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THE ANC YOUTH LEAGUE`s SUBMISSION ON THE HIGHER EDUCATION GREEN PAPER

13 March 1997

Introduction

1.0 The ANCYL welcomes the release of the Green Paper by the Minister of Education for the following reasons:

  1. it breathes salvation to the very troubled higher education sector in SA; but most importantly it initiates a comprehensive process to transform our higher education and bring it in line with the broader national goals for reconstruction and development. It spells out the framework and parameters for a higher education discourse in this country, and puts to an end a situation whereby this discourse is dictated by emotional, passionate and angry responses to the actions of students in all institutions. In short, it seeks to address the roots, and not the symptoms, of the HE crisis.

  2. it acknowledges that the road to higher edudges that the road to higher education transformation is irreversible regardless of sinister forces who would want us to do otherwise;

  3. it brings with it new rights and responsibilities that have been bestowed upon the citizenry of this country and all stake-holders in education;

  4. it completes the process of realizing consistency at policy level: first through the Education White Paper, the further legislation of the SA Schools Act, and now the release of the HE Green Paper; and

  5. it draws on the philosophy of the new SA of consultation and central involvement of all stake-holders in the process, and has not lost the vision of a people-driven and people-centred vision in its approach.

1.2 The ANCYL sincerely believes that it is the political task of this democratic and popular government to lead the transformation of SA, and all its superstructures like higher education; but it is also a shared responsibility of all sectors of civil society; the youth, students, staff, management, labour, business and community organizations to do the same. Eventually, civil society must take the most share of the responsibility and lead this process to its logical consummation logical consummation.

1.3 Whilst the ANCYL generally agrees with the thrust of the document, it, however, wishes to make some proposals.

CHAPTER 1: VISION, PRINCIPLES, GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

1. Purposes of Higher Education

1.1 It is our view that HE is a resource for national development and advancement of knowledge. Hence, its transformation must be in line with the vision of reconstruction and development.

1.2 It must create an active, responsible, independent, critical and productive citizenry that is able to fully participate in the life of their communities and the nation as a whole.

1.3 It must seek to advance to new levels the political, social, cultural and economic development and empowerment of all citizens, especially the hitherto oppressed and disadvantaged peoples.

3 & 4 Vision and Principles

  1. The central principles that should guide HE in SA should be non-racialism, non-sexism, unity, and democracy.

  2. These two sections must make a vehese two sections must make a very concrete commitment towards an establishment of substantive policies on gender equities, affirmative action and institutional culture. Furthermore, they must cater for affirmative programs for rural and physically disabled students, especially at the level of equity and redress.

  3. We recommend a national framework of policy and incentives to ensure that employers observe their obligation regarding the education and training of their employees.

  4. We suggest that an increased role of the state be acknowledged as another principle, especially during this, the transitional period.

CHAPTER 2: NEEDS AND CHALLENGES

2. Inequalities in the system

  1. This section generally makes no serious suggestions on the redress of all the issues that it raises.

2.1 Access

2.1.1 We recommend that this section be broadened and disaggregated to include access (to higher education) of women, workers, the physically disabled, the rural students, adults and youth from Youth Colleges. An instouth from Youth Colleges. An institutional culture and mechanism to assist these students to development must be created; for example through systems of mentorship and user-friendly technologies.

2.1.2 Furthermore, the question of funding must be urgently attended to as it also precludes many students from the disadvantaged communities (from accessing higher education).

2.1.3 We suggest the creation of a comprehensive support services system for students, and even for staff.

2.1.4 As part of accessibility, institutions must be made safe and secure areas for women in particular.

2.2 Outputs and Throughputs

2.2.1 We aknowledge and agree with the GP that access and student outputs are uneven across the HE system. We, however, recommend that a strategic vision be established by the stake-holders, led by the Ministry, that stipulates a concrete time-frame and program to achieve an increase in outputs and throughputs of black and women students in particular.

2.2.2 We, further, recommend that this data neeend that this data needs further disaggregation by ensuring that an institutional culture that encourages high throughput rates for blacks and women is achieved within that given time-frame, and obstacles precluding women from graduating (due to socio-economic conditions) be addressed in an urgent and systematic way.

3. The Policy Challenges of Transition and Globalization

3.1 Whilst we agree with 3.1, we just emphasize that this transformation must contain the same vision of the broader SA`s political, social and economic transition.

3.2 HE transformation in SA must also consider another crucial concept and world trend: regionalization

3.3 However, SA`s national interests, vision and program must be paramount.

4. Transition and Transformation

4.1 The ANCYL contends that the perspective that should guide our transformation agenda should be that of creating a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous SA.

