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Big debate: Equality in Higher Education


A critical reflection and exploration on Equality in Higher Education, with specific emphasis on the barriers to student access and success will be the focus of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Big Debate that is part of Universities South Africa’s Common Campaign Premier Event today, 2 September 2015.

The first Common Campaigns Day was held in July 2014 reflected on the theme Higher  Education: 20 years of democracy in South Africa. The purpose of the CCD is to unite the sector around a theme relating to transformation and providing a space for different constituencies and relevant stakeholders (such as alumni and the broader community) to engage collectively on how to advance the transformation objectives as reflected in the Higher Education Act (1997).

“The purpose of the 2015 CCD event is to allow university communities to articulate their views pertaining to student access and success, any significant achievements and experiments that have enhanced access and success, and also highlight any policy, funding and strategic challenges facing the sector in this regard,’’ says Dr Ruby-Ann Levendal, NMMU Director: Transformation (Monitoring and Evaluation).

A panel will guide the dialogue to encompass the following issues:

  • The reasonable steps and effective mechanisms that have been implemented post-1994 to lower social barriers to access, enhance student success and equality in higher education.
  • The current challenges/barriers to equality – including the broader schooling system; continued widespread socio-economic inequality; policy framework regulating Higher Education; and constrained resources (such as declining subsidy; student financial support; student accommodation).
  • Exploring possibilities of resourceful and creative alternatives to advancing socioeconomic equality.

The panel consists of NMMU Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning Prof Denise Zinn, NMMU Dean of Teaching and Learning Prof Cheryl Foxcroft, Director of Centre for Education Rights and Transformation (CERT) and an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education at University of Johannesburg Prof Salim Vally, and the SRC President Ms Hlomela Bucwa NMMU.

Ms Siki Mgabadeli, an award-winning financial journalist, will be facilitating the discussions. She has worked for various broadcasters in South Africa as a reporter, producer, anchor and editor. Her well-rounded grasp of business and politics has seen her anchor various TV current affairs programmes, most notably, the acclaimed The Big Debate. 

The event will be hosted in the South Campus Auditorium, 17h00 for 17h30, and the public is invited to attend.

Ryan Pillay on ryan.pillay@nmmu.ac.za has more information. 

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