Thursday, September 08, 2005

Challenges for Access and Equity in South African Higher Education

Challenges for Access and Equity in South African Higher Education
Nyiko Floyd Shivambu
The concepts ‘access’ and ‘equity’ are widespread and recurrent in pronouncements and policy contents of the South African Higher Education sector. Certainly, these concepts connect all higher education stakeholders in the recognition that total emancipation of and social transformation of South Africa and Africa calls for access and equity, most specifically for communities that are previously disadvantaged.

Nonetheless, it remains debatable whether these concepts’ ubiquitous use in Higher Education have influenced and/or heralded the sought and relevant policy options and implementation, adherent to and needed for the broader South African transformation trajectory. The political angles, ideologies and/or perspectives from which different commentators perceive South African Higher Education can be the only determinants of the effectiveness, usefulness and relevance of policy options that arose from these Higher Education buzzwords, viz. Access and Equity.

Considerate of this reality, the below discussion is aimed at outlining and assessing challenges for Access and Equity in South African Higher Education and/or Higher Education in South Africa. Given the context within which the challenges for access and equity are raised, it will first be important to reflect on the historical character of higher education in South Africa to provide the basis of discussion.

This is mainly because the challenges that confront Higher Education in South African are atavistic remnants from the country’s socio-political history, thus rendering access and equity in many sectors to be reactive and redress policy guidelines.Whilst the discussion will thematically focus on access and equity challenges in higher education, it is important to highlight that access and equity should be discussed within the broader transformation trajectory of Higher Education in the country.

The paper will move on to discuss contemporary challenges and responses in Higher Education in South Africa. Although recognising the fact that much has been said around higher education, the paper will provide suggestions on how some of the identified challenges should be addressed.

Historical Overview
It is vital to acknowledge that commonly, the relationship between higher education and ideology reflects the nature and level of class contradictions in society. The history of education struggle in South Africa serves as a testimony to the class contestation of higher learning institutions.

The then apartheid regime systematically applied racist, supremacist policies in education system for class and racial privilege and benefits of certain individuals and groups.In the early twentieth century, the twin concerns of the South African state were guaranteeing capital accumulation based on cheap unskilled labour and consolidating the structures of white political domination and privilege

Consequently, training and education of blacks was not priority. This largely informed the segregationist education policy, institutionalised in the political and social spheres of apartheid and colonial society. Practically, apartheid education policy meant, inter alia, limited funding and access, and inadequate provision of education and training facilities for blacks and Africans in particular

Throughout colonial/apartheid period, social relations in South Africa continued to be fundamentally structured along lines of race, class and gender, whilst shaped by the articulation of racism, capitalism and patriarchy. It is however important to note that whilst the ideology of racism and racial prejudice were predominant in determining social relations in South African society, the various changing historical forms of national oppression and racism in South Africa are organically linked with and have provided the fundamental basis for the development of a capitalist economy

This confirms countless other observations made about colonial and apartheid domination in South Africa. Joe Slovo once presaged that ‘for all the overt signs of race as the mechanism of domination, the legal and institutional domination of the white minority over the black majority has its origins in, and is perpetuated by economic exploitation

This form of racial and class oppression and exploitation determined all spheres of South African society, access to education included. Earlier, blacks were only instrumental to colonial/apartheid state economic objectives through provision of cheap unskilled labour. That is why by 1948; black University students numbered 950, a mere 4.6% of total enrolments in South African Universities
[5]. This was to be altered consequent of changing economic demands and socio-economic realities that came to characterise South African society, during and post colonial/apartheid rule.

Adjacent and complimentary to economic exploitation in colonial and apartheid South Africa was patriarchy. In the broader South African society, patriarchy entrenched gender inequalities, with little regard of race and class. This terrible reality was based on a variety of factors, with culture, tradition and religion being predominant factors. As a result, women occupied subordinate positions within South African society and specifically with regard to access and opportunity in the economic, political and educational spheres
[6]. It is not an overstatement that this reality continues to haunt the South Africa society, 11 years after democratic dispensation.