4.2.1 Increased Participation

4.2.1.1 The ANCYL agrees that increased participation is not only about accessing more students to higher education institutions. It is also about greater participation in decision-making structures. It means more black and women students and staff studying at post-graduate level, and more black and women staff employed at management level of institutions.

4.2.1.2 It should also mean the use of new technological ways to expand the sector; a more effective and efficient use of existing resources especially in areas where more than one institutions using the same language are found.

4.2.1.3 We further suggest that more caution must be exercised in this regards as resources may be an impediment towards realizing this goal. Resources must be mobilized for this goal so that "massification" does not affect other education sectors and needs of this country negatively.

4.2.2 Greater Responsiveness

4.2.2.1 We suggest that a comprehensive "compulsory community service" or a system equivalent to it, with necessary rewards and incentives, be developed as a package of greater community responsiveness.

4.2.3 Increased cooperation and partnerships

4.2.3.1 We suggest that the nature of this cooperation and partnerships be elaborated and clarified.

4.2.3.2 Furthermore, capacity building for other partners, especially the students, must be attended to in order to adddress power relations among partners and stake-holders. Other partners may be privileged by their access to resources and by their capacity to drive their agendas at the expense of the less t the expense of the less advantaged.

CHAPTER 3: STRUCTURE AND GROWTH

  1. We endorse the idea of a single-coordinated system to govern and fund HE. However, the GP must establish an audit of currently existing institutions and programs, and determine whether diversification or specialization is going to be the route for the coordination of the system.

  2. It must address the relevance of having a number of institutions on one geographical area using the same language with no diversification of programs. It must explore the idea of a single multiple campus that will be cost-effective and yet not displace students from their residential areas.

  3. The GP must clarify the shape and size of the system during transition.

2. A single coordinated system

2.1 The GP must make provisions for the diversified nature of our student constituencies and their backgrounds.

2.2 It must comprehensively address the anomaly of still having historically black and historically white institutions. The GP must look into an institutionalized plan of nto an institutionalized plan of deracialization in institutions of higher learning.

7. Distance Education and Resource-based Learning

7.1 The GP needs to address the role of existing institutions, especially in areas where distance learning institutions are located and the role these institutions should play in enhancing programs offered by distance learning institutions.

7.2 A system of learner assistance must be developed to ensure that a `revolving door` approach through which students enter the system and leave with nothing in their hands is not perpetuated.

7.3 Distance education should be funded as part of the National Students Financial Aid Scheme.

7.4 This sector should be accessed by both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

7.5 The ANCYL endorses the creation of a single distance education institution which, of course, shall be integrated into our broader HE system.

8. The College Sector in a Single Coordinated System

We endorse the idea of a further examination of the role, location and structure of thi location and structure of this sector by the Ministry, but still wish to suggest that:

  1. this sector be part of the broader HE system. This shall apply at the level of governance, funding and other areas.

  2. cooperative governance must apply here as well: particularly between the various responsible Ministries (education, safety and security, health, agriculture).

8.5 Further Education

8.5.1 This section must also cater for the currently out-of-school youth, youth in Community or Youth Colleges and should create access for them into the HE system.

14. Research and Postgraduate Study

14.1 The ANCYL contends that research should not be privatized and made a commodity; but it should be treated asa national resource for the benefit of society.

14.2 Research should also be encouraged in the undergraduate sector and should not only become an exclusive domain for postgraduate study especially in view of the fact that there are few blacks and women who go on to study Masters and Doctoral levels.

14.3 A mechanism must be established to ensure that there are more blacks and women in the postgraduate studies.

14.4 There should be established a subsidy formula for postgraduate studies within the NSFAS. (A significant number of disadvantaged students enrol for postgraduate studies not out of choice but due to failure to get employment, hence do not have funds for postgraduate study).

14.5 The increase in "the proportion of SA`s private and public funding of research and development that is spent in higher education" (14.5.1; p. 35) should favour black students and women, especially those in fields historically inaccessible to them.

CHAPTER 4: GOVERNANCE

1. A model of cooperative governance

1.1 Whilst this is a welcome proposal, in line with the dynamic model being pursued in government, capacity building, especially for students and non-academic staff, is requisite in order to deal with a power balance and empower those sectors (which may be generally disadvantaged) to effectively participate in cooperative governance structures.

1.2 The Code of Conduct must be based on shared and common goals, broad objectives, a concrete program of action, framework, time-frames and commitment to transformation. Otherwise, it will be meaningless and will always be undermined. A code of conduct should guide conduct in the pursuit of something known by all and not be used to block transformation.

