CHE Newsletter June 2016

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June, 2016
 
QUALITY MATTERS
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From the CEO's desk

The Council on Higher Education (CHE) serves and interacts with a range of stakeholders which include parliament, government, higher education institutions, students, parents and/or sponsors, industry and employers, and civil society. Regular communication with stakeholders is of prime importance to ensure that all are apprised of the work of the CHE in its diverse mandates of quality assurance, policy advice and monitoring of the higher education sector. To this end, the CHE has invested in a number of communication media and platforms including the website, brochures, exhibition stands, book publications and the quality assurance fora. Recently, it has added the electronic newsletter to its battery of communication and media and initiatives; and I am pleased to share some introductory remarks in this third issue of the CHE electronic newsletter. In this issue you will read about the three new publications that the CHE has recently produced. The first one presents an analysis of the salient trends and developments in higher education in the country over the last two decades. The second latest publication presents the reflections of some former university leaders on their experiences as heads of universities during the first decade of democracy. It is a source of testimony and insights on leading universities at a time of profound change in higher education that the former leaders have distilled from their experiences, and which they generously share with current and future generations of leaders of higher education institutions. The third publication is a collection of papers that were presented at a student funding colloquium that the CHE convened in December 2015. I encourage readers to make time to go through these publications as they are the results of painstaking work, and there is a lot to be learnt from them. The quality enhancement project (QEP) is a key initiative through which higher education institutions are engaged systemically by the CHE. No doubt readers would be interested in knowing the progress made to-date in this project; and accordingly, this issue of the newsletter provides an update on the QEP. Of particular interest are the institutional visits that peer reviewers are undertaking to hear representatives of university structures, notably management and students, talking about the strides that their respective institutions have made towards improving quality in the specified focus areas. The 2015 – 2020 Strategic Plan of the CHE flagged the participation in the activities of regional and international quality assurance and promotion networks, and the development of bilateral and/ or multilateral partnerships, as one of areas that require revival. This issue of the newsletter also reports about the hosting of a delegation from Mozambique, and the plans to organise and host the 3rd Southern African Regional Conference on Quality Assurance in Higher Education. These are some of the activities that the CHE is undertaking to ensure that it remains at the leading edge in discourses and initiatives on quality provision and articulation in higher education across national boundaries. The CHE is this year participating in an internship programme which is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and managed by the National Research Foundation (NRF). Its goal is to afford unemployed graduates an opportunity to acquire practical research work experience, and thus contribute to building research capacity in the country. There is an article in this issue of the newsletter that gives details of the programme and as well as the participation of the CHE in it. Also included in this issue, is information on upcoming events that could be of interest to readers. I am confident that readers will find the articles quite informative. At the same time, I encourage you to provide feedback on the articles in the current issue, and to indicate the nature of articles that you would like to see in futures issues of the newsletter.

Enjoy the reading!

Prof. Narend Baijnath Chief Executive Officer

CHE launches three new publications

South African Higher Education Reviewed: Two decades of democracy is a new CHE publication that collates and presents the analysis of a number of important trends and developments in higher education in South Africa undertaken by eight task teams focusing on specific aspects of the sector. The canvas spans the two decades since the dawn of democracy in South Africa and the adoption of the South African constitution in 1996. The first chapter of the 400-page book provides an overview of developments in the sector within a broad national context, and references international trends in higher education, while the other seven other chapters hone in on Regulation, Governance, Teaching and Learning, Research, Community Engagement, Academic Staffing and Funding. www.che.ac.za/media_and_publications/monitoring-and-evaluation/south-afr...
The intention of this publication is to provide the reader with a broad overview of the main trends and developments related to different aspects of higher education over the period reviewed, and to stimulate further debate and research towards informing future policy developments aimed at the transformation and quality enhancement of our higher education system.

Reflections of South African University Leaders: 1981-2014

Reflections is collection of voices of nine past South African university leaders that harnesses the insights and knowledge about academic leadership that they garnered in a time of great change in higher education. During this period of transition, the sector benefitted from visionary and strong leaders who discovered different ways of enhancing the higher education institutions they led. The myriad challenges faced at the various institutions required different types of leadership and management, and the leaders’ accounts reveal how they negotiated such difficulties, sometimes successfully, and other times less so. In each of the accounts, there are reflections, made with the benefit of hindsight, on the essential elements of good leadership, and a sharing of the wisdom gained through direct experience. This collection will be of interest to the general reader, to academics and students, and to current and future leaders in the education sector as a whole. www.che.ac.za/media_and_publications/monitoring-and-evaluation/reflectio...

Kagisano: Student Funding

The tenth issue of the CHE’s journal, Kagisano, brings together a number of papers that were presented at a CHE colloquium on student funding that was held in December 2015. The colloquium took as its point of departure the Funding chapter of South African Higher Education Reviewed, and the various papers, presented by experts who responded to a call for papers, all address in different ways the student funding crisis that reached a head with the #feesmustfall campaign in late 2015, and that continues to underlie student unrest in higher education. Different ideas on how to restructure student funding are presented, and the solutions range from the philosophical to the practical. This issue aims to contribute to the ongoing conversations, negotiations and policy-making aimed at ameliorating the intractable challenge of how to fund increasing access to higher education while ensuring that students receive a quality higher education experience. www.che.ac.za/media_and_publications/kagisano-series/kagisano-number-10-...