Whilst patriarchal relations defined colonial/apartheid society, black women were severely under-represented in institutions of higher learning. In 1960, women constituted 11,3% of total black enrolments, in 1970 18,9% and in 1975 21,6%
[7]. However, the proportions of women enrolled in institutions designated for blacks were higher than for the sector as a whole. Accordingly, in black institutions of higher learning, black female enrolments by 1960 were marginally greater (13,1%) than when considered across the University sector in its entirety[8]. In post colonial/apartheid South Africa, female enrolments have significantly increased, and substantial limitations around that will be discussed below.

Following the 1959 Extension of University Education Act, racial and ethnic higher education institutions were established. These institutions were designated for blacks and deliberately located in impoverished rural areas with limited social infrastructure and amenities
[9]. Notably, these institutions were located in areas removed from the political militancy and influences of large cities.

The establishment of racial and ethnic higher education institutions heralded an upsurge in enrolments and access of black students to post secondary education. For instance, ‘enrolments in Universities rose by almost 400% between 1960 and 1965, doubled over the next five years, and increased by more than 100% between 1970 and 1976
[10]’. Access was facilitated inter alia by low fees, state bursaries and loans, and the provision of numerous diploma courses requiring only a senior certificate[11].

The growth of Higher Education sector and black enrolments during that period was due to a variety of factors. Amongst these factors was the growth and expansion of primary and secondary education
[12]. Most significantly, the expansion of the manufacturing industry and the service sector, and the introduction of capital-intensive technology, required large numbers of black workers who were semi-skilled and possessed more than just minimal elementary education[13]. Besides, the racial division of labour was modified to accommodate this new reality. Although flexibility and adjustments were dictated by economic imperatives, education policy continued to be aimed at the goal of separate development[14].

South African apartheid government’s determination on separate development concerning education policy is evident when looking at the provision of pre higher education system. The system was increasingly and more tightly tied to the Bantustan civil service, since these territories were given self-governing status, including control over education
[15]. Evidently, access of black students to higher education was heightened not because the apartheid state was keen on the development of African communities and society, but because they aimed at entrenching apartheid domination and economic exploitation.

Another important historical fact, which continues to haunt South African higher education, is black enrolments and access to historically white institutions. Apartheid State policy, applied especially in the case of African students, was aimed at directing black students to the black H.E institutions or the University of South Africa (UNISA)
[16]. However, this began to change from the late 1960s.

Post apartheid Higher Education

As has been illustrated above, higher education access was extensively shaped by the socio-economic and political priorities of the apartheid separate development programme. After the democratic dispensation, higher education have been fundamentally altered and aimed at addressing and responding to South African developmental needs, whilst ensuring that apartheid socio-political setbacks are redressed. In his assessment of Higher Education goals, policy initiatives and critical challenges & issues, Saleem Badat argues that the needs of a democratic South Africa are “crystallised in the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), as fourfold commitments: first, ‘meeting basic needs of people’; second, ‘developing our human resources’; third, ‘building the economy’; and fourth ‘democratising the state and society’”
[17]. South African higher education is predicated to produce both qualitative and quantitative skills and knowledge to the South African unequal, yet growing economy.

There is an acknowledgment nevertheless, that the identified roles ought to happen within a global economy, which is increasingly dependent on knowledge and information. The Higher Education White paper acknowledge that globalisation, and integration into the global economy, and neo-liberalism as the dominant ideology of globalisation, are highly unlikely to enable South Africa to achieve ‘economic reconstruction, political democratisation, development, and redistributive social policies aimed at equity

Whilst these are hypothetically the aims of higher education in South Africa, based on the conceptualisation of the development framework (RDP) South African adopted in 1994, questions still arise as to whether presently; the South African government has placed higher education access and equity as one of its urgent priorities. The shift from the developmental RDP to market orientated Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategy has somehow confused socio-economic roles the state has to spearhead in the South African transitional and developmental trajectory. A replacement of a developmental policy with an economic strategy would surely mesmerise South African priorities and strategies in terms of redress and equity challenges; more especially that the latter was not satisfactorily discussed with important role players in the South African transition, notably labour and civil society. This somehow explains the chopping and changing which has characterised Higher Education strategies and approaches on funding and enrolments over the last 11 years.

