Challenges for Higher Education in South Africa: The Case of Universities of Technology

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:50
Oral Presentation
Mduduzi MTSHALI, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Radhamany SOORYAMOORTHY, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
South Africa introduced technikons in the early 1980s. Changes in the political dispensation from apartheid to democracy saw a significant restructuring of the South African higher education landscape. One such change in 2003 resulted in technikons being converted into universities of technology. This move by the South African government was considered radical, but in line with the world trends, by granting technikons degree-awarding status. Now that technikons have become degree-granting institutions and since current policies define degrees as taught by staff engaged in research, many staff now had to develop skills in research. Technikons lacked a research culture and research-capacity building therefore, in technikons today, the tradition of research is limited, research audits for the institutions are low, and a research culture is not engendered. In the proposed paper, we are examining the following issues of higher education occurring in the universities of technology in South Africa.

  1. How does the transformation of technikons to the universities of technolgy affect the functions of teaching and research?
  2. What are the existing research cultures at the universities of technology and how do they relate to their core function of conducting research in the changed structural environment?
  3. What strategies have been put in place to adapt to the changes in terms of promoting a research culture in the new universities of technology?
  4. What can be expected in regard to the future of these universities of technoloiges in terms of research culture and research productivity?