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South Africa: Higher Education
South Africa: Higher Education
Date distributed (ymd): 981105
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +US policy focus+ +economy/development+
This posting contains a press release on a Michigan State University conference
on higher education partnerships with South Africa, held in October 1998.
The conference web site referenced in this posting contains links to the
conference agenda, summaries of panel sessions, audio files of some speeches
and an extensive annotated resource section on South African higher education,
U.S./South African relations, and related topics.
240 Higher Education Representatives Meet to Discuss Partnerships with
For additional information:
Moses Turner (517) 353-6676 firstname.lastname@example.org
David Wiley (517) 353-1700 email@example.com
October 22, 1998 --
Representatives from half of South Africa's 37 universities and technikons
met at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan from October
18-21 to discuss building academic partnerships with people from 70 U.S.
colleges, universities, and community colleges and five institutions in
Canada and Europe.
Naledi Pandor, Deputy Chair of the National Council of Provinces (the
upper house of the South African Parliament) told the 240 conference participants
that South African universities must seek ways to be engaged in the transformation
of the whole society and that higher education partnerships should seek
to meet this challenge as well.
Teboho Moja, Special Advisor to the South African Minister of Education,
challenged the paradigm of internationalizing education and argued instead
for globalizing education. It is necessary to acknowledge the inequalities
between institutions of the North and South so that it is possible to move
toward greater equity - by building partnerships based on mutuality, empowerment,
and shared values.
The interest on the part of U.S. institutions in partnerships with South
Africa is very high, but Colin Bundy, Vice Chancellor of the University
of Witwatersrand, noted that institutions must ask why they wish to enter
into a particular partnership agreement. They must be prepared to face
the rapid change occurring in both South African higher education institutions
and in South African society as a whole.
The importance of reciprocity between South African and overseas partners
emerged repeatedly at the conference, entitled Academic Partnerships with
South Africans for Mutual Capacity Building.
Lou Anna Simon, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Michigan
State University, described benefits that could accrue to U.S. institutions
from partnerships with South AfricaWe want to join you as co-equal partners
in conducting research and to train the next generation of post-graduate
students - yours and ours - to address the pressing global issues that
affect all of us. . . None of us can do this work alone, and we need an
increasing coordination of our efforts.
Richard Fehnel, Ford Foundation representative in Johannesburg, suggested
that partnering institutions that succeed in addressing the challenges
of development in South Africa will have a global market for their work
because the problems of development that South Africa faces are common
to most of the world.
Several case studies of existing partnerships were presented at the
conference and demonstrated that there is no one size fits all model for
U.S.-South African partnerships, as Betty Overton of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
pointed out. Some partnerships can be based on mutual benefits to both
institutions, while others will be designed to address major needs of some
historically disadvantaged institutions in such areas as undertrained staff
and inadequate management.
Repeatedly, conference participants made analogies between a good partnership
and a good marriage. Both require the partners to listen carefully to each
other, to respond with seriousness, and to make a commitment.
Brian Figaji, Vice Chancellor of Peninsula Technikon (near Cape Town)
and Chair of the Committee of Technikon Principals, challenged South African
and overseas institutions to share more broadly the benefits of existing
partnerships by such means as notifying nearby institutions of visitors
Many participants, including representatives of funding agencies such
as the Ford Foundation and W.G. Kellogg Foundation, urged that partnerships
be organized through academic consortia of South African institutions.
Noting that South Africa is in a powerful position within the region, Professor
Jonathan Jansen, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of
Durban-Westville, urged that partnerships involving South African and U.S.
institutions also include an institution in another Southern African country.
Ensuring that the U.S. partners are diverse was urged by President William
DeLauder of Delaware State University. He argued that it is important to
include historically Black universities and colleges (HBCUs) in partnerships
with South Africa because their experiences are similar. Important lessons
can be drawn from the situation and development of both HBCUs in the U.S.
and the historically disadvantaged institutions established for Black students
during the apartheid era in South Africa. Sixteen HBCUs participated in
Conference Chair Moses Turner, Professor of Educational Administration
at MSU, expressed satisfaction that conference participants felt that the
objectives of the conference had been met, namely to assess the current
status of academic partnerships and their strengths and weaknesses, evaluate
new models of partnerships, and explore the financial realities of establishing
and maintaining partnerships.
Three South African higher education associations co-sponsored the conference:
the Committee of Technikon Principals, the Historically Disadvantaged Institutions
Forum, and the South African Universities Vice Chancellors Association.
Michigan State University was the host and U.S. sponsor of the conference.
More than 50 MSU faculty have developed working relationships with colleagues
in South African higher education institutions. MSU also is developing
a study abroad program with University of Durban-Westville in South Africa.
The university has a long history of partnerships with universities in
Africa, including extensive linkages with universities in Zimbabwe, Senegal,
Nigeria, and Ethiopia.
MSU also announced a new website Resources on South African Higher Education
for finding South African institutions, education organizations, transformation
documents and debates, and government programs. U.S. government programs
and study abroad opportunities in South Africa also are listed. See http://www.isp.msu.edu/AfricanStudies/SAHiEdcn.htm.
The conference web site at http://www.h-net.msu.edu/partnership/
includes audio recordings of several speeches at the conference.
The Resources on South African Higher Education web site (http://www.isp.msu.edu/AfricanStudies/SAHiEdcn.htm)
not only contains extensive annotated listings of web links South African
higher education and U.S. links to that sector in particular. The annotated
links also provide a well-organized guide to on-line resources on U.S./South
African relations in other sectors and on study abroad opportunities in
other African countries as well as South Africa.
The description on the home page of the web site reads in part:
"This website is designed to support higher education in South
Africa and people working to transform it. There are links here to most
South African universities, technikons, and several higher education consortia
-- as well as numerous research and policy documents from the South African
Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET), Centre for Science Development
(CSD of HSRC), Department of Education, and other organizations. These
resources can foster partnerships among tertiary education institutions
in South Africa and with those in other countries, and in forums such as
the U.S./S.A. Bi-National Commission."
Sections on the site include:
Higher Education Transformation in South Africa
Tertiary Education Institutions in South Africa
South African Higher Education Organizations
South African Government Documents and Other Resources
U.S. Government Programs on South Africa
Study Abroad Programs in South Africa and other African countries
MSU Programs and Linkages with South Africa
General Information Sources on South Africa
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa
Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary objective is to widen
the policy debate in the United States around African issues and the U.S.
role in Africa, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant
information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.