Achievements and progressive developments in the Higher Education sector since democratic dispensation cannot be underplayed whatsoever. The post apartheid state has significantly contributed in meeting access and equity challenges that confronted the country during the earlier period of democratic transition. The deracialisation of the student body is a factor worth celebrating and appreciating, since it has been the embodiment of equity in South African higher education. The proportion of black students in total university increased from 32% in 1990 to 60% in 2000, while in Technikons (presently known as Universities of Technology) it rose from 32% to 72% over the same period
[19]. It is instructive to note that equity growth was however not complimented by sufficient growth in general student numbers. In the eight years after 1994, higher education enrolments had only grown by 74, 000 or 13%[20]. This was mainly due to the productivity of the school system.

Moreover, gender equity improved in higher education between 1993 and 2000
[21]. Whereas in 1993, 43% of students were female, their proportion increased to 53% in 2000[22]. The changes in gender and racial students enrolments, however did not translate into equity in the distribution of female and black students across academic programmes, as well as at higher levels of post-graduate training. Black and specifically female students tend to be clustered in the humanities, and thereof remain under-represented in science, engineering, technology and business management[23].

Despite this reality, throughput and graduation rates of black students have not improved
[24]. It is disheartening, since access without success is simply no access. This is recurrently blamed on poor pre higher education schooling, insufficient and/or ineffective academic development programmes, and most essentially, funding. For instance, a survey of students who were academically in good standing, but dropped out, in the University of the Western Cape (UWC), indicated that 10% said that they would register at another institution and 86% indicated that they did not return for financial reasons[25]. A Telephone survey at the Port Elizabeth Technikon revealed a similar trend[26]. This raises questions around the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) at institutional levels. Certainly, NSFAS has significantly contributed to equity and redress factors in the Higher Education sector, yet its effectiveness should not be measured on mere statistics, but vis-à-vis its optimal capacity to contribute

Quality Higher Education?

Whilst equity challenges are being met, there is a view, which contends that ‘an exclusive concentration on the issue of equity/redress can lead to its unadulterated privileging at the expense of quality, which could result in compromising the goal of producing high quality graduates with the requisite knowledge, competencies and skills
[27]’. Conversely, ‘an exclusive focus on quality and standards can result in equity being retarded or delayed and therefore no or limited erosion of the racial and gender character of the high level occupational structure[28]’. The Department of Education as part of its objectives of the recently proposed Student Enrolment Planning in Higher Education (SEPHE), stated the need ‘to enhance quality, in particular, throughout and graduation rates[29].

The Student Consultative Conference on the formation of a single union of students in South Africa, which was convened in November/December 2004 at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University; extensively discussed the concept of ‘quality higher education’ and the proposed SEPHE. Central to questions raised were the systems, approaches and barometers used to measure higher education quality in South Africa, since its responsiveness to societal needs leaves a lot to be desired.

South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world, with almost half of the population unemployed and/or leaving in absolute poverty, and youth unemployment rate almost at 60%
[30]. With this reality, the effectiveness of South African higher education in meeting developmental challenges is highly questionable. This is not to suggest whatsoever that higher education should be fully responsible for creation of employment opportunities and addressing these socio-economic realities. It is to suggest although, that the quality of higher in South African is hollow and annulled. Students continue to be educated and socialised in the higher education system to seek individual solutions to collective challenges of society. This is a fundamental weakness of the whole access and equity rhetoric in higher education, since its objectives and outcomes in society are not instantly recognizable.