Great excitement as the Kagisano arrives from the printer

Contemplating Higher Education Reviewed: an absorbing read ahead.

CHE hosted a delegation from Mozambique

On 14 April 2016, the CHE hosted a delegation from Mozambique. The six-person delegation had five senior officials from the Mozambique Ministry of Science and Technology, Higher Education and Professional Training; and one official from the Mozambique National Research Foundation. The main interest of the delegation was to understand the work of the CHE; and how it relates to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF), in its programmes and activities. The leader of the delegation, Mr Boaventura Nuvunga, the National Director for Planning and Cooperation in the Mozambique Ministry of Science and Technology, Higher Education and Professional Training, explained that the Mozambican equivalence of the CHE is the National Council on Quality Assurance (CNAQ). He promised to provide information about the CHE to the management of CNAQ with a view to kick-starting dialogue between the two agencies which could lead to the exploration of possibilities for cooperation and collaboration. Speaking at the meeting, Mr Aluwani Nemapate, a Deputy Director for Africa and Middle East Relations at DHET, explained the background of the delegation’s visit to South Africa. He explained that in March 2015, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, visited Mozambique and met with his counterpart, the Minister of Science and Technology, Higher Education and Professional Training. During the meeting, the two Ministers discussed the need to enter into an agreement on higher education and training. Following this visit, the Department invited the delegation from the Mozambique Ministry of Science and Technology, Higher Education and Professional Training to visit South Africa from 13 to 15 April 2016. The Department included a visit to the CHE. The delegation was informed that a network of quality assurance in higher education agencies in southern Africa was launched in Botswana in October 2015. It was further informed that, one of the main activities on the calendar of the regional network, the Southern African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN), is to hold regional conferences on an annual basis, with countries in the region rotating as the hosts. It was communicated to the delegation that the CHE was in the process of organising the 2016 SAQAN conference which is scheduled to take place in October 2016. On departure, the delegation expressed appreciation to the CEO and management of the CHE for not only making time to meet them, but also for imparting valuable knowledge to them, as they felt that they had learnt a lot within the few hours they had spent at the CHE. The delegation also thanked Dr Amani Saidi, Director: Quality Assurance and Coordination, who was the point of contact at the CHE in the three way communication between the Ministry in Mozambique, the DHET and CHE while making arrangements for the visit. Dr Saidi also chaired the meeting between the delegation and CHE management.

CHE hosts delegation from the Mozambique Ministry of Science and Technology, Higher Education and Professional Training and the Mozambique National Research Foundation.

Conference Announcement: 3rd SAQAN Southern African Regional Conference

The CHE will be organising and hosting the 3rd SAQAN Southern African Regional Conference on Quality Assurance that will take place from 19 to 21 October 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. The theme of the conference is: Quality Promotion and Capacity Development in Higher Education in Southern Africa: Concepts, Perspectives and Practices The South African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN) is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to promote a culture of quality assurance in higher education in SADC; advance good practice in the enhancement and maintenance of quality higher education in SADC; facilitate research into the practice of quality assurance in higher education for purposes of improving the quality of higher education within SADC; and seeks to develop, maintain, strengthen and encourage internal and external quality assurance mechanisms in Southern Africa. SAQAN is, therefore, committed to strengthening collaboration and networking among all stakeholders involved in quality assurance in higher education. Professionals who are involved or have interest in quality assurance and promotion in higher education are cordially invited to take part in the conference. For more information:

Update on the Quality Enhancement Project

The Quality Enhancement Project (QEP) was launched in February 2014 as a sector-wide project to promote student success in higher education. Quality enhancement is about improving. There are no boxes to tick off. Enhancement is never done. It is a journey. But there are milestones and measures of success on the journey. The QEP has been designed to encourage institutions to reflect on what they do and why, and to use evidence to consider the effects and how they could improve. In Phase 1 of the QEP, from 2014-2015, all institutions were asked to engage with four focus areas, first by providing baseline information in 2014 and then, at the end of 2015, by indicating how they were improving. The focus areas are: enhancing academics as teachers, enhancing student support and development, enhancing the learning environment and enhancing course and programme enrolment management.<br> In 2016 a team comprised of trained peer reviewers and the CHE is will be visiting each university. The purpose of the institutional visit is to provide a structured opportunity for institutional leaders to engage with peer reviewers external to the institution about the journey they are taking towards improvement in the QEP focus areas, the milestones achieved, the challenges encountered along the way and the plans for further improvement. It is also an opportunity for institutions to receive feedback on their engagement with the focus areas and suggestions for what else they might consider doing, or doing differently, based on what is being learned in and with the sector. The visit is followed by a written report produced by the peer reviewers and the CHE. The broad frame for the visit is appreciative inquiry, originally developed by Cooperrider and Srivastva (1988). Eleven institutional visits have been carried out so far this year.