2. Academic Freedom, Institutional Autonomy and Accountability

2.1 The ANCYL agrees that these three concepts are intertwined. Whilst we do not wish to see the first two concepts undermined in the short-term as that would have long-term effects, we, however, believe that in the manner that the liberal paradigm is modelling them actuallydigm is modelling them actually compromises them. The ANCYL fails to accept that a democratic government, popularly elected to lead, guide and oversee the transformation of all sectors and facets of our society would now be told to stay out of the academic orientation of institutions of HE, and out of these institutions. Yet, we have already witnessed many, if not most, institutions waging life-and-death struggles to resist transformation.

When it suits the conservative and liberal managers and administrations, they cherish these ideals; and when it does not they forget them. Most often, in the recent periods, these concepts have been used to block government from intervening on the side of transformation; and yet also to call government to intervene when these managements and administrations are under pressure from students, workers and staff.

2.2 We contend strongly that government must be able to, in the transitional period in particular, increase its regulatory and steering powers for a definitive period until various institutional organs are able to pursue transformation on their own, and in good faith. A concrete transformation program should become the content of academic freedom and institutional autonomy. In the least, institutions must be accountable to their own constitue to their own constituencies, and of course to the public at large. Accountability also applies in the domain of academic production.

3. Governance at system level

3.1 A dynamic form of system level governance is also required to lead to the transcendance of adversarial relations among civil society itself (at institutional level) which also needs to re-prioritize its concerns and direct its behavior for the common good.

3.2 We endorse 3.2, but also add the political context of a democratizing society.

4. Council on Higher Education

4.1 The CHE must have a definitive duration, probably of five years. This would, of course, have an impact on the students constituency which changes constantly.

4.2 Ministerial appointees should also have a definitive number of not more than five (5). The GP must clearly stipulate that all sectors and stake-holders must send balanced representations, especially in terms of race, gender, and others.

4.3 The relationship between the CHE, institutions and stake-holders must be clarified:ake-holders must be clarified: it can either be regulated or lose.

4.4 We further that YOUTH, probably through the non-statutory National Youth Council, should also be invited to the CHE.

4.5 The GP should also clarify the nature of the relationship between the CHE and parliament as it alludes in 4.8.

6. Institutional Governance

6.1 The formation of BTFs must be pursued as an urgent task by the Ministry, all institutions and all stake-holders. However, their role, powers and composition must be clarified. BTFs must be seen as `sunset structures` of unity that should lead towards transformation and should not seek to be sustained beyond their mandate.

6.2 We, however, wish to quickly point out that successful institutional governance of a cooperative nature will depend on the good will of all parties acting in good faith despite and in spite of all their differencies.

CHAPTER 5: FUNDING

  1. A definitive vision, a five to ten year plan, should be created to guide earmarked funding for redress. There cand funding for redress. There cannot be an earmarked redress funding forever. This would be an indication of a lack of transformation plan.

  2. We endorse the `goal-oriented funding incentives` provided the capacity of HBIs is built.

  3. We endorse 1.6, especially the last paragraph.

2. Needs and Cost Implications

2.1 There is an urgent need to harness the attention and resources of the private sector towards HBIs as they may all be drawn towards HWIs. The government must intervene and set a mechanism of realizing this.

4. Goal-oriented public funding

4.1 As a point of emphasis, capacity building is requisite for HBIs.

6. Earmarked funding

6.3 Earmarked funding for students financial aid

6.3.1 The government should set up mechanisms to oversee TEFSA management at institutional level in order to avoid:

  • patronage and corruption- patronage and corruption
  • with-holding of aid information from students by institutions
  • inefficiency leading to roll-overs worth millions of rands.

6.3.2 TEFSA funding must be made accessible to first-entry students as well. Currently, these students are disadvantaged in regards to funding as returning students are preferred to them, hence making their accessibility to higher education difficult.

6.5 Accountability

6.5.1 The GP must suggest a mechanism through which institutions shall account for their funding.

FOR CONSIDERATION

  • There has to be a compulsory community servicpulsory community service scheme for students and academic staff linked to public funding. This should ensure that people pay back to communities that which is owed to them through their sacrifices subsidising HE and research, and put an end to freight of skills produced in our country through our people`s taxes.
  • There are no proposals dealing with students` arrears in the NOW TERM.
  • There needs to be a phased program of multi-lingualism to addressthe problem of language in Afrikaans medium institutions. This should be done in line with cost implications.