There is currently no or ineffective programme on curriculum review to respond to South African specific needs and challenges, such as underdevelopment, poverty, unemployment and HIV/AIDS. Documents emanating from the Ministries of Education, Labour, and Trade and Industry, and recently the Presidential Working Group on Higher Education express concern about the shortage of high-level personnel shortage due to the small intake of students in a number of important fields
[31]. On the other hand, there is the inadequacy of new and recently employed graduates to respond to demands of changing economy and society[32]. Government, the public service and the private sector are increasingly questioning the quality of recruits from Universities and Technikons, the nature and appropriateness of their qualifications and training and the international competitiveness of graduates in some fields[33]. Most certainly, this is a worrying factor, which vulgarises and defeats access and equity in South African higher education.

Student Enrolment Planning in Higher Education

The Student Enrolment Planning in Public Higher Education document argues that ‘the higher education system has grown more rapidly than the available resources
[34]’. This, the enrolment planning or ‘capping’ paper believes has placed severe pressure on institutional infrastructure, personnel, thus compromising the ability of Higher Education institutions to discharge their teaching and research mandate[35]. The SEPHE document then asserts that such ‘cannot continue if the Higher Education system is to contribute to the national development agenda through its role in the generation, transmission and application of knowledge in general and human resource development in particular[36]’. Consequently, SEPHE’s main goal is to ensure that student enrolments are matched with available resources[37]. Nonetheless, the practical reality of this has been reduction of student numbers in Higher Learning institutions, specifically non-paying students, starting from 2005.

The conclusions and/or pre-conclusions of the ‘capping’ strategy have proven to be very dangerous in that its core argument narrows success rates and quality to infrastructural and personnel capacity within institutions of higher learning.

Many in the Higher Education sector, notably student leaders can bear testimony to the fact that growth in enrolment numbers is not the factor and/or not the only factor, which curtails institutions to discharge their teaching and research mandate. A variety of other factors, including institutional cultures, poor pre higher education schooling, insufficient and ineffective academic support programmes are but some of the main factors, and conspicuously a response to this will require more than a mere ‘capping’ of enrolments. There should be a comprehensive strategy to address these challenges, since a narrowed ‘capping’ of enrolments will serve to undo the equity and redress achievements registered since 1994, due to institutional cultures, which elsewhere prefer a slower or no transformation pace in regard to racial and class demographics within institutions of higher learning.

Besides, the growth of the higher education sector, specifically enrolments was heralded by the DoE’s framework on Higher Education funding, which prescribed that higher education institutions should be funded in regard to the number of black students enrolled. The shift of the funding framework to release funds for higher education institutions in relation to their throughput and success rates has been a setback for certain institutions, since black students’ enrolment, was no longer a profitable phenomenon, with the painful reality that black students’ success rates are lower than those of their racial counterparts. Coupled with SEPHE, the new Higher Education funding framework only served to curtail the number of black students’ access and success in the South African higher education.

It is instructive to note that the department’s ‘capping’ strategy resulted from a very inorganic process, which centred on interaction between the DoE bureaucrats and institutional senior managers, without a broader and inclusive consultative and research process, which would have culminated in well-founded and comprehensive conclusions and propositions to address the challenges as confronting the Higher education sector. Instead, the department ‘analysed the HEMIS data submissions of each institution for the years 2000 to 2003; met with representatives of each institution (not Student Leaders) to discuss planning parameters; made proposals on parameters; and invited institutions to make submissions on the proposed parameters
[38]’. That is how the SEPHE was conceived, without involvement of student leadership, a comprehensive research and at least advice from the Council on Higher Education (CHE), and other important stakeholders.

If not fundamentally revisited and revised, the ‘capping’ strategy will most certainly and regressively curtail access, equity and redress in the South African higher education system. Resulting from institutional autonomy and academic freedom, and socio-political factors of H.E institutions, access and equity can be dealt a serious and heavy blow. For instance, Wits University reduced the intake of first year students on financial aid (mostly black and African) to 200 in 2005 from the ranges of 1500 to 2000 students in each of the previous four to five years. And prime to institutional management’s justifications was the SEPHE directives and parameters given to the University in 2004.

It is perplexing since the other important stakeholder in Higher Education, i.e. institutional senior management as represented by Higher Education South Africa (HESA), has not shown utmost agreement with or adherence to SEPHE proposals, yet it is purported that the core of its proposals were discussed with institutions of higher learning. HESA argued correctly that ‘SEPHE constitutes a one-dimensional concept of enrolment planning, that is a function, principally of funding—Medium Term Expenditure Patterns (MTEF) considerations
[39]’. HESA stated that if this intervention (SEPHE) takes place in isolation from other crucial interventions such as funding support, a more functional schooling and diversely expanded Further Education and Training (FET) sector to provide for other post schooling exit alternatives to learners and interventions to address throughput rates, the SEPHE would have limited impact[40]. This is very correct and bluntly put, SEPHE is a wrong instrument at a wrong moment and place and ought to be fundamentally revised.

Moreover, HESA argues in corroboration of what have been cited above that ‘the massive growth in enrolment of post-school leavers in higher education since this period is partly a consequence of these policies which were fully embraced by the sector as necessary, but which now, in the view of government, have come to exert unsustainable pressure on the fiscus
[41]’. Importantly, HESA raises concerns on whether government or the state should be limiting enrolments when South Africa has a relatively moderate participation rate, especially in relation to international levels of participation in higher education[42]. This argument is valid in that it calls upon the state to consider alternate solutions to the challenges that confront the higher education sector, particularly addressing the infrastructural and personnel capacity and resources, which SEPHE argues does not match current enrolments.

Autonomy and Academic Freedom

In South African Higher Education, academic freedom is understood within the context of T.B.Davie formula (“our freedom from external interference in (a) who shall teach, (b) what we teach, (c) how we teach, and (d) whom we teach”)
[43]. The Higher Education White Paper of 1997 defined institutional autonomy as ‘high degree of self-regulation and administrative independence with respect to student admissions, curriculum, methods of teaching and assessment, research, establishment of academic regulations and the internal management of resources generated from private and public sources[44]’. The White paper goes further to explicate that ‘there is no moral basis for using the principle of institutional autonomy as a pretext for resisting democratic change or in defence of mismanagement[45]’.

Now, the State accords absolute self-governing authority to higher education institutions, yet binding them to democratic principles and correct management on moral basis. It is not an overstatement that whilst academic freedom is a constitutional principle and a pillar of our young democracy, it has been practically used for regressive purposes and outcomes in the South African Higher education transformation trajectory. Whilst discussions are undergoing on monitoring and evaluation of institutional adherence to democratic change, government has not played a plausible role in ensuring that institutions are internally transformed concerning institutional cultures, administrative/academic staff demographics and responsiveness to social needs as outlined in the RDP, and White paper objectives for South African higher education.

The reality is that part of apartheid remnants and legacy in Higher Education, are administrative systems, personnel, and ideologies that constituted the backbone of apartheid education policy and social relations. To believe that the ostensible democratic forums and structures (Senate, Council, Forum and SRC) created to run Universities and Universities of Technology will play a redress and equity and/or transformation roles is to be very naive. Councils continue to undermine these other structures and endorse counter development and transformation policies. Councils have been crystallised into ruling and opposing factions and cabals, always embroiled in power brokering and struggles. At times, Councils form unholy alliances with institutional management to take decisions through inappropriate processes, which are not inclusive of relevant and affected stakeholders. Quite providentially, these structures take decisions in full knowledge that anyway they are protected by academic freedom and institutional autonomy.

These structures are somehow complacent in that they are not vigorously monitored and evaluated as to whether they are meeting the challenges they ought to meet, and the fact that the largest stakeholders in higher education, i.e. Students, are qualitatively and quantitatively underrepresented in structures of governance, except Student Representative Councils. This mostly emanates from lack of support, mishandling of continuity processes, denial to access to information and generally capacity to make meaningful contributions in governance structures. SRCs have been reduced to some powerless appendages of Management, and at times used for inappropriate activities.

Evidently, institutional Councils as established by the Higher Education Act have not been complimentary to the transformational and developmental roles, which Higher Education ought to play in the country. They have further not been helpful in assisting access and equity in higher education, since they continuously and at times blindly endorse fee increments; with little consideration of socio-economic impacts to disadvantaged students. There is a need to evaluate and re-asses the continued existence, effectiveness and character of institutional governance structures currently in place. We should begin to ask some of the relevant questions in relation to higher education governance structures. Are Councils correctly formulated and constituted to govern institutions of higher learning? Do we really need SRCs in their current homogenous and sometimes unrepresentative composition and format? How are these structures helping the South African society address developmental and economic challenges we are presently confronting?

It is a well-known reality that South Africa is still in transition from political, economic and social oppression. Higher Education, as has been illustrated above, was one of the tools used to oppress, exclude and exploit the black population in the South African society. Now, after gaining political power and influence, is there a necessity to bestow our trust in apartheid created demographics in institutions of higher learning to independently discharge teaching and research roles, with the hope that they will address the country’s economic and developmental challenges. If apartheid intervened in higher education to ensure that the country’s separate development strategy is fulfilled, what holds the current state from assisting, through intervention, a programme for a correct and necessary socio-economic change. Is academic freedom really in the interests of the South African majority? Surely, there is a need for a certain degree of intervention with the aim to transform, not damage the sector, and observably, the resounding question is how and when?

State and Institutions of Higher Learning

Whilst institutional governance structures have not been useful in pushing the access and equity objective, the DoE and/or State’s role in higher education is indecisive and wishy-washy. Since the democratic dawn, government policy has centred on the importance of transformation and meeting South African challenges and social needs, yet progress is not satisfactory, whilst plausible on certain aspects. Of note shall be the curriculum review necessity, since access to an education that inflicts and instils in young South Africans, ideologies that have helped exploit and oppress the African continent for centuries, is just worthless. The discussion is aware of the ongoing discussion and consultations spearheaded by the CHE on monitoring and evaluation, and equally aware of the fact that much input is being canvassed from sectors, which will conspicuously prefer the status quo.

Supervising of higher education is long overdue and was once hinted on in a discussion paper from the National Commission on Higher Education, which presaged that ‘state sees its task as supervising the higher education system to ensure academic quality and maintain certain level of accountability
[46]’. Whilst this has happened and currently happening through the CHE quality assurance programme, it does not help in addressing the equity and access objectives, and the responsiveness of higher education to societal needs. There is a possibility of a qualitative and accountable higher education, which might remain elitist, and only addressing concerns of the few in society, and that is not what we aim to achieve as a country.

Another important component of state and higher education relations is around funding. As has been hinted above, government opts for ‘capping’ vis-à-vis enhancement of institutional capacity to respond to growing enrolments. Government ought to redouble efforts in higher education funding in ensuring that the sector plays a meaningful role in the broader transformation of the country. Whilst NSFAS contributed significantly to the access of black students and addressing the equity imperative, its operation should be altered, including the release of the long awaited NSFAS review process.

Science, Technology and Engineering

Whilst a significant number of black students have had access to higher education, their access to science, technology and engineering sectors has been comparatively minimal. These sectors are very critical to the transformation, enhancement and harnessing of the South African economy, specifically its continued integration into the global market. Predominantly, this lack of access to the identified sectors is due to poor pre higher education system, which does not sufficiently prepare students from disadvantaged backgrounds (predominantly black) sufficiently for a highly sophisticated higher education.

Access to science, technology and engineering programmes ought to be enhanced through state-led programmes and projects of attracting more black students to the sector. There however must be consideration of the fact that this reality is interlinked with other factors, such as funding of black students and academic support programmes for those who gain access and concomitant realities. Therefore a comprehensive programme should be adopted and/or bolstered (if existent) to respond to this undesirable phenomenon.


Increased Funding

There is undeniably a need to radically increase budget for higher education in South Africa. Presently, education is the biggest budget item on the overall national budget. Yet, skills and knowledge needs of the South African society and economy have not been met, and development should be skills and knowledge driven. Investment in education is very critical, and should be canvassed for, whether through the currently equivocal ‘free education campaign’ or through various other methods. Consensus is that there is a need for heightened expenditure on education, at secondary and higher education level, to balance the knowledge and information gap, which exists between the two. Access and equity will be sufficiently addressed when there are available and quality educational resources for students and society as a whole.

Curriculum Review

This is one of the most important factors regarding access to higher education. As explicated above, access to an education system that does not help address the development challenges faced by the country and continent is fruitless. Substantive policy directions should be conceived and implemented in this regard.

Review of Institutional Governance

Part of the transformation process will at a certain stage; require an assessment and review of institutional governance systems, methods and mechanisms. Conclusively, current systems, methods and mechanisms do not help higher education to respond both the South African social, labour, economic and political needs. This has been illustrated above, and there is a need to re-assess these governance structures.

Strengthening the pre higher education system

A very critical and important instrument in achieving quality higher education will be a very strong pre higher education system. Students should be thoroughly prepared for higher education so as to avoid, inter alia, the massive dropout rates of first year students. A strong and well-focused pre higher education system is vital for the transformation of higher education in South Africa, since it links t issues of throughput and success rates.

Synchronisation of Training and Education in South Africa

Education and Training in South African should be coordinated under a single system. The co-existence of SETAs alongside higher education and FET has proved to be unhelpful in meeting the skills and knowledge needs of society, whilst consuming a big chunk of Skills development budget in the country.

Strengthening the FET sector

As argued above, the FET sector should serve as a training ground for South African broader community. It needs to be strengthened and funding provided for students who opt for that sector, to avoid, inter alia, crowding of higher education. FET remains a critical sector of Skills development, which requires bolstered funding programme.


Some of the existing objectives and policies in the higher education sector are very important and relevant and could assist in the transformation of the sector and society. It is argued that ‘the strengths of South Africa in policy formulation have not necessarily been matched in the crucial arenas of the planning and policy implementation
[47]’. The rhetoric should come to end and the theory put into practice.


The above discussion made attempts to assess the challenges of access and equity in South African higher education. Acknowledging the impossibility of separating these challenges from the broader societal challenges, as informed amongst other things, by South Africa’s colonial/apartheid past, the discussion made reference to critical matters in the H.E sector ranging from governance to funding. The discussion further made recommendations that might help to address some of these challenges.

Conference Paper, and if you have inputs, you can send them through

Reference List

· Badat, S. (1999), Black Student Politics, Higher Education and Apartheid: from SASO to SANSCO, 1968-1990. Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria.
· Cloete, N., Pillay, P., Badat, S., Moja, T., (2004), National Policy & a Regional Response in South African Higher Education, Cape Town, David Phillip
· Department of Bantu Education. (1976) Annual Report, Pretoria, DBE
· Department of Education. (1997), Education White Paper 3: A Programme for the Transformation of Higher Education

· Department of Education. (2003). Higher Education Management Information System. Pretoria
· Davies, R. O’Meara, D. & Dlamini, S. (1984. The Struggle for South Africa: A reference guide to Movements, Organisations and Institutions, Volume 1
· Department of Education. (2004). Student Enrolment Planning in Public Higher Education, Pretoria
· Du Toit, A. (2001). Revisiting Academic Freedom in South Africa: Current Issues and Challenges, Commission on Higher Education Transformation (CHET), Cape Town
HESA, Putting a cap on student numbers: Varsity Leaders respond Mail & Guardian August 19 t0 25 2005

Malherbe, E.G. (1977). Education in South Africa, Volume 2: 1923-1975. Johannesburg, Juta
· National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE). (1996). Report: A Framework for Transformation; Pretoria, HSRC Publication
· Slovo, J 'South Africa - No Middle Road', Southern Africa: The New Politics of Revolution, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1976
· University of Western Cape. (1999). A Survey of Non-Returning Students, Cape Town
· Wolpe, H. (1988). Race, Class and Apartheid State. London: UNESCO/James Currey

[1] Badat, S. (1999), Black Student Politics, Higher Education and Apartheid: from SASO to SANSCO, 1968-1990. Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, page 48. [2] Ibid.[3] Dvies, R. O’Meara, D. & Dlamini, S. (1984. The Struggle for South Africa: A reference guide to Movements, Organisations and Institutions, Volume 1, page 2[4] Joe Slovo, 'South Africa - No Middle Road', Southern Africa: The New Politics of Revolution, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1976, p. 118[5] Malherbe, E.G. (1977). Education in South Africa, Volume 2: 1923-1975. Johannesburg, Juta, page 731
[6] Op Cit, Badat, S. page 56[7] Ibid, page 70[8] Department of Bantu Education. (1976) Annual Report, Pretoria, DBE, page 118[9] Op Cit. Badat, S. page 61[10] Wolpe, H. (1988). Race, Class and Apartheid State. London: UNESCO/James Currey, page 5.
[11] Op Cit. Badat, S. page 62[12] Op Cit. Wolpe, H.[13] Op Cit. Badat, S. page 63[14] Ibid.[15] Ibid.[16] Ibid.
[17] Cloete, N., Pillay, P., Badat, S., Moja, T., (2004), National Policy & a Regional Response in South African Higher Education, Cape Town, David Phillip, page 3. [18] Department of Education. (1997), Education White Paper 3: A Programme for the Transformation of Higher Education[19] Op Cit. Cloete, N et al, page 54[20] Department of Education. (2003). Higher Education Management Information System. Pretoria
[21] Op Cit. Cloete, N et al, page 31[22] Ibid.[23] Ibid.[24] Inid, page 64[25] University of Western Cape. (1999). A Survey of Non-Returning Students, Cape Town, page 1[26] Quoted in Op Cit. Cloete, N et al, page 65[27] Ibid, page 21[28] Ibid.[29] Department of Education. (2004). Student Enrolment Planning in Public Higher Education, Pretoria, page 4.[30] African National Congress. (2005). DISCUSSION DOCUMENT: DEVELOPMENT AND UNDERDEVELOPMENT LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE TO OVERCOME THE TWO-ECONOMY DIVIDE ANC National General Council 2005
[31] Op Cit, Cloete, N et al, page 34.[32] Ibid.[33] Ibid.[34] Op Cit DoE, SEPHE, page 3[35] Ibid.[36] Ibid, page 3[37] Ibid.[38] Ibid, page 4-5[39] HESA, Putting a cap on student numbers: Varsity Leaders respond Mail & Guardian August 19 t0 25 2005, Getting Ahead pullout, page 14.
[40] Ibid.[41] Ibid.[42] Ibid, page 15[43] Du Toit, A. (2001). Revisiting Academic Freedom in South Africa: Current Issues and Challenges, Commission on Higher Education Transformation (CHET), Cape Town, page 2. see
[44] Op Cit, Department of Education. (1997).[45] Ibid.[46] National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE). (1996). Report: A Framework for Transformation; Pretoria, HSRC Publications, Section 5.3.[47] Op Cit, Cloete, N et al, page 42


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. Yet I have fount a website that allows you to trade in almost anything like asphalt road
on interest free credit, and you can pay for your asphalt road
whenever you want. Here is the link one more time: asphalt road

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