandoned plans to merge the famous Fort Hare University with Rhodes University, and the University of the Western Cape with a technikon.

The plan flows out of a report by a working group, and is in line with the National Plan for Higher Education, which identified five key goals and strategic objectives:

* Increased access and graduates that meet human resource needs n Equity and redress

* Diversity

* Greater research capacity

* Restructuring to overcome "the fragmentation, inequalities and inefficiencies of the apartheid past".

There are three mergers already under way - Natal and ML Sultan technikons in Durban, South Africa's major distance providers, and the takeover of a local campus of the University of the North by the University of the Free State. Vista University is being broken down and its many campuses incorporated into several other institutions.

The number of universities will be slashed from 21 to 11. There will also be six technikons, four "comprehensive institutions" and two national higher education institutes, in Northern Cape and Mpumalanga provinces, that will coordinate existing programmes in colleges.

Professor Asmal said this "is not a technical exercise to rearrange existing institutions into different configurations. Rather, it is an exercise that will allow for the expansion of the system and turn it around to face the challenges of the African century".

The plan is to increase the participation rate of 20 to 24-year-olds from 15 to 20 per cent over the next ten years, requiring recruitment of an extra 200,000 students, supported by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

In Eastern Cape, the University of Port Elizabeth will merge with Port Elizabeth Technikon to become "comprehensive".

Border and Eastern Cape technikons will merge and take over the University of Transkei in Umtata. Rhodes will remain intact, but its East London campus will be swallowed by Fort Hare, which will also take over Transkei's medical school.

In the Free State, the local university and technikon will remain intact.

In Gauteng, Wi****ersrand and Pretoria universities will be retained. Rand Afrikaans University will merge with Technikon Wi****ersrand to become a comprehensive institution.

Technikons Northern Gauteng, North-West and Pretoria will join. Vaal Triangle technikon is unchanged.

In KwaZulu-Natal, Natal and Durban-Westville universities will merge.

The newly merged Durban Institute of Technology will join with Mangosuthu Technikon and the Umlazi campus of the University of Zululand, which will become a comprehensive institution.

In Limpopo, there will be a merger between the universities of the North Venda and Medical University of Southern Africa. In the Northwest, North-West and Potchefstroom universities will merge.

In the Western Cape, the universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Western Cape will remain intact, but the dentistry schools of the last two will be located at UWC. Cape and Peninsula technikons will merge.

Details: http://education.pwv.gov.za/Pol-icies%20and%20Reports/2002_Repor-ts/new_inst itutional_landscape_he.htm

CHANGES TO SOUTH AFRICAN LANDSCAPE

The number of institutions will be slashed from 36 to 21, and two new institutes will be created in provinces that have no university or technikon.

Vista University is being broken down and its many countryside campuses incorporated into several other institutions.

Eastern Cape

* University of Port Elizabeth will merge with Port Elizabeth Technikon

* Border (East London) and Eastern Cape (Butterworth) technikons merge and take over the University of Transkei in Umtata

* Rhodes University (Grahamstown)

* Fort Hare (Alice) absorbs Rhodes' University's East London campus and Transkei's medical school.

Free State

* University of the Free State (Bloemfontein)

* Technikon Free State (Bloemfontein) Gauteng

* University of the Wi****ersrand (Johannesburg)

* University of Pretoria

* Rand Afrikaans University (Johannesburg) to merge with Technikon Wi****ersrand into a comprehensive institution incorporating the East Rand and Soweto campuses of Vista University

* Technikons Northern Gauteng, North-West and Pretoria will merge (Pretoria)

* Vaal Triangle technikon unchanged KwaZulu-Natal

* Universities of Natal (Durban and Pietermaritzberg) and Durban-Westville will merge

* Durban Institute of Technology merges with Mangosuthu Technikon (Durban) and the Umlazi campus of the University of Zululand, which will become a comprehensive institution Limpopo

* Universities of the North Venda (Sovenga) and MedicalUniversity of Southern Africa will merge Northwest

* Universities of North-West (Mmabatho) and l Potchefstroom (Potchefstroom) will merge Western Cape

* Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Western Cape (Bellville) will remain

* Cape and Peninsula (Bellville) technikons merge Distance education

* Merger of Technikon SA, the University of South Africa and the distance education campus of Vista University.

In the Western Cape, the universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Western Cape will remain intact, but the dentistry schools of the last two will be located at UWC. Cape and Peninsula technikons will merge.

Details: http://education.pwv.gov.za/Policies%20and%20Reports/2002_Reports/new_institutional_landscape_he.htm